Proverbs 11:23

The Desire of the Righteous


1. Yet once again, Solomon makes another comparison.

2. So far he has compared the following:
• the froward and the upright
• pursuing righteousness vs. pursuing evil
• sowing wickedness vs. sowing righteousness
• the merciful man and the cruel man
• a gracious woman and a strong man
• a talebearer and a faithful man
• a man void of wisdom and a man of understanding
• a just man and a hypocrite
• a righteous man delivered from trouble and a wicked man who falls
• the upright and transgressors
• guidance for the righteous vs. falling of the wicked
• riches vs. righteousness
• integrity vs. perverseness
• the proud and the humble
• And this is just in chapter 11 so far!
• Now he compares the desire of the righteous and the expectation of the wicked.

The Desire of the Righteous: Good

1. Desire: desire; wish; longings of one’s heart; lust; appetite; covetousness (bad sense); the thing desired; object of desire

a. One man wrote: Desire is the wing of the soul, whereby it moveth , and is carried to the things which it loveth, as the eagle to the carcass, to feed itself upon it, and to be satisfied with it.”

b. Desire is a powerful thing.

c. Desire can be good (As the hart panteth after the waterbrooks, so panteth my heart after thee, O God)…

d. Desire can be evil… lust… covetousness… greed… ambition…

e. Desire must always be guided by Scripture and controlled by the Spirit of God.

f. Even good desires must be kept in control…

2. Good: good; pleasant; agreeable; excellent (of its kind); valuable in estimation; appropriate; becoming; good, right (ethical)
• Good people desire good things. Do you?
• Do you desire God’s blessings on others? Even your enemies?
• Do you wish things to go well for others… or do you secretly hope things will go poorly for some?

3. The OBJECT of their desire:

a. Righteous people want to achieve good things. That’s only natural!

b. Righteous people have regenerated hearts. A regenerated heart loves good things.
• He desires GOD—
• Ps. 73:25 – there is none on earth I desire more than God!
• He loves the Word of God and the house of God. (Ps. 27:4 – a desire to dwell in the house of the Lord!)
• He loves what God loves.
• He desires that which is pleasing to the Lord.
• He desires to go do good things… serve others… and God.
• A righteous wife desires to do her husband good… (Prov. 31:12)
• A righteous husband desires that which is best for his wife… and family.

c. Righteous people, filled with the Spirit of God, and guided by Scripture will have GOOD desires.
• Phil. 2:13 – It is God who works in us both to WILL (desires) and to do of His good pleasure.
• Ps. 10:17 – God delights in the desire of the humble… (Not the proud who come demanding…)
• I John 5:14 – our desires must be subordinated to His will.
• Good desires are easily recognized. They are always subordinated to God’s sovereign will.
• When we bring our good desires to the Lord, He answers according to His will… but it is not always His will to grant our good desires… even though they are good!
• God said that David’s desire to build Him a temple was a good desire, but God said no! Not the right time… not the right man…
• If our desires are REALLY submitted to His will, we will be able to deal with a “no” from the Lord.
• A believer might have a desire to serve in a particular ministry, but perhaps he is not yet mature enough… or the leaders have been led to choose someone else. It is a good desire. Is it submitted to the will of God?
• We need to be careful with our desires. It is so easy for our motives to be wrong… or have mixed motives. (To glorify the Lord AND self… to serve the church… and make friends for me… )
• It is sometimes hard to even KNOW if our motives are pure because our heart is deceitful.
• James 4:3 – Hence, the exhortation to be careful with respect to the desires of our heart we pray for—it could be wrongly motivated!
• Don’t your children have a lot of desires that are not necessarily evil, but are just not appropriate now… (Like the 12 year old who wants to drive the car… etc.)
• Righteous men have GOOD desires… bound by truth… controlled by the Holy Spirit… and submitted to the will of God.
• Phil. 4:19 – There is great rest in this truth. While my desires may go unanswered and unfulfilled, God will always supply my NEEDS. The branch gets all it truly needs on the Vine.
• Ps. 21:2 – very often God does give us the desire of our hearts…

4. The RESULTS of their desires…

a. Righteous people have desires that will result in good things.

b. The consequences of their desires are good; wholesome; beneficial.

c. They result in things beneficial to themselves and to others.

d. The man who desires the office of a bishop desires a good work—and when done well, produces GOOD fruit that is beneficial to the flock…

The Expectation of the Wicked: Wrath

1. Expectation: hope, expectation; ground of hope; things hoped for, outcome.

a. All men have hopes, expectations, things they hope for… even the unsaved and the wicked.

3. Wicked: wicked, criminal; one guilty of crime; (hostile to God); guilty of sin (against God or man).

a. The wicked refers to the unsaved… evil men…

b. Ps.10:3 – the wicked boast of their heart’s evil desire!

4. The OBJECT of their desires: wrath…

a. Wicked people desire to cause wrath… presumably to others.

b. Wicked men wish evil on others… wrath…

c. If it is to be understood in this sense, the meaning is that evil men EXPECT… plan… have intentions of making others angry… and making God angry.

d. There is certainly an element of truth in that. It is often the case!

e. Ex: the Muslim terrorists were wicked men whose intentions were to get the USA angry. They achieved their goal! Their expectation was to anger a lot of people.

(It seems better to understand it to refer to the result here…)

5. The RESULT of the expectation of wicked people: wrath

a. The consequence of their desires is a future wrath.

b. This seems more likely the correct interpretation.
• Wicked men have all kinds of desires and expectations.
• They expect to lie and cheat and get ahead.
• They expect to live it up in sin and get away with it!
• They expect to be the master of their own destiny and thumb their nose at God.
• Many wicked men expect that the world owes them a living…
• They expect to be able to slide through life doing the bare minimum… and do well…
• They expect that they can climb over other people to get ahead and advance themselves up the ladder…
• They expect all kinds of things.

c. But what they SHOULD expect in the end: Divine wrath!
• Rom. 2:5 – he is treasuring up wrath…
• He should expect wrath.
• The children of Israel desired meat. (Tired of the manna.) God gave them their desire, and it became loathsome in their teeth. It was an expression of God’s wrath—heaps of rotting quails!
• Ps. 106:15 – He gave them their desire, but sent leanness of soul! This was an expression of God’s wrath.

What a challenge in this passage to put all of our desires to the TEST.
• Is it truly a good desire?
• Is it in line with revealed truth?
• Will it glorify God?
• Is it designed to please God or is it merely that I might consume it in my own lusts?
• Are we aware that wisdom is more valuable than all things we canst desire? (Prov.3: 15)
• Is it submitted to the sovereign will of God?
• Is my real delight in the Lord Himself first and foremost?

Ps. 37:4 – Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

This passage emphasizes the importance of having worthy goals… high and lofty goals… good desires in life. Who knows. You just might achieve them!