Proverbs 10 – Wisdom & Righteousness

Wisdom and Righteousness

As many among us are attempting to make better decisions in 2019, let’s let God’s wisdom guide us. In Proverbs, you’ll see that one of the hallmarks of wisdom is righteousness.

When you hear the word “righteous,” you most likely think, “morally right.” This is correct, but Proverbs adds two dimensions that will help us better understand it:

  1. Righteousness is who you are (not just what you do). It’s not just your actions. It’s your heart.  
  2. Righteousness is lived out in relationships. It’s not just morality. It’s morality in relationship with God and other people.

Reading through the book of Proverbs, you’ll see that righteousness is not only right, it’s also wise. And here are three ways in which being righteous is wise.

Righteousness Delivers from Death

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,

but righteousness delivers from death.

The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry,

but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

– Proverbs 10:2-3

The opposite of righteousness is wickedness. It is immorality in relationship with God and other people. (For more on “righteousness” and “wickedness” you may like to read Two Paths.) And though wickedness may sometimes win a person treasures in this fallen world, those treasures do not profit because they cannot deliver anyone from death. But righteousness can.

How does righteousness deliver a person from death? It is a quality found in those for whom the Lord provides. He swats away the cravings of the wicked, but He doesn’t let the righteous go hungry. The righteous get what they need. The wicked chase what they crave, but only find futility and frustration in the end.  

Righteousness is Blessedness

Blessings are on the head of the righteous,

but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

The memory of the righteous is a blessing,

but the name of the wicked will rot.

– Proverbs 10:6-7

The righteous wear a crown of blessings while the wicked wear a muzzle of violence. The righteous leave behind them a wake of blessing in the memories of everyone who knew them. The name, or reputation, of the wicked rots like a fallen branch.

Righteousness Gives Life

The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,

but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Hatred stirs up strife,

but love covers all offenses.

– Proverbs 10:11-12

Righteous people enliven others with their words. Wicked people use their words to harbor hatred. In so doing they stir up trouble, whereas righteous people tamp it down. Even when offended, righteous people bring peace with their words, rather than escalating the strife.

How to Become Righteous

We’ve seen in God’s Word that righteousness is wise. The question now is not “How does one act more righteous?” but “How does one become righteous?”

There is only one way to become righteous: “Jesus Christ, the righteous” (1 John 2:1). “You may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him” (1 John 2:29).

On our own, “none is righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). But Jesus came for wicked people like you and me (Matthew 9:13). “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). By his obedience “the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). And “the righteous shall live by faith” in Him (Romans 1:17).

Discussion Starters

  • What is “righteousness”? How does the Bible define it?
  • What is the opposite of righteousness?
  • Compare and contrast righteousness and wickedness using Proverbs 10:2-3, 6-7 and 11-12. Based on these observations, are you righteous or wicked?
  • If you aren’t righteous, what might be stopping you from becoming righteous? How can you become righteous?
  • If you are righteous, how can you apply all this to your life?

Sorry – there’s no audio for this sermon.

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