Wealth is Very Inferior to Honor

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Righteousness

Most of the verses from here to the end of the chapter refer in some way to the rewards of righteous living. It begins with a contrast between men and women. The gracious woman is able to retain honor, whereas the energetic man is able to retain riches (v. 16). It seems that this is pointing to the fact that wealth is very inferior in comparison to honor.

A contrast is made between wicked and righteous living (vv. 17-20). A wicked person receives harm (v. 17), useless money (v. 18), and eventually death (v. 19). Righteous living is rewarded with life and wickedness is rewarded with death (v.19). In other words both wickedness and righteousness benefit the giver.

Even the wages a sinful person earns are deceptive. He thinks his money will help him to get ahead but finds that ultimately it was of no benefit. On the other hand sowing righteousness (right living) and leading a righteous life will reap rewards that are beneficial and lasting. Righteousness leads to a meaningful life, whereas  the way of the evil person leads only to death and eternal separation from God. Evil men will not go unpunished but ultimately can expect only frustration and punishment.

Application

I can be sure that people are watching me and the way I live. What do I think they are saying from what they observe? Am I influencing people for good or for bad? A pay day is coming!!

Proverbs 11:16-21 (English Standard Version)

A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches. A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward. Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die. Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD, but those of blameless ways are his delight. Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.

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