Summary: To have integrity is to be consistently and predictably honest in your dealings & relationships. God’s people are to be people of integrity. Let us open our heart & learn that the true way is always the best way.
PROVERBS 11: 3
A person of integrity has the blessing of the Lord. To have integrity is to be consistently and predictably honest in your dealings and relationships. It is a noble thing to be known as a person of integrity. It means being willing to do what is right-even if it costs you. It means doing what is right-even if no one sees your actions.
There was a time when maintaining one’s integrity was as important as breathing. However, the word integrity has almost vanished from the vocabulary of modern Americans. Its meaning is a mystery to most people. In a day when morals are crumbling around us, the call to Christians to live with integrity is a critical and challenging one. It requires the willingness to stand alone. Yet no one ever stands alone who stands for God. God stands with him. God sees integrity and blesses it.
We have already touch on integrity earlier in our study of Proverbs (2:7; 2:21; 3:3-4; 4:25-27). Integrity is a key term in Job [Job 1:1, 8; 2:3; 12:4]. Will he keep it and why will he keep his integrity are the question Job asks and answers. The Hebrew term sometimes translated integrity means "completeness, whole, sound, without spot-blemish, unimpaired, upright, innocent, full or unreserved submission, entirely in accord with truth and fact, without deceit, guile or duplicity." You’ll notice as we progress through our study that the word for integrity will also be translated blameless and upright. Let us open our heart and learn that the true way is always the best way (CIM).
The first theme verse is Proverbs10:9. A person of integrity walk before or lives for the Lord, not men. "He who walks in integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out."
An honest person is secure (a similar thought in 3:23; 18:10; 28:18) in his walk (his conduct) but a person whose paths are crooked (lit. "twisted"), whose conduct is wicked, eventually will be discovered for what he truly is. In contrast a person of integrity will find that the Omnipotent guards his way.
Proverbs 11:3 refer to the value of righteousness in guiding and protecting from disaster. "The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them."
Integrity (translated "blameless" in Job 1:1, 8; 2:3; 12:4; Prov. 11:20 etc.) refers to moral wholeness, being without moral blemish. When integrity is a way of life, it guides like a shepherd. Duplicity is the contrasting characteristic which brings destruction. [The noun selep is used only here and in 15:4 ("deceitful"); the related verb slap means "to pervert, subvert, or overturn." It is rendered "overthrows" in 13:6 and "frustrates" in 22:12.] [Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 928]
Proverbs 11:5 teaches that integrity keeps us on the straight path. "The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness" (NASB).
Righteous living results in a straight way (3:5-6), a life with fewer obstacles and troubles (11:8), but wickedness leads to a person’s downfall.
Proverbs 11:20 contrasts how God looks at the life of the blameless and the perverse. "The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless (Ps 119:1) in their walk are His delight" (NASB).
The Lord detests perverse (‘iqq, means crooked or distorted; 2:15) attitudes and actions. On the other hand the Lord takes delight in those who are morally whole (blameless; translated integrity in 11:3) and are truthful (12:22).
Proverbs 13:6 indicates righteous living guards those with integrity. "Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, but wickedness subverts the sinner" (NASB).
Again righteous, wise living guards or protects a person (13:3; 2:11; 4:6; 12:21). Wicked, unwise living offers no protection to the sinner. He is easily overthrown.
Proverbs 15:21 probes where we find our gaiety. "Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight [in integrity]"(NASB).
An wise understanding person walks in integrity or straight by understanding God’s Word. May our joy be in God’s wisdom and not our own folly.
Proverbs 19:1 challenges our idea of success. "Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool."
The verse simply states the wretchedness of the person whose habits of speaking ("lips") are "perverse" (twisted or crooked). "Better" off and of more good to society is the one who is "poor" and yet makes a practice ("walks") of "integrity" (wholeness, completeness) in deed and word. Impure, meanly intended, slanderous speech is a hallmark of a "fool"—a far worse lot than poverty.
[The power of the comparison expressed in this "better" saying is found in the importance which the teachers attached to prosperity (see ch. 10 for the exhortations to hard work as escape from poverty and ch. 19 for their teaching on the advantages of wealth). They encouraged their students to be generous to the poor (see ch. 11) and to re member God’s concern for the poor as the One who created them (see ch. 16), but they never urged their disciples to admire or emulate the poor. Yet they esteemed poverty as sheer blessing if the alter native was the folly of corrupt speech. In form, 19:1 bears a close resemblance to 28:6, but there the comparison is between the poor wise person and the rich fool.] [Hubbard, David. The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol 15 : Proverbs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 280.]