Why is it far more wise to deal with a righteous man than with someone whom the Bible would refer to as wicked? That is what is set before us today in Proverbs.
The first thing we see here is that the very thoughts of the righteous are described for us. The word "thought" here is the Hebrew "machashabah" and it means a thought, a purpose, a device, or an intention. The word means the actions and deeds that spring from the thoughts that fill someone's mind. These thoughts that lead to actions are described as "just." These thoughts are governed by the justice and the right-ness of God. The righteous man has as his guide and as his governing principles the Word of God. As the Spirit of God uses the Word to guide him - the righteous man wants to do what is just in God's sight - and thus is most likely to do that which is truly just and right in any situation. That is why you definitely want to do business and to be in the counsel of a righteous man. He is not governed by his lusts and by wicked desires. Things like dishonesty and stealing are just wrong to him. Therefore you can trust him to do what is right at all times and in all situations. One of the psalms describes this man as one who will swear to his own hurt - and not change. This means that even when he sees later that he has made a business decision that is not in his best interests - he will be true to his word - even when that means being hurt by it.
The counsels of the wicked on the other hand - are deceitful. You do not want to do business with a man the Bible describes as wicked - because of the issue of character. The counsels here are the advice and the counsel that this wicked man follows. They are consistent with his character, which by the way is seriously lacking. His counsels are deceitful. He may promise something, but in the end he will not deliver on it. He is out for his own good and does not even blink at lying to someone if he can gain from it. He is not trustworthy - and therefore any commitment and any decision he makes is not worth the paper it is printed upon.
This is why you want to know the character of those with whom you do business. This is important because a man's word should be his bond - but often it is not. Let me close this particular proverb with a cry for godly Christian businessmen to rise up and make themselves known in our society. As a pastor, I deal with brothers who are businessmen. One thing that I have heard that grieves me deeply is how they talk of other Christian businessmen - and of born again Christians in general. They have made statements that they really don't like to deal with those who readily identify themselves as Christians. The reason they say this is because of the number of times they have been burned by so-called brothers in business deals. What a horrific commentary this is on the church! God's people SHOULD BE the best people to deal with in business matters. They should be the most honest - the most godly - the most righteous and trustworthy. What I hear though is that they are not. In fact what I hear consistently is that the one person you don't want to do business with is a Christian. I say this not to denigrate the church - but to chastise myself and all true born again Christians for not being the witness that they should be when it comes to how we do business. God calls us to be a witness for Him - not just in words - but in all that we do. It is the counsels of the wicked that are to be deceitful. The thoughts and ways of the righteous - they are to be just. May God gives us grace to reclaim the culture in the days ahead so that the name of Christ no longer has to bear the disgrace of ungodly believers.