Proverbs 20:7

Men of Integrity and Their Children

 

The just man walketh in his integrity

A. The Just Man

1. Just:

a. Just, righteous.
• legally or spiritually – just before the law or just before God

b. spiritually = justified by faith
• Gen. 6:9 – Noah was a just man.
• Gen 15:6 – Abraham was accounted “righteous.”

c. Solomon MAY be using this in a very generic sense… righteous in ANY way (before the civil law; before God; before his boss at work; etc.)

2. Walk:

a. Can mean walk (literally).

b. But this term is used in LOTS of different ways (Dict. Of Bib. Lang. gave it 35 different definitions—all very similar.)

c. This term can also mean: Behave; conduct; live; conduct the course of one’s life…

d. That seems to be how Solomon uses the term here—much as the word “walk” is used in the New Testament.

3. Integrity:

a. Integrity; simplicity; fullness; blameless; with a clean conscience; moral goodness.

b. When Absalom invited two hundred men from Jerusalem to his party, the word denoted that the men did not have any idea of what was about to happen (2 Sam. 15:11). (simplicity; innocent) They came in their integrity… not realizing what he was up to… his conspiracy to overthrow his father.

c. In Genesis, Abimelech acted with a clear conscience after taking Sarah, for Abraham stated that Sarah was his sister (Gen. 20:5, 6).

d. Ps. 15:1-2 – This is the kind of man who can abide in the Tabernacle of God… and have fellowship with God.

e. Ps. 140:13 – The upright shall dwell in thy presence.

B. Walking in Integrity

1. He leads his whole life in integrity.

a. It is the JUST or righteous man who walks in integrity.
• This does not refer to a carnal believer who plays church on Sunday and lives the rest of his life for himself.
• This refers to a just man—justified—one who also walks the walk.
• He walks humbly with God. He is sensitive to God and to spiritual things.

b. This is not the man who leads a double life… who shows up in his Christian suit on Sunday and lives for the devil the rest of the week.

c. This is a man whose whole life is characterized by integrity—moral goodness. He is a man of honor.

d. He walks with a pure conscience. When he sins, he confesses his sins and keeps his conscience pure.

e. He’s not perfect, but he does have integrity. When he fails he admits it and makes it right.

2. The man who walks in integrity is blessed.

a. Ps. 25:21 – Integrity will PRESERVE him from trouble that others have to deal with.

b. Prov. 13:6 – Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way.

c. Ps. 18:25 – God will be upright with him! (same word) If we are honest and open with God, He will be honest and open with us!

d. Ps. 26:1 – He can expect God’s mercy to be shown him. He has a pure conscience. He can cry out to God for mercy, AND receive it!

e. Ps. 26:1 – He walks in integrity; therefore he will not slide—fall. It is a spiritually SAFE manner of life.

3. HE doesn’t have to worry about the things deceitful men have to worry about.

a. Liars have to worry about what they said and to whom.

b. Men who cheat and steal have to worry about getting caught…

c. Men who lead double lives have to worry that people from one of his worlds will discover someone from his other world.

d. The governor of NY gained a reputation for being a man of integrity and going after the white collar criminals and corruption in his state… only to discover that he had been leading a double life… he was not what he claimed to be.

4. Ps. 37:37 – He is a man who enjoys PEACE of mind.

a. This doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen to men of integrity.

b. But it does mean that he can sleep at night.

c. He has peace of mind—knowing that he is right with God and his fellow man.

d. He has a clear conscience. That is part of the blessing of which Solomon writes.

5. Yes, there are great advantages to leading a life of integrity.

a. There are many personal benefits.

b. Of course the MOST important is that it is pleasing to the Lord.

c. However, there is also another important earthly blessing relating to leading a life of integrity: your children!

His children are blessed after him

A. They Are Blessed Having Such a Father

1. Blessed: Happiness, blessedness; a state of joyful mind.

a. It is a blessed and happy life for children to grow up in a home in which the father is a man of integrity.

b. Some children have miserable childhoods because of a father who is not such a man.

c. Think of how many children grow up with their fathers in prison.
• In 1999, there were 1,284,894 prisoners in the custody of state and federal prisons.
• Of these, approximately 56% (or 721,500) were the parents to minor children.

d. Think of how many children grow up only to see their father drunk or drugged up half the time.

e. By way of contrast, Solomon states that the children of men of integrity are BLESSED.

f. It is a blessing to HAVE such a father… whether the kids realize it or not.

g. Remember that this book was written primarily to YOUNG men.
• That they might appreciate and learn wisdom from their parents.
• That they might learn about and appreciate the heritage their parents leave behind.
• Here Solomon reminds young people to appreciate the blessed life that is theirs because of the life of integrity lived by their father.
• And the hope is that this kind of lifestyle will be passed down to future generations as well.

2. This blessing is really from the Lord.

a. It was HE who established the family.

b. It was HE who gave instructions concerning how to live a life of integrity.

c. It is the Lord who saves men… and transforms their lives.

d. It is the Lord who enables a man to have victory over the vices that ruin others.

e. Every good gift comes down from above—from the father of Lights… including one’s earthly father.

f. If a man walks in integrity, it’s because the Lord made it possible.

3. Prov. 13:22 – A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children.

a. A man of integrity may not leave an inheritance of gold and silver; but he leaves behind something far more valuable: integrity and the blessed life that results from it.

b. This is from the Lord ultimately.

4. Parents who walk in integrity pass on to their children a blessing that lasts a lifetime.

a. It is their WALK that instructs more than their TALK.

b. Kids pick up on the value system of their parents by watching them in action… day after day for years.

c. Kids can see when parents are hypocrites. They notice!

d. They also see when parents are honest, upright, and full of integrity. They can’t help but notice that too.

e. This is the blessing that men of integrity pass on to their children.

f. However, what they DO with that blessing is up to the children.
• They can either follow it and pass it on to THEIR children.
• Or they can throw it out the window.

B. They Are Blessed in Following Their Father

1. AFTER:

a. Can mean: after, later, behind, etc.

b. Can mean: Follow, formally, be after, i.e., go after another person or group in a linear motion. (1 Sam. 12:14) Follow is the same word as “after.” It implies to follow after.

2. Children who grow up in a house led by a man of integrity are blessed and usually follow in that way. (Remember—this is a proverb.)

a. They saw the blessedness of their father’s life of integrity and usually they want the same for themselves and their family.

3. Ps. 112:1-2 – Here is a blessed man; he walks with God and his seed is strong and is blessed too.

a. A man of integrity is blessed and happy. And his children are happy after him. They BENEFIT from his integrity.

b. His children fare better in life because of his lifestyle.

c. In this way, God bestows mercy on his seed…

d. Prov. 14:11 – but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.

4. Solomon wrote this proverb from personal experience.

a. I Chronicles 29:17 – David knew that God was pleased with a heart full of integrity.

b. Ps. 78:72 – David shepherded with a “heart of integrity.” That’s why he was a man after God’s own heart. That’s what made David special in God’s sight. He was wholesome, honest, pure, and clean in whatever he did. It was his lifestyle.

c. I Kings 9:4-5 – God promised to Solomon that if he walked in integrity like his father David, that God would bless him too.

d. Could this have been what prompted Solomon to write our proverb?

e. God reminded Solomon that his father David walked in integrity…

f. And God challenged Solomon to follow his father’s walk.

g. These are good reminders and challenges for fathers today to pass on to their children. A life of integrity is blessed… and can be for many generations…

C. Conclusions

1. Parents therefore can either WORRY or WALK.

a. Parents naturally worry about their kids.

b. Concern is natural. But anxious worry and fretting is not right.

c. The right thing to do is to WALK.

d. It is the man of integrity’s WALK that blazes the trail for blessing for his children.

e. We would do our children more good if we channeled all that energy we spend in worrying into our walk… our kids would be blessed.

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