Tag Archives: faith

Afflicted and Ruined

Proverbs 26:28.
“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” (KJV). 

Life Lessons:

There are three main places where we go to learn things. One is the home – where we learn from our parents. Ideally, we learn here values, morals, good habits and etiquette. Second is the school, where we learn the three R’s – reading, writing and arithmetic. (I know, neither writing nor arithmetic – math – start with the letter ‘R’, but that’s what they used to call it back in the day). And finally, the third is the church, where we learn about the love of God, how to know Him, how there’s a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.

At church, we have the benefit of learning from the wisest of all wise – God Himself. The Bible is the Word of God, and in it we learn wise lessons for living life. I want to challenge you, reader – do you read the Bible? If not, then what are you waiting for? A virtual treasure trove of wisdom awaits you!

SpurgeonCharles Spurgeon, an old Baptist preacher from the 19th Century (known affectionately as the Prince of Preachers) had this to say about the Bible: “The best food for you is the word of God itself. Sermons and books are well enough, but streams that run for a long distance above ground gradually gather for themselves somewhat of the soil through which they flow, and they lose the cool freshness with which they started from the spring head. Truth is sweetest where it breaks from the smitten Rock, for at its first gush it has lost none of its heavenliness and vitality. It is always best to drink at the well and not from the tank. You shall find that reading the word of God for yourselves, reading it rather than notes upon it, is the surest way of growing in grace.” The challenge is this: Read the Bible!

Warnings against Lying and Flattery:

After that lengthy introduction, let us now come to today’s text. Here Solomon says: “A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattery causes ruin.” (NLT). Let us look at both of these warnings separately here.

First of all, in the KJV of this verse, Solomon tells us that a lying tongue causes affliction. The original Hebrew word sheqer translated lying means lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood, deceit, fraud, wrong, to testify falsely. And when you lie, you cause affliction. That Hebrew word dak means to oppress or crush someone. Anytime you lie about someone, you are afflicting, oppressing or crushing them. Think about that the next time you go to tell a lie! And Solomon also says here that when you lie about someone, it shows that you hate them.

Secondly, Solomon tells us that a flattering mouth works ruin. Flattery means to praise or compliment insincerely, effusively, or excessively. I don’t mind an encouraging word of affirmation if it is sincere, but someone who flatters insincerely causes ruin. So be warned – our words are powerful, and if we don’t use them wisely, we can cause affliction and bring ruin!


A Fool’s Errand

Proverbs 26:6.

“He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.” (KJV).

Teaching about Fools:

For the past several days on Proverbial Thought, we have been reflecting on Solomon’s wisdom concerning fools:

Click on the links to review, or read them for the first time if you haven’t done so yet! Anyway, Solomon continues his teaching on fools here when he says: “Trusting a fool to convey a message is as foolish as cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!” (NLT).

Don’t Trust a Fool:

The Bible gives us this sage advice: Don’t trust a fool! I think it’s interesting that we have a figure of speech in the English language called a ‘fool’s errand.’ This simply means a fruitless undertaking, something that is completely absurd, useless or hopeless. In other words, to ask a fool to do something for you is, well, foolish. It’s a stupid as cutting off your own feet – you’re only hurting yourself. When the foolish person doesn’t do what you asked them to do, you will have to either waste time now having to find someone else to do it for you, or you may even end up having to do it yourself.

Trust a Wise or Faithful Person:

If it is foolish to trust a fool to do a job for you, then the flip-side is also true: You are smart if you choose someone who is wise, faithful or trustworthy to do something for you. Jesus Himself said, “Who is a faithful, sensible servant, to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his household and feeding his family?” (Matthew 24:45, NLT).

Let us be Faithful:

Now some of you may never find yourself in a leadership position, having to hire or choose someone to get a job done. But as Christians, all of us are called to serve the Lord and serve His church. So let us be found faithful even with the smallest tasks the Lord asks of us, and He will reward us. If you have a job to do, do it heartily as unto the Lord, and do it with a spirit of excellence! As we do this, God will be glorified. Amen!


The Fool

Proverbs 26:1.

“As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.” (KJV).

The Fool

The Oxymoron:

This past Sunday morning at church, I shared the story of the Good Samaritan. I told our church family how that expression – though very common in our world today – would have been seen as an oxymoron to the Jews in the first century. An oxymoron is a group of words that don’t go together, like jumbo shrimp, pretty ugly and deafening silence. The Jews hated the Samaritans because they were half-breeds, and they would have never seen a Samaritan as being good.

In today’s Proverb, Solomon talks about two things that don’t go together: Snow in summer and rain during harvest time. He uses these two examples to make a point: Honour is not seemly, or fitting, for a fool. In other words, you don’t give honour to a fool! But – to properly understand this Scripture, we must discover what it meant by a fool, and what is meant by honour.

The Fool:

Who is a fool? The Bible gives the most basic definition of a fool here: “The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.” (Psalm 14:1). In other words, a fool is a sinful, rebellious atheist – some who denies the existence of God. Proverbs also describes fools by saying they are people who spread slander (Prov. 10:18), do evil for fun (10:23), are quick tempered (12:16), are not teachable (17:10), have big mouths (18:7), are trapped in habitual sin (26:11), and give full vent to their anger (29:11).

Bible Honour:

The Hebrew word that is translated honour here is kabod. This word has a much fuller meaning than just respect or esteem. Kabod means glory, honour, glorious, abundance, riches, splendour, dignity, reputation, reverence.1

When Solomon says that honour is not fitting for a fool, he is saying that sinful, rebellious atheists should not be given glory, honour, riches, reputation or reverence. Why is that? Because when an ungodly person comes to power, they will most likely encourage wickedness and discourage righteousness, and abuse their power. Like rain during harvest time, they will hinder and hamper the growth and progress of godliness and righteousness in their sphere of influence.

Our Application:

How then should we put this Scripture into practice? First of all, if we are in a position of choosing leaders – whether it be through voting in an election for political leaders, or being involved more directly in the choosing of a leader for a company or business, we would do well to choose someone who is wise – a Christian believer who lives by the Bible. And secondly, we should pray that the Lord would grace our country, our schools, our churches, and our communities, with wise, godly Christian leaders. Amen!

  1. Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon, biblestudytools.com

A Nagging Wife

Proverbs 25:24.

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” (KJV).

nagging wife

Which Would You Choose?

If you had a choice between living in a big house and living in the corner on a roof, which would you choose? I believe most people would choose to live in a nice big house. But as Solomon is wont to do, he puts a little twist in his Proverb and says that it’s actually better to live on the roof… if there’s a brawling woman in that house!

But – what does the word brawling mean? If you look at some of the other ways this word is translated in other versions of the Bible, it reads: quarrelsome, contentious, nagging, and bitter-tongued. In other words, Solomon is talking about a contentious wife who likes to fight, nag, and stir up strife. If that’s the case, you would be better off on the roof, out in the cold with the wind and rain. If you ask me, neither one of these options sounds like fun!

Application:

How then should we apply this Scripture verse to our lives?

To the single young men: If you plan on getting married one day, take the time to prayerfully think through the choice of a spouse. Next to giving your life to Jesus Christ, there is no more important decision you will ever make. One of the deepest, most profound thoughts on marriage is this one: “Happy wife, happy life.” It’s true! If you have a wife who is quarrelsome, contentious, nagging and bitter-tongued, you will be miserable. So take the time to get to know your prospective mate before saying “I do!”

To the married men: If you have a wife who is peaceable, then thank the good Lord above. You are blessed! Proverbs 18:22 says, “Find a good spouse, you find a good life – and even more: the favor of God!” (The Message). However, if you have a wife who tends to be contentious, then pray for her. Pray that the Lord Jesus would change her heart, and that she would have the fruit of the Spirit in her life – which includes peace, kindness and gentleness.

To the married women: If I can be so bold as to give you a piece of (Scriptural) advice: Don’t be a nag! If you criticize and complain to your husband all the time, then don’t be surprised if he wants to spend all of his time out in the garage with his tools, watching football with the guys or being anywhere but with you. It’s no fun being around a woman who fights all the time.

A Post Script: Now lest some of you conclude that the Bible is picking on the women here, know that there are many Scriptural admonitions to the husband as well: Husbands are commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25), to love her and never treat her harshly (Col 3:19), and to treat her with honour (1 Peter 3:7). The bottom line? If a wife will respect her husband, the husband will love his wife, and if the husband will love his wife, the wife will respect her husband (Eph. 5:33). Amen!


Sticks and Stones

Proverbs 25:18.

“A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.” (KJV).

Playground Lies:

Calvin & Hobbes - sticks and stones

Do you remember that old adage you used to repeat on the playground when someone called you names? “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Or there was the oh-so-smart, “I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” As clever as those phrases may be, unfortunately, neither of them is true. Words hurt!

In today’s Proverb, Solomon teaches us about the power of words. In the New Living Translation of this Scripture, he says, “Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.” Words hurt!

Deep Wounds:

I’ll be honest. I would rather have someone punch me in the face than lie about me, gossip about me, or slander my name. If you punch me or kick me, I’ll get a bruise that will go away quickly. But words are wounds that go deep and have lasting repercussions.

I had a situation once where a person started telling all sorts of lies about me. He began gossiping about me to anyone who would listen. One of the first responses was that several people believed his lies, and they left the church. That was one of the external effects of his words. But internally, the words began to affect my heart as well.

I have always been a very positive and optimistic person. The glass is always half full, and I always believe the best about people. But as this person’s lies about me began to spread, I found myself getting overwhelmed emotionally by what he said. He was trashing my reputation, and ruining friendships that I had with people.

I started losing my joy, and his words started taking a physical toll on my body as well. I started having restless, sleepless nights. I started experiencing many migraine headaches, stomach problems, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and more. I started losing weight; I had little appetite, and had a hard time keeping anything down. I even had to take some stress leave from work – something I have never had to do before or since.

The point of today’s Scripture is simply this: Words are powerful! Think very carefully before you speak a negative word about someone else – whether it is true or false. Words hurt!

Check out this great 30 second ad that shows the power of words…


Golden Apples

Proverbs 25:11-12.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.” (KJV).

A Word Fitly Spoken: Timely Advice

I love the Bible. Not just because it is God’s Word, giving us wisdom for living life and teaching us how to get to Heaven – but also because of the majestic, poetic symbolism the Holy Spirit uses to communicate truth with us. In Proverbs 25:11, Solomon (under the inspiration of God’s Spirit) tells us that someone who gives a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. The New Living Translation says: “Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket.” It’s sweet. It’s beautiful. It’s awesome.

Words are powerful! I have experienced many times the truth of Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Every word that we speak can bring life – comfort, encouragement, and hope – or it can bring death – depression, discouragement, or hopelessness. I have had people lie about me, gossip about me, and slander my name, and I know how much it has discouraged and frustrated me. How much it has caused me to want to give up.

But I have also experienced the flip side of the coin – words of encouragement, timely advice, words fitly spoken, that have been sweet, beautiful and awesome. I have people in my life who encourage me – whether it is through spoken words, handwritten cards, or an e-mail note or Facebook message. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” That’s so true!

An Earring of Gold: Valid Criticism:

In Proverbs 25:12, Solomon tells us that a wise reprover upon an obedient ear is like a golden earring. In other words, “Valid criticism is as treasured by the one who heeds it as jewelry made from finest gold.” (NLT). Not only do we need words to encourage us when we are doing well, but there are times when we need good friends who will speak the truth in love and let us know when we’re messing up in our lives. Their goal isn’t to hurt or destroy us, but to help keep us on the straight and narrow. Such people are more valuable than precious jewels.

It would be nice if every time a wise person corrected their friend that they would be met with an obedient ear, willing to respond to that correction, but that is not always the case. Sometimes even when we speak the truth in love, people will reject that truth because they don’t want to change. That’s unfortunate!

Lord, give us people in our lives who will speak encouraging words of life to build us up and encourage us when we need it. But also give us people in our lives who will be wise reprovers, who will challenge us when we get into sin or error, and help us to have an obedient ear that is open to correction. Amen!


I’ll Make You Famous!

Proverbs 25:8-10.

“Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.” (KJV).
“Don’t be in a hurry to go to court. You might go down before your neighbors in shameful defeat.  So discuss the matter with them privately. Don’t tell anyone else, or others may accuse you of gossip. Then you will never regain your good reputation.” (NLT). 

I’ll Make You Famous!

billy the kid

The fall after I graduated from high school (in 1990), I went to Calgary for two weeks to spend some time with my biological dad. Because he and my mom were divorced before I was five years old, his involvement in my life was minimal, and I never really knew him well. However, during this trip, I spent two weeks living with my dad, getting to know him for the first time.

One of the things I remember about my visit with my dad was that we saw the western movie Young Guns II together. The movie tells the story of the infamous Billy the Kid, and the movie ends with this main character, played by Emelio Estevez, saying, “I’ll make you famous!” However, there’s a big difference between being famous and infamous.

Dealing with Offenses:

In the days of cowboys and cattle drives in the Wild West (so Hollywood would have us believe) all disagreements were quickly dispatched with a six-gun. But the Bible gives us better ways to deal with our hurts and offenses!

In today’s Scripture, Solomon tells us to be careful about running to court to sue someone who hurts or offends you. Instead, he says we should go and talk to that person first and try to work it out with them. Jesus taught the same thing in Matt. 18:15: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”

It’s unfortunate that nowadays, when someone does something wrong to somebody, they turn around and gossip, slander them, lie about them, or blog about them. God’s Word has a lot of strong warnings against those who would gossip! “A gossip goes around revealing secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence” (Proverbs 11:13). In today’s Proverb, Solomon says that if we start gossiping, our “infamy” will not turn away.

Do you want to be Infamous?

That word infamy means extremely bad reputation, public reproach, or strong condemnation as the result of a shameful, criminal, or outrageous act. If you are a gossip who stirs up strife, be careful, because you may never again regain your good reputation. Gossip says, “I’ll make you famous!” Or is that… infamous?