Proverbs 14:11

The Houses of the Wicked and the Upright


1.) This proverb sets forth another contrast between the wicked and the upright.

2.) Here the particular point of contrast is between their houses.

3.) And again, these are proverbs. Solomon describes the norm. There are many exceptions to this proverb… but over all, this is the way it usually occurs.

11a The house of the wicked shall be overthrown

1.) Their house refers first of all to their physical dwelling place, and then includes the idea of the home… their household… their family… their possessions… their reputation…

2.) The wicked described:

a. The wicked refers to a sinner… a criminal… the opposite of the righteous man.

b. The wicked is the one who does NOT do things right.

3.) Overthrown: destroyed

a. At the surface level, this proverb states the obvious:
• A man who builds his house the right way can expect his house to stand.
• But the man who cuts corners, and does not do it the right way… but cheats on materials… or skimps on the foundation… and doesn’t follow the blueprints can expect his house to be overthrown.
• Some unsavory contractors have put up shoddily building homes and have left the new owners with nightmares… walls cracking… roofs leaking… ceilings falling… the building lasts just long enough for the contractor to get out of town.

b. But taking the principle a bit deeper, Solomon lets us know that this principle is true not just of the house, but also of the home.
• The wicked man who does NOT follow the blueprint of God’s Word can expect his home to fall apart on the inside…
• The man who rejects the Scriptures teaching on child training and chooses to live for himself instead can expect his home to collapse… not his house, but his home… his family.
• The man who doesn’t love his wife as Christ loved the church… the man who doesn’t bring up his children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord…
• Or the wife who puts material things above her family… can expect her home to fall apart at the seams.
• They can buy a great big fancy house—but eventually it will collapse.

c. Just as a man who employs poor methods of construction on his physical house/structure can expect it to collapse… so too the man who employs poor methods of construction in the home (husband/wife relationship; child-rearing; etc.) can expect his family to fall apart. He is inviting ruin to his home life.
• One man described this concept as being brought to poverty, disgrace, and eventually, extinction.
• Matthew Henry put it this way: sin is the ruin of many great families

d. Jesus applied the same principle to the spiritual life of a wicked, unbelieving man whose house is overthrown by the storms of life… referring to this man’s eternal destiny. Here being overthrown means spending eternity in the Lake of Fire. (Matt. 7:24-27)

4.) Prov. 15:25 – the LORD will destroy the house of the proud.

a. Here it is not only stated that their house will fall, but that it would fall because the LORD knocked it down!

b. This is not the result of an accident… this is not a purely natural cause/effect. This is supernatural… God Himself will do the destroying.

c. Here the particular “form” of wickedness is pride.
• Pride always results in a fall…
• Pride will bring down a home.
• Pride will prevent us from accepting blame… from saying, “I’m sorry.”
• Pride will build walls between people in a household.
• Pride is the root of all kinds of evil.
• Pride prevents us from being considerate of others.
• Pride is pure selfishness.
• Only by pride cometh contention.
• Pride will ruin a home. Humility will make it function smoothly.
• I Pet. 5:5-6 – God resists the proud. When raising a family in the present climate—I certainly would not want God resisting my efforts. How much better to humble ourselves before the Lord… and let Him LIFT us up… and our family too! We need all the grace and all the lifting up we can get!

d. Prov. 3:33 – the curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked.
• If we are living like the wicked, we can’t expect God’s blessing in our homes.
• We can expect His curse. That scares me to death!
• God can turn His countenance away from us any time He wants… and He DOES to the wicked. They can expect a curse from the Lord—upon them and their households.
• Psalm 106:14-15 – Sometimes, the curse of the Lord is not easily seen.
» Sometimes, God seems to be blessing, but He sends leanness to the soul.
» It has been my observation that when God sends leanness of soul to a believer because something isn’t right in his/her life, that believer tends to blame it on someone else! (the church has no love; the brethren don’t minister to me; I’m unhappy, it must be my spouse’s fault; etc.)
» A curse on the soul is far worse than a physical malady!
» The curse of God is often not seen at all by the outsider.
» Matthew Henry likened it to the leprosy consuming away in the timbers of one’s house… quietly… unseen… unknown by the casual observer—but very much a presence in that house!

5.) Prov. 21:12 – the righteous will take notice of all this… and will LEARN a lesson from it.
» Solomon suggests that instead of FOLLOWING the ways and lives of wicked men, we OBSERVE their lives!
» Great lessons can be learned by observing men—even believers—who do not walk the straight and narrow. Watch men who compromise and cut corners spiritually.
» They may prosper in the world, but they will wither up spiritually.
» Good lessons are there for us all. Watch and learn.

11b But the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish

1.) Flourish: “bud or sprout,” like a tree budding with blossoms or sending out shoots.

a. Ps. 92:12-13 – (same term – flourish) The righteous flourish… in life… and in the courts of the Lord.

b. In proverbs 14:11, it speaks of the family of the upright flourishing… a family that is strong, healthy, growing, prospering, and producing fruit.

c. The big house that looks so strong and permanent will be overthrown, but the little tent… the little cottage… that seems so unstable and shaky will FLOURISH… will last… will stand!

d. A little tent where righteousness is proves to be far better and safer than a mighty house full of wickedness.

e. This home will have a quiver full of spiritually healthy, growing, fruitful children.

f. Psalm 112:1-9 – generally speaking, this is the norm. God blesses those who fear Him and who walk uprightly.

g. Psalm 128:1-4 – the one who fears God—the upright man shall have a spiritually healthy and flourishing home life.

2.) Proverbs 12:7 – the house of the righteous shall stand.

a. It is RIGHTEOUSNESS that makes a house stand… and causes it to flourish… and do well.

b. If you want your house to stand… your family to flourish, then don’t concentrate on the house itself. Concentrate on righteousness… being right with God… having a healthy spiritual life.

3.) Note the contrast between the house of the wicked and the tabernacle of the righteous.

a. While the general contrast is the same—they are used virtually as synonyms.

b. However, there is also an implied distinction made by the use of these two terms.
• This is a contrast between a permanent and a temporary abode.
• Implicit in this is the fact that the wicked usually hunker down in this world and are right at home here. This is their permanent home.
• But the righteous are not at home here. We seek a better country… an heavenly. We, like the patriarchs, are tent dwellers… dwelling in tabernacles. (Heb. 11:9-10)

c. The great houses of the wicked—though they be built ever so high… and fortified so well… and seem so secure, yet, they shall be overthrown… every last one of them.

d. The feeblest and most humble of the upright is in reality more secure than the wicked in his house… though his house appears to be built so well and so solid…

e. The worst of the upright is better off than the best of the wicked.

f. Isa. 40:29 – the upright man whose life seems so tentative and fragile—living in a shabby, thin tent—in reality has the Omnipotent one on his side. He is safe indeed!

g. Cf. Isa. 41:10 – fear not if you are living in a tent… in circumstances that seem quite uncertain and fragile from earth’s perspective… God will uphold you and your house!

h. This kind of security is only felt, understood, and seen by the eyes of faith. (II Cor. 5:7)