Tag Archives: Proverb

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.

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Worms Need a Savior, Too

Proverbs 28:24

“Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.”

We All Do It

There are many people in the world that call right “wrong,” and wrong “right.” As a matter of fact, we all probably do it, and a lot more than we think.

When is the last time you broke the law and sped down the highway? Did you justify your actions with something like, “They should have never made the speed limit that low.” When is the last time you watched a rated-R movie and condoned the sex or violence as “art” or “entertainment”? Does Philippians 4:8 (whatsoever things are pure…think on these things) ever cross your mind?

So, before we read the above proverb with too much indignation, let us first examine our own actions.

Friends of Murderers 

But before we get all depressed and feel like we have no moral high ground, let’s get back to the message of the proverb at hand. Simply put, the one who steals from his own mother and father lives in the gutter of humanity.

I personally like the way the New Living Translation deals with this proverb: “Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.” That’s right, the one who steals from his parents is no better than a murderer. Pretty harsh, isn’t it?

Oh, but wait! What does the Bible say in 1 John 3:15? It says: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer…” A murderer! Seriously, I can’t stand the scum who would rob his parents and say, “No big deal.” That kind of person needs to be dealt with in the harshest manner. But then again, what he really needs is a Savior.

Alas! and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I? 
 – Isaac Watts

How Are You Walking?

Proverbs 28:18

“Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.”
“Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.” ESV

Not What You Might Think

The first part of this proverb could give the wrong impression if one’s not careful. It reads, “Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved.” However, this is not talking about a “works salvation,” as some would content. Our “walk” does not save us; only the grace of God through faith in Christ.

The second part of this proverb could also be misread or misunderstood, thereby making it seem like God’s word is untrue. At first glance it may seem that anyone who does wrong will immediately suffer the consequences, which we all know may or may not happen.

The promise and warning of this proverb has more to do with the moment that will eventually come – the moment in which one’s walk will determine the outcome.

Persistence and Faithfulness

Be persistent in your walk, dear friend. Remain faithful, even when the way is hard. When the time comes, you will be grateful for the trials you went through and the obstacles you overcame.

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” – Galatians 6:9

Stay on the “straight and narrow” and trust God to deliver you in the moment of testing or the hour of need. Let Him guide you and “direct your paths.”

A Sudden Fall

When we walk “perversely” or “crooked,” never following the way lined with warning signs, we are only asking for trouble. The second part of this proverb warns us of such.

Some think that there is no God, that His word is useless, and that life should be lived without restraint. Others, the ones who watch the godless as they travel, often wonder why nothing bad ever happens. They may even get discouraged, thinking that they are missing out on all the fun, especially since there never seems to be any pits, traps, or snares in the way.

But God’s word IS true; there is pleasure in sin for a season (Heb. 11:25), but the ultimate end is death…a sudden fall. When the moment comes, it will come “at once,” possibly without warning, and without help from the God who’s direction was snubbed.


Kiss Me Kill Me

Proverbs 27:6

Wounds from a friend can be trusted,
    but an enemy multiplies kisses.

It Makes Sense

This is one of those proverbs we can look at and agree with. We all know it makes sense. It is much better to have friends who will be honest with us even when it hurts, then friends who will just pamper and flatter us even when we are clearly in the wrong.

The trouble is something making sense doesn’t guarantee we will follow the advice. In this case there are multiple reasons why we ignore this advice, our society is much more comfortable with flattery, even when it’s false, than truth; it can be hard to receive truth from a friend; we can find it difficult to speak truthfully to our friends in case they decide to ditch us.

First Things Firsts

To see more meaningful relationships we need to be ready to be examples. We need to be people who are good at taking criticism, and also brave enough to give it. Many people misread the plank in the eye parable. They use the excuse that as they will never be perfect, and therefore always have impaired vision, they cannot challenge other’s behaviour. I have even heard parents say that they cannot challenge their wayward ward because they were just as bad when they were children. But we only need to read to the end of the parable to see Jesus intention –

Matthew 7:5 (emphasis mine) ‘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.’ 

We are to be wounded and we are to wound. And all the better our friendships shall be for it.


Kissing the Truth

Proverbs 24:23-26

These things also [belong] to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment. He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them. Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

Ultimate Turnoff

There are a lot of things which we could cover in today’s proverb, but I will focus on only one: attraction.

What attracts you to other people? Their good looks? Their personality? Their sense of humor? You could probably create a long list of attractive qualities, but the last on your list, I would bet, is prejudice. And more than that, I bet people who lie on the witness stand or render prejudiced verdicts from the bench disgust you, don’t they?

According to this proverb, those who call the wicked “righteous” and let criminals walk free are the scum of the earth. Nobody likes them (except the wicked). People from all walks of life “abhor” prejudicial judgment; it’s the ultimate turnoff.

Ultimate Attraction

According to verse 26 the most attractive thing is truth. Now, I am not one who goes around kissing everyone who gives me a correct answer. For instance, I’ve never kissed anyone who gave me truthful directions. I’ve never kissed my daughters every time they answered a spelling question correctly.

When I asked my dog, “Did you do this!?” I did not kiss his wet nose the moment he bowed his head in guilt. But, I did kiss my wife when she said, “I will.” I assumed that was the right answer.

What Solomon is trying to express is the refreshing joy we feel when someone tells the truth, especially when the wicked are being judged. Truth makes the system work. Truth gives us hope. Truth brings justice. Truth is not prejudicial. That is why the wise are drawn to it.

Note: Isn’t it interesting that Judas, the most abhorred man in history, betrayed Truth with a kiss? (Matthew 25:48-49)


Get Ready to Learn

Proverbs 23:12

“Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.”

Pause to Prepare

This proverb echos 22:17-21 and asks us to get ready for what we are about to read/hear. In other words, what is about to be said is very important, so we should prepare our hearts and tune our ears.

I can almost imagine Solomon looking at his son the way I sometimes look at my daughters. I call their name, get eye contact, and then ask, “Are you listening to what I am about to say?” Sometimes I even take two of my fingers, point at their eyes, then mine, just to make sure I have their attention.

Solomon is trying to get our attention, but he is warning us that what we are about to hear might not be pleasant.

“Apply”

It is interesting to note that the majority of Bible translations use the same word in this proverb: “apply.” This should tell us that there is something special about this word – something worth examining.

The Hebrew word for “apply” is an expression that simply means to go in and come out. But when we use it in connection with one’s heart, the idea is that we must decide where the heart goes – it can’t be allowed to go where it wants.

Obviously, the heart is our seat of emotions, but too often the heart is in the seat driving. Solomon wants us to prepare our hearts for something that might not be pleasant, something that might cause our emotions to take over.

“Instruction”

What is it that Solomon asks us to apply our hearts to? He says, “Apply thine heart unto instruction.” But here again, should be mindful of words. “Instruction” is a word we typically associate with being told what to do. However, the Hebrew word muwcar (mü·sär’) lends itself more to the idea of discipline and chastisement.

So what is the point?

Solomon is about to instruct us with knowledge that may be hard to handle, so he is telling us in advance to do what is necessary, even if it is difficult.

You see, we need to make our heart go to a place from where it would normally run. We need to force our ears to hear what we don’t want to hear. We need to take our emotions by the hand and willfully walk them through disciplined paces. Otherwise, what we are about to read next will cause us to flee with our emotions leading the way.


The Here and Now

Proverbs 21:7

“The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.”

Karma

Maybe you’ve heard people say, “What goes around comes around.” The meaning is, like a big circle, life has a way of coming back around. Some people call it karma.

I don’t believe in karma, however. As a matter of fact, karma is a theological idea that is linked to the unbiblical teaching of reincarnation. Karma doesn’t deal with the hear-and-now, only the yet-to-be-known. It pushes the consequences of this life into the unknown of tomorrow, leaving one never knowing for sure what tomorrow holds.

Some may read this proverb and conclude that it is similar to the idea of karma, but it is not. The consequences in this verse deal with the ones committing the wickedness, the judgement of which will be known in due time. In other words, this proverb deals with consequences that will be felt by the wicked doing the crime, not their poor, unwitting, future incarnations.

Consequences

One of the hardest things to do is convince children that their bad actions may result in painful consequences – in this life. Recently, a father I know (not me) was telling his daughter that she was being rude to others and that her selfish, hateful comments would get her in to trouble. No sooner than he warned the young girl, a cry of pain rang out. The little girl had gotten slapped by her older sister, which then resulted in the little girl getting a spanking, too.

When we refuse “to do judgement” and go about with our “robbery” like nothing in this life will ever happen, we live as fools.

“The wicked conceive evil; they are pregnant with trouble and give birth to lies. They dig a deep pit to trap others, then fall into it themselves. The trouble they make for others backfires on them. The violence they plan falls on their own heads.” – Psalm 7:14-16 NLT

It is unwise to think that we can live however we please and push the consequences down the road. The end of the road may be just around the corner, and there a toll must be paid.