Proverbs 13:6

Safety in Righteousness

Introduction:

1. Here Solomon contrasts two kinds of men:

• The upright in the way
• The sinner… the man who practices sin.

2. Solomon also contrasts their ends:
• The upright is preserved
• The sinner is overthrown

3. He also contrasts the reasons for their ends:
• Righteousness
• Wickedness

6a Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way…

A.) The Upright in the Way

1. Upright: integrity; innocence; simplicity; a state or condition of moral goodness in a life, with a focus of not having guilt or sin; blameless.

a. This isn’t a sinlessly perfect man… but a man of integrity.

b. I Kings 32:24 – an interesting use of the term: translated “at a venture.” (He wasn’t intending to hit the king; he shot the bow innocently… with respect to killing the king.)

c. The upright man is one who is free of ulterior motives… no sinister intent… nothing up his sleeve… pure… innocent…

2. Way: road; way; journey; manner; course of life; of moral character.

3. The man being described here is one whose WAY—his whole manner of life… his habits… his character… the road he is on is one of purity… innocence… a goodness that isn’t phony… nothing sinister… blameless.

B.) This Man is “Kept”

1. Kept: guard, watch, watch over, keep; protect from dangers.

a. Ps. 32:7 – Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble.
• Preserve = same word as “kept”
• God guards over His people—and we are safe.
• The Bible uses the images of a mighty fortress; a strong tower; a hiding place; a place of safety and refuge.
• In Gods’ care we are kept… safe… secure… guarded… protected.
• This is the idea behind this term.

b. The Lord does the preserving—but He uses various means…

c. HOW does God keep His people safe? What does He use to protect us? The Bible tells us how…

C.) Righteousness Keeps the Upright Man

1. The practice of righteous living serves as a wall of protection around the believer.

a. The man who practices righteousness will do things the right way.

b. The man who doesn’t practice righteousness will not be protected…

2. Think of some of the things that righteousness will keep us safe FROM:

a. Jail. If you rob banks or steal you should fear this… but if you practice righteousness—there is no fear. (Rom. 13:3-4)

b. Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases… If you practice righteousness and remain happily and faithfully monogamous, there is no need to fear such diseases in the slightest.

c. Becoming an alcoholic. I have alcoholics in my family. I may even be genetically predisposed to alcoholism. But practicing righteousness keeps me safe. I am not in the least bit worried.

d. Expelled from school—no need to fear that if you practice righteousness. Doing the right thing at school will protect you. It will keep you safe… safe from all the trouble that others might find themselves in because they did NOT practice righteousness.

e. Fiery darts of the wicked one. (Eph. 6:16) Believers who do not practice righteousness may find themselves wounded by the devil… but if we practice righteousness… we are safe. There is nothing he can do to us… other than bring us into a trial that God has allowed to purify us and remove dross. If we practice righteousness—the worse thing Satan can do to us is to make us stronger and purer.

f. Eph. 6:14 – Righteousness is a breastplate—that keeps us safe from attacks.

3. The way we live and the choices we make will serve to PROTECT us and PRESERVE us from many of the pitfalls and troubles others experience.

a. Ps. 25:20-21 – Let integrity and uprightness preserve me…
• Here the psalmist PRAYS for the Lord to keep and preserve his soul… his life…
• And he prays for God to use the means He has revealed: integrity and uprightness…
• Think of HOW this prayer request might have come about…

» You face a situation where you are forced to choose—the way of deceit or the way of integrity.
i. Perhaps quite a few of the kids are cheating on their exams…
ii. Perhaps the office workers are all in a conspiracy to lie…
iii. Perhaps an opportunity to do a little stretching of the truth would be very profitable for your business…

» You choose the way of integrity—and then PRAY that God would use that choice to preserve and protect you!

» It is a request for God to bless the right choice you made…

» Choosing integrity will always preserve our soul. It may not be the best choice economically, socially, or politically… but it is always best spiritually.

b. Prov. 2:11 – Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
• Discretion and discernment will deliver us from evil men and all the trouble they will eventually find themselves in.
• Discretion – the ability to make wise decisions.
• If our minds and hearts are FULL of God’s Word, we will always have a biblical principle that will come to mind for this or that situation.
• Spiritual understanding preserves us too.
• Spiritual understanding comes over time… time spent in the Word… reading… in Sunday school… hearing messages…
• In all those times you read the word and didn’t think you got anything out of it… and in those times when you heard a message that you thought wasn’t so great… God is giving spiritual understanding… drilling truth in deeper and deeper… whether we are aware of it or not.
• The more discretion we have… the more light… the better… and the safer we are.
• Discretion preserves us… indiscretion gets us in all kinds of trouble.

c. Prov. 4:5-6 – wisdom shall preserve thee
• The same principle applies here.
• The more wisdom we have… the more we know of God’s wisdom found in His word—the safer we will be spiritually.
• Ignorance is NOT bliss in the Christian life.
• Ignorance and darkness are extremely dangerous to our Christian walk. The devil loves ignorant believers. He preys upon them… and often devours them.

d. Prov.13:3 – He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life
• Righteousness keeps him that is upright in the way.
• This verse says that a righteous use of one’s tongue will protect us.
• Oh, what trouble we can get ourselves into because of indiscriminate use of our tongues…
• Righteousness protects us. An unrighteous use of our tongue will do the opposite.
• If you want to be safe and protected from evil—guard your mouth.

4. God does protect us… but He chose to do so THROUGH the means He has recorded in His Word.

a. If we ignore the means He has provided, we will miss out on the protection they afford.

b. But if we utilize the means of safety God has given us, we will be protected.

c. God’s means: a closed mouth; wisdom; integrity; uprightness; doing things the right way; purity;

d. If we reject the means of safety, we are at the same time reject the safety itself!

e. If you work with radioactive materials, and your company provides a means of protecting you against it, USING the MEANS PROVIDED will keep you safe. You’d be a fool not to use the means provided.

f. If a machine comes with a bright yellow warning label that says, “Don’t use near water”, that label is there for your safety and protection. If you reject the means of protection provided, you could get seriously hurt!

6b But wickedness overthroweth the sinner.

1. The upright in the way is protected by righteousness… by doing things right… by availing himself of the means God has provided for his spiritual safety.

2. The opposite is true as well. The sinner is not protected, but is overthrown because of his sin and wickedness.

3. Overthrown: twist; pervert; distort; overturn; to turn upside down; ruin.

4. Prov. 5:22 – his own sin shall take hold of him. (alcohol; sexual sins; drugs; lying; stealing)

a. Certain sins can become life dominating… they take hold of you and won’t let go.

b. The sinner’s sin becomes his destruction.

5. II Chron. 28:23 – the gods that seemed too enticing and helpful became the ruin of King Ahaz.
• Do we have any idols hidden away in our hearts?
• They will be the ruin of our spiritual life.
• Get rid of them before they DO bring ruin to our lives.

6. Prov. 21:12 – Solomon tells us to take a good look at this principle in action and LEARN from it… so it doesn’t happen to you!

a. The same ruin and destruction that happened to the sinner because of his sin could happen to you or to me.

b. Sin and wickedness ruins lives.

c. Sin is deceptive… because it is marketed as that which is fun, appealing, has no bad side effects, no consequences, etc… but it is all a lie.

d. It is like that attractive LURE that has a hook attached. The fish goes for the attractive lure without a thought of the hook. That’s the way the devil packages sin too.

e. Beware. We have been warned.

7. Righteousness keeps and protects. Wickedness overthrows and ruins.
a. Here Solomon contrasts two kinds of men:
• The upright in the way
• The sinner… the man who practices sin.
b. Solomon also contrasts their ends:
• The upright is preserved
• The sinner is overthrown
c. He also contrasts the reasons for their ends:
• Righteousness
• Wickedness