‘Blessings Are for the Righteous One’
“A YOUNG man I used to be, I have also grown old, and yet I have not seen anyone righteous left entirely, nor his offspring looking for bread,” said the psalmist David in his old age. (Psalm 37:25) Jehovah God loves the righteous and dearly cares for them. In his Word, the Bible, he exhorts true worshipers to seek righteousness.—Zephaniah 2:3.
Righteousness is the state of being right with God by complying with his standards of good and bad. Encouraging us to conform to God’s will, the 10th chapter of the Bible book of Proverbs points to rich spiritual blessings that are enjoyed by those who do so. Among these are an abundant supply of spiritually nourishing food, rewarding and satisfying work, and a good relationship with God and man. Let us, then, reflect on Proverbs 10:1-14.
A Fine Incentive
The opening words of the chapter leave no doubt as to the identity of the writer of the next section of the book of Proverbs. They read: “Proverbs of Solomon.” Identifying a fine incentive to follow the right course, King Solomon of ancient Israel says: “A wise son is the one that makes a father rejoice, and a stupid son is the grief of his mother.”—Proverbs 10:1.
What grief parents experience when one of their offspring forsakes the worship of the true and living God! The wise king singles out the mother’s grief, perhaps to suggest that she grieves more deeply. That indeed proved to be true for Doris.a She relates: “When our 21-year-old son left the truth, my husband, Frank, and I were heartbroken. The emotional pain has been more intense for me than for Frank. The passing of 12 years has not healed the wound.”
Children can affect their father’s happiness and can cause their mother heartache. May we show wisdom and bring joy to our parents. And by all means, let us make glad the heart of our heavenly Father, Jehovah.
‘The Soul of the Righteous One Is Satisfied’
“The treasures of the wicked one will be of no benefit,” says the king, “but righteousness is what will deliver from death.” (Proverbs 10:2) To true Christians living deep in the time of the end, these words are indeed precious. (Daniel 12:4) The destruction of the ungodly world is in the offing. No man-made means of security—material, financial, or military—will provide protection during the oncoming “great tribulation.” (Revelation 7:9, 10, 13, 14) Only “the upright shall dwell on earth and blameless men remain there.” (Proverbs 2:21, The New English Bible) May we, then, keep on “seeking first the kingdom and [God’s] righteousness.”—Matthew 6:33.
Servants of Jehovah do not have to wait until the promised new world to experience God’s blessings. “Jehovah will not cause the soul of the righteous one to go hungry, but the craving of the wicked ones he will push away.” (Proverbs 10:3) Jehovah has provided abundant spiritual food through “the faithful and discreet slave.” (Matthew 24:45) The righteous one certainly has reasons to “cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart.” (Isaiah 65:14) Knowledge is pleasurable to his soul. Searching for spiritual treasures is his delight. The wicked one knows no such pleasures.
‘Diligence Makes One Rich’
The righteous one is blessed in yet another way. “The one working with a slack hand will be of little means, but the hand of the diligent one is what will make one rich. The son acting with insight is gathering during the summertime; the son acting shamefully is fast asleep during the harvest.”—Proverbs 10:4, 5.
Particularly meaningful are the king’s words to workers during the harvest. The harvest season is not a time for slumber. It is a time for diligence and long hours. Indeed, it is a time of urgency.
Having in mind the harvest, not of grain, but of people, Jesus told his disciples: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. Therefore, beg the Master of the harvest [Jehovah God] to send out workers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:35-38) In the year 2000, over 14 million attended the Memorial of Jesus’ death—more than twice the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Who, then, can deny that ‘the fields are white for harvesting’? (John 4:35) True worshipers ask the Master for more workers while exerting themselves vigorously in the disciple-making work in harmony with their prayers. (Matthew 28:19, 20) And how richly Jehovah has blessed their efforts! During the 2000 service year, over 280,000 new ones were baptized. These also endeavor to become teachers of God’s Word. May we experience joy and satisfaction in this harvest season by having a full share in the disciple-making work.
‘Blessings Are for His Head’
“Blessings are for the head of the righteous one,” Solomon continues, “but as regards the mouth of the wicked ones, it covers up violence.”—Proverbs 10:6.
The one who is pure and righteous at heart gives ample evidence of his righteousness. His speech is kind and upbuilding, his actions positive and generous. Others receive him favorably. Such a person wins their appreciation—their blessings—in that they speak well of him.
A wicked person, on the other hand, is hateful or malicious and is basically intent on doing harm to others. His speech may be sweet and may ‘cover up violence’ concealed in his heart, but eventually he gives in to physical or verbal attacks. (Matthew 12:34, 35) Or alternatively, “violence will cover [or shut] the very mouth of wicked people.” (Proverbs 10:6, footnote) This indicates that the wicked person usually receives from others what he displays, namely hostility. This, as it were, covers, or shuts, his mouth and silences him. What blessings can such a person expect from others?
“The remembrance of the righteous one is due for a blessing,” writes the king of Israel, “but the very name of the wicked ones will rot.” (Proverbs 10:7) The righteous one is favorably remembered by others, most important by Jehovah God. By his faithfulness until death, Jesus “inherited a name more excellent” than that of the angels. (Hebrews 1:3, 4) Faithful pre-Christian men and women are remembered today by true Christians as examples worthy of imitation. (Hebrews 12:1, 2) How this differs from the name of the wicked ones, which becomes something sickening and putrid! Yes, “a name is to be chosen rather than abundant riches; favor is better than even silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1) May we make a favorable name with Jehovah and our fellowman.
‘A Man of Integrity Will Walk in Security’
Contrasting the wise and the foolish, Solomon states: “The one wise in heart will accept commandments, but the one foolish with his lips will be trodden down.” (Proverbs 10:8) A wise person well knows that “it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) He recognizes the need to seek guidance from Jehovah and readily accepts God’s commandments. The one foolish with his lips, on the other hand, fails to understand this basic fact. His senseless babbling brings him to ruin.
A righteous person also enjoys a type of security that eludes the wicked. “He that is walking in integrity will walk in security, but he that is making his ways crooked will make himself known. The one winking his eye will give pain, and the one foolish with his lips will be trodden down.”—Proverbs 10:9, 10.
A man of integrity is honest in his dealings. He earns the respect and trust of others. An honest person is a valued employee and is often trusted with greater responsibility. His reputation for honesty can keep him employed even when jobs are scarce. Moreover, his honesty contributes to a pleasant and peaceful atmosphere at home. (Psalm 34:13, 14) He feels secure in his relationship with the members of his family. Security is indeed a fruit of integrity.
The situation is different with the person who gives in to dishonesty for selfish gain. A deceiver may try to mask his untruthfulness with crookedness of speech or with body language. (Proverbs 6:12-14) The winking of his eye with malicious or deceptive intent may cause victims of his deception much mental anguish. But sooner or later, the crookedness of such a person becomes known. The apostle Paul wrote: “The sins of some men are publicly manifest, leading directly to judgment, but as for other men their sins also become manifest later. In the same way also the fine works are publicly manifest and those that are otherwise cannot be kept hid.” (1 Timothy 5:24, 25) Regardless of who is involved—whether a parent, a friend, a marriage mate, or an acquaintance—dishonesty eventually gets exposed. Who can trust a man who has a reputation for dishonesty?
‘His Mouth Is a Source of Life’
“The mouth of the righteous one is a source of life,” Solomon says, “but as regards the mouth of the wicked ones, it covers up violence.” (Proverbs 10:11) Words from the mouth can heal or hurt. They can refresh and enliven a person, or they can tear him down.
Identifying the motivation behind spoken words, the king of Israel states: “Hatred is what stirs up contentions, but love covers over even all transgressions.” (Proverbs 10:12) Hatred produces contentions in human society, stirring up strife. Lovers of Jehovah must eradicate hatred from their lives. How? By replacing it with love. “Love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) Love “bears all things,” that is “all things it is covering.” (1 Corinthians 13:7; Kingdom Interlinear) Godly love does not expect perfection from imperfect people. Rather than advertising the mistakes of others, such love helps us to overlook their errors unless a serious wrongdoing is involved. Love even bears mistreatment in the field ministry, at our place of employment, or at school.
The wise king continues: “On the lips of the understanding person wisdom is found, but the rod is for the back of one in want of heart.” (Proverbs 10:13) The wisdom of an understanding person guides his steps. Upbuilding words on his lips help others walk in the way of righteousness. Neither he nor those who listen to him have to be led in the right direction by force—the rod of chastisement.
“Treasure Up Knowledge”
What helps our words to be ‘a bubbling torrent of wisdom’ instead of a babbling brook of trivialities? (Proverbs 18:4) Solomon answers: “The wise are the ones that treasure up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish one is near to ruin itself.”—Proverbs 10:14.
The first requirement is that our mind should be filled with the upbuilding knowledge of God. There is only one source of that knowledge. The apostle Paul wrote: “All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) We must treasure up knowledge and dig into God’s Word as if searching for a hid treasure. How exciting and rewarding a search that is!
For wisdom to be found on our lips, the knowledge of the Scriptures must also reach into our heart. Jesus told his hearers: “A good man brings forth good out of the good treasure of his heart, but a wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of his wicked treasure; for out of the heart’s abundance his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) Therefore, we must habitually meditate on what we are learning. True, study and meditation require effort, but how spiritually enriching such study is! There is no reason for anyone to follow the ruinous course of a mere chatterer of thoughtless words.
Yes, a wise person does what is right in God’s eyes and has a good influence on others. He enjoys an abundant supply of spiritual food and has plenty to do in the rewarding work of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58) Being a man of integrity, he walks in security and has God’s approval. Indeed, many are the blessings of the righteous one. May we seek righteousness by conforming our lives to God’s standards of good and bad.
a Name has been changed.
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Honesty contributes to a happy family life
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‘Wise ones treasure up knowledge’