Proverbs 11:1 begins with, “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.”
Yikes! Trigger warning! Oh my, I could just write an entire book around 11:1. Injustice, unfairness, weighted scales not in your favor, these things still grate on my nerves like eating sand. It takes some strong spiritual meat to deal with the world’s injustice. Some days are better than others.
On the bright side, it’s seems as if the Lord also perceives that as an abomination, and an abomination is a bad thing indeed. This verse is dealing mostly with scales weighted unfairly in commerce, the game is rigged, the deck is stacked against you. You are being robbed. I could really run to some dark places with that one verse.
Verse two is really profound also, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” Understanding that pride and shame are flip sides of the same coin is really useful, especially in the context of injustice and those weighted scales. Pride will make you go, “why me” every time something unfair happens. Sometimes crime victims can experience a lot of misplaced shame, not even reporting the crime. Sometimes shame causes people to not ask for help when they really need it. These are all issues stemming from pride and pride makes our problems so much heavier, our lives so much harder.
Verse 12 is good too, “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” Anger just tends to make us stupid. If we’re despising someone we’re just handing away all our power. Hatred, anger, despising people,even those who give us good reason, tends to create a wisdom void. Jesus said love your neighbor, Proverbs speaks of holding your peace.
Verse 14 made me laugh, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Recently someone asked my kid where I got my support, and she exclaimed, “well she has like 20 pastors!” I do not actually have 20 pastors, I just have a couple of spares in case I break one. So I might have some safety issues, sue me.
Verse 22 is a fun one, “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” Love that, it draws a sharp contrast between inner beauty and outer. The saying, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” goes well with, “you can’t stuff a gold jewel in a pig’s snout.”
Verse 24 is amazing too, “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” The Amp version says it like this, “There is the one who [generously] scatters [abroad], and yet increases all the more; And there is the one who withholds what is justly due, but it results only in want and poverty.”
This is a real secret of the kingdom, a little understood principle that we often wrestle with. It applies to everything from love to finances to time. The more we give the more we will have, which can feel very counterintuitive. Someone smart once said if you truly desire something, try giving it away. Often that very act of giving brings into your life the abundance you were seeking.
I do this experiment with my time a lot, I try to exercise an hour a day but people have a lot of needs and I never have enough time. The more pressed for time I become, the scarcer and smaller it gets, the more I really need to just do it. Give the time. It’s incredible how just doing it tends to mysteriously produce all this extra time to get everything else done.
We could probably spend about six months in Proverbs 11 and still not be finished exploring it all.