Tag Archives: Proverb

Be Humble, Don’t Fumble (11:2)

Proverbs 11:2

When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.

The simple message of this proverb is that the prideful person is more likely to get knocked down to size than the person who is already humble. Shame follows on the heels of pride, while wisdom is already with the humble.

A Story

I don’t know where the original story came from, but years ago my dad told me a story about a proud preacher. The young minister was confident in his abilities and his preparation. So, when asked to preach in a conference, the young man jumped at the opportunity, strutted up to the stage, and manned the pulpit.

It didn’t take long for the prideful young minister to realize he was blowing it. When he was finished, he slowly shuffled down the steps from the stage, head hung low, looking totally dejected. Then, feeling like a total failure, he sat down by an older, wiser man of God.

How do you think you did up there?” the older man asked.

I totally blew it,” the young preacher said. “I don’t know what happened. I knew the material, was prepared, and wasn’t even nervous.

Gently, the old pulpiteer asked, “So what you’re saying is that you went up there with your head held high, but came down with it hanging low, correct?

Yessir, that’s about it,” said the young man. “I don’t know what I could have done differently.

With a slight grin the old preacher looked at the younger and said, “If you’d went up there the way you came down, you’d have come down the way you went up.

You Down With That?

When some people ask if you understand something, they may say, “You down with that?” Ironically, in the case of this proverb, being “down” with it, or being “lowly,” is where wisdom can be found.

Do you understand what the old preacher was saying? He was only echoing Solomon in today’s proverb. Pride, cockiness, and self-assurance are not far ahead of shame, humiliation, and embarrassment. The wise, by being humble from the beginning, will rise in due time, and not in their own strength.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

Don’t let pride cause you to fumble a scoring opportunity.

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Check the Mirror

Proverbs 9:7

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.”

How not to Deal with Fools

The advice provided in this verse seems a little strange. Surely an idiot wants to know that he is an idiot? But who should tell him/her? The NIV translation is a little easier to understand:

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.

Is it really our place to correct a scorner, a mocker? The likely response according to Proverbs is that the scorner will turn on the person providing correction. Does this mean we should suffer in silence?

My sixteen-year old daughter finds suffering in silence impossible, and constantly tries to correct her twelve-year old brother. As most children are not keen on being corrected by parents or teachers, there is little possibility of correction from an older sibling being well received. But the reaction from her brother doesn’t stop my daughter, who often fails to see the plank of wood in her own eye while trying to remove the speck of sawdust from her brother’s eye. Jesus said:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5 NIV)

Perhaps the shame in attempting to correct a scorner is that we fail to look in the mirror first?

Policing the Wicked

There is a reason why most law enforcement officers wear uniform. It is to distinguish them from civilians so that they are easily recognized. While members of the public do occasionally intervene to disrupt criminal activity, an untrained response can be fraught with danger. There is a fine line between bravery and stupidity. In other words, it is not our job to judge the wicked or attempt to punish or rebuke those we believe to be wrong.

There are earthly authorities with that responsibility, and a higher authority in God. He will deal with the wicked in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:16-17). We need to ignore the fact that the wicked seem to prosper in this life (Job 21) and focus on ourselves. How are we doing?


Deadly Lips

Proverbs 5:3-5

“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.”

Still Relevant 

Many question the ability of a 3000 year old text to address the issues of modern life. They wonder how something written so long ago can have any relevance today. Yet, the wisdom of Proverbs came from the same Source that could see all of time in a glance.

The advice Solomon shared with his sons in these verses (and the next three) is as true today as it was back then. The siren song of a temptress can still woo a foolish, gullible man into the depths of hell.

Don’t Be Fooled

Unlike the modern intellectual who insists “perception is reality,” Solomon warns that false perception can kill. In effect he says, “Boys, don’t let a harlot fool you; she’s not what she seems.” In reality, her pucker is poison, and her “sweet nothing’s” a sword.

I’m reminded of the way Indians used to kill wolves. They would repeatedly dip a sharp knife in blood, freezing each layer, until the blade was completely covered. When a wolf smelled the blood it would find the popsicle and lick away. As its tongue became lacerated, its own blood made it lick more, until it bled to death.

In much the same way, a man’s desire for beautiful women is as natural as a wolf’s craving for blood. And because the Enemy knows our weaknesses, he places lipstick-covered blades in our path (and on our computer screens). Only wisdom can discern the danger.

Heed the Warning!

An old country song said, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Sadly, that’s what many men say when captured by her spell. Translation: “Her lips are sweet; her mouth is smooth; and I will partake of her pleasures all the way to the grave.”

Oh, that men would heed this warning! Oh, that our sons would remember “favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain” (Prov. 31:30). A woman that feareth the Lord is not only worthy of praise, but she probably won’t poison, stab, and waltz you through the gates of hell.

I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. For what has God above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high? Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil? Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take?” – Job 31:1-4 NLT


Just Walk Away

Proverbs 4:14-17

“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”

Magnetic Attraction

When my daughter was eight we spent a week staying in a small Austrian village during the summer. The weather was glorious, the scenery fantastic, and the lake was perfect for swimming. We spent a lot of time by the lake, as did other holidaymakers, and the locals. Despite not being able to speak German, my daughter soon found that she could not stay away from the most mischievous of the local children. They had some sort of magnetic attraction. Nothing I said to her made any difference, she just seemed to gravitate towards the bad kids.

Why is bad sometimes so attractive? Back in Exodus when Moses vanished up the mountain it didn’t take long for the people to lose the plot and become disobedient to the point of making and then worshipping an idol. It is difficult to believe that even Aaron went along with the crowd instead of walking away from what he knew was wrong.

Walk Away

Walk away is the wisdom expressed in these verses. Walk away from wicked people. Walk away from temptation. Walk away from anything you know will be hurtful to God, and keep on walking. Sometimes it seems so hard to take that step and go in the opposite direction, even though we know it is the right thing to do.

Solomon refers to the path or way of the wicked. This is the broad road that leads to destruction. When we walk out on it every step we take adds to the weight of the burden Jesus carried to the cross. Every step on this highway to hell is another hammer blow against a nail piercing the hand of our Lord, who once said:

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13 NIV)

Walk away from the wide road of those who despise God. Don’t follow them for they are walking in the wrong direction. There is only one road. Only one way – with our eyes fixed on Jesus:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)


Sweet Sleep

Proverbs 3:24

“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.”

Expensive Sleep

Have you priced new mattresses lately? Good grief! For what one costs you could feed an entire village in South America for a month!

Companies offer mattresses made with foam that cools, numbers that adjust, and frames that fold you into a sandwich. You can choose from pillow top, memory foam, no-flip, innerspring, or latex. You can even return them if you don’t experience “the best sleep you’ve ever had.”

Lack of Sleep

Yet, with all the money being spent on fancy mattresses, Americans (and I can only assume others) are sleeping less. As a matter of fact, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) published an article on their website claiming “Insufficient Sleep Is a Public Health Epidemic.”

Citing a study by the National Department of Transportation, the CDC said “drowsy driving [is] responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries annually.” If you consider chronic disease, the numbers are far worse.

Sweet Sleep

Looking back at 3:21, nowhere does it say that a $2000 mattress is the key to peaceful, sweet sleep. No, all Solomon suggests is “sound wisdom and discretion.”

When you have done all things wisely, with discretion, and for the glory of the Lord (Colossians 3:23), you should be able to lay your head down without fear, without regret, and sleep like a baby.

“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
And if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Faith Mattress

Now, I would be leaving out something very important if I didn’t add one thing. Those who put their faith in Jesus can sleep peacefully, no matter the storm (Luke 8:25). The peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) can make the roughest straw or the hardest concrete feel like bed in a Ritz-Carlton.

Dear Jesus, I am tired, I am week, I am worn. Much of it is because I try to do too much, when wisdom and discretion would say, “Be still.” My rest, when it does come, is not always peaceful, for I worry and fret over the waves crashing against the hull. Savior, speak peace. Help me to rest in the knowledge that you are in the boat.


A Win-Win

Proverbs 3:16

“Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.”

Continuing in the description of the value of wisdom, we now come to a verse that paints a picture of a win-win situation. Do you know what that is?

A Win-Win

The best example of a win-win in my life, aside from when my wife decided she wanted to marry me, comes from my years in sales. I believe it was Zig Ziglar who said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” And that is absolutely true!

Without going into a lot of detail, I used to sell a particular big-ticket item. The potential to make a lot of money was always present, but so was the potential to take advantage of the client. I saw more than a few sales professionals convince a client to spend more than necessary, only to have the sale reversed a day later.

My philosophy was pretty simple – exceed the custormer’s expectations. How did I do that? By being an honest listener who never considered profit until after the client’s needs were met. Did I alway make money? No. But I made more than those who foolishly took advantage of others.

Even when I didn’t make an immediate paycheck, I could still sleep at night. That was truly a win-win.

Wisdom is a Win-Win

Solomon is saying that with wisdom comes both long life and honor. Many are the fools that seek riches, but die young. Many are the fools that seek long life, but die in shame.

Seek wisdom, and you will have not only what you need, but you may live long enough to enjoy it.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:31-33 NLT


Playing or Getting Played by the Fool

He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage. –Proverbs 26:6, KJV

The past two entries from Michael and me covered answering the fool in various ways. The next one after this from Dawn does a great job unifying Proverbs 26:4-5.

For this, I will look at how we can play the fool and be played by the fool with proverbs.

Playing the Fool

We may be very godly, have Scripture memorized (or be very quick looking up passages in our Bible apps on our phones 😉), and we have the right verse to respond to everyone.

But sometimes, people don’t need the Bible verse. Either they are adamantly opposed to our messageor they simply needed a hug and a listening ear, and our perfect verse led to a tantrum or to their brain shutting down and stop listening to us. Or worse, they lash out at others or injure themselves.

Played by the Fool

This second point is more prevalent in our world. This is the person who knows just enough about religion or academics or life in general to be dangerous.

This is the person who takes a Bibke verse out of context to prove you wrong, uses a blend of world religions’ teachings to show how much more about the world they know (but misapply much of it due to contradicting the Bible), or tries to help make the world better without accounting for human sin (while pointing out the sins of humanity).

This person speaks without knowledge and hurts others more by driving them away from God (see Jeremiah 10).

Avoiding the Cup of Wrath

What we all fail to realize – whether playing or getting played by the fool – is that we are setting each other up to drink damage, from the ultimate damage, God’s cup of wrath.

But there is a relief. We can allow the Holy Spirit to guide us (and help us keep our mouths shut).

But only if we repent and believe in the One who drank that cup for us (Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15, Habakkuk 2:15–16, Matthew 20:20–23) are we able to receive the Holy Spirit.

Anyone who uses wise-sounding or even scriptural words to cause division or lead others away from Jesus Christ is only cutting them off at the feet so they stumble straight into eternal destruction.