Tag Archives: Solomon

Cancer of Conceit

Proverbs 26:12

“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.”

Snobs

One of the problems with the modern atheist movement is attitude. Arrogance, snobbery, and conceit may have been present all along, but having a condescending attitude is now the new trademark of Darwinists, or should I say, “Dawkins-ists”? They love to belittle creationists; berating them, making fun of them, even to the point of tears. Richard Dawkins even said of Christians: “Mock them…ridicule them in public…with contempt.”

There are always those who believe they know everything (like teenagers). They will look down their noses at others with different opinions, never giving any credence to their proposals. Solomon would say there is little hope for a person like that.

But are atheists the only ones with attitude problems? What about the Calvinist who believes any disbelief in his theory is due to a lack of education and willful ignorance? What about the denomination that insists to be a member of any other is a sin? What about the man who takes what a woman says with a grain of salt?

Arrogance is a cancer covered by many different skins.

Dangerous Doctoring

Most of us have no idea where cancer comes from; it can appear without any warning. The healthiest people can get lung cancer, even when they don’t smoke. Skin cancer can appear overnight, even on a person who never gets a sunburn. But the key to survival is early detection, not denial.

Some people experience the symptoms of disease, but refuse to go to the hospital. The worst offenders are people with some medical education, because for some reason they think they know as much as the doctors do. They refuse to seek medical attention and say, “I can handle this myself.”

Some people believe that aliens gave them cancer, but at least they have enough humility to seek help. Of the humble crazy person and the proud medical student, which has more hope of survival?

Humility

Have you ever met people who know just enough to be dangerous? Their self-confidence becomes a substitute for true wisdom, thereby making them “wise in their own conceit.” But at least a fool, if he admits he doesn’t know everything, can find help before his world falls apart.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” – Isaiah 57:15

Lord, help us to recognize our faults and weaknesses. Help us to “seek you first,” rather than relying on our own wisdom, for You are our only Hope.


Slings and Stones

Proverbs 26:8

“As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.”

Sling Shots

I used to own a pretty sweet sling shot. It had a handle shaped like a pistol grip, along with a metal brace that would go over my forearm. Attached to the forks was rubber tubing and a leather pouch. I could put a lead or steal ball in that sling shot and kill an elephant (at least in my imagination). However, the sling shot that I had as a child could not compare to the ones that were used during biblical times.

Home-made sling.

Home-made sling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The one that David used against Goliath was a serious weapon which required considerable skill to use. Sure, my sling shot could kill small vermin and knock down targets at close range, but the type of slings Solomon was referring to could, and did, kill people. In Judges 20:16 we read how the Benjamites had 700 left-handed slingers who could aim at a hair and not miss. In 2 Kings 2:35 we read how that the Israelites used slings in warfare. As a matter of fact, lead shot used by the Greeks and Romans in warfare could have an effective range of over 200 yards.

Amazingly, even though the sling was in use over 3,000 years ago, it is still being used today as a weapon by survivalists and fighters alike.  It would seem that its simple construction, ease of use, low cost, unlimited availability of projectiles, and deadly potential could keep the sling in use forever. In the hands of a trained slinger, it is practically foolproof…unless you bind the stone.

Bound Stones

As good of a weapon that the sling shot is, it is worthless if the stone or shot never leaves the pouch. Sometimes a stone can fall out of the pouch by accident, but putting another one in only takes a second. But the idea of securing the stone to the sling so that it never leaves is like plugging the end of a rifle.

But this is what Solomon is trying to explain. Honor, prestige, wealth, giftedness, glory: all of these things are wonderful tools which can be used to great effect by the wise man. However, when in the possession of the fool, all of these things, especially honor, are worthless.

Implications

Solomon is speaking to the one who actually gives honor to a fool. The fool doesn’t posses honor on his own, but has it given to him. The warning in this verse is really aimed at the one who needs the stone thrown.

Some people will honor people who don’t deserve it with promotions and bonuses, thinking that those blessings will make the fool more of an asset. The problem is that the fool will not share in the honor given, nor will he use it appropriately. Therefore, instead of being useful, the fool has now become a liability, much like a soldier who refuses to fight.

Beware of political correctness. Beware of honoring for the sake of honoring. The one who truly makes honor worthless is the one who gives it to the fool in the first place.

 


How Are Your Walls?

Proverbs 25:28

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.”

City Walls

Most cities today have no walls; they are usually protected from invaders in other ways. But back in the days of Solomon it was common to see a city with large walls built around it for defense. Without those tall, stone walls, much like what we would imagine circling a castle, a city would be completely vulnerable to attack.

English: Building the Wall of Jerusalem; as in...

In the Old Testament we can read of a man named Nehemiah who realized the importance of city walls. When one of his brothers came to visit, he asked how things were going in Jerusalem. That’s when he found out the bad news.

“They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven.” – Nehemiah 1:3-4 NLT

Later, Nehemiah went before King Artaxerxes, the kink in whose court he served, to ask permission to rebuild the wall. His request was graciously accepted, and the king even provided the materials needed for the job. However, none of this would have happened had Nehemiah not realized the humiliating and dangerous predicament Jerusalem was in. They needed walls.

Walls of Discipline

Solomon knew what he was talking about when he wrote this proverb, for he knew about human desire. But, as a king, he also knew about city walls and the need for defense. He recognized the similarity between a defenseless city and the undisciplined, careless soul.

A person who has no control over his desires is like a city that parties away the night without any clue that an invasion is imminent.

He with no rule over his own spirit is like a city full of treasures ready to be plundered.

The one with no self-control invites destruction.

Maybe it is time we share the burden of Nehemiah and repair the broken down walls in our own lives. 


Padded Résumés

Proverbs 25:14

“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.”

Résumés

There are a few things I hate to do in life, such as flossing (but I do it, anyway), hanging blinds, changing diapers, and moving. I also hate writing résumés – about as much as I despise licking a cheese grater.

Résumés (also spelled resumes, but looks like it would sound like re-zooms) are so difficult because of the desire to boast. For those of us who have less to boast about, filling out a résumé can be even more challenging. There is always the temptation to “pad” the résumé with skills not quite developed, like saying you’re a “lion tamer” when all you’ve tamed is your pet cat.

Expectations

The problem with a padded résumé is that while it may get you in the door, it won’t guarantee you can do the job for which you are hired. When employers hire people based on the skills they are supposed to have, the expectation is that the employees use their skills, or “gifts,” when called upon.

Sadly, many people have been let go from high-paying, high-pressure jobs when their “boasting…of a false gift” became evident. Examples include Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, RadioShack CEO Dave Edmondson, and Notre Dame football coach George O’Leary.

No Water

Even more tragic than being found out is the negative effect lying about one’s abilities can have on others. When Solomon compares boasting about a false gift to clouds without rain, we might imagine thirsty people, or hungry people looking at withering crops. How cruel it would be to promise them water but never deliver!

Don’t be a cloud without water. Don’t boast about gifts and abilities you don’t have. Be the best you can be and live up to the expectations others rightfully have of you.


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)


A Challenge to Changers

Proverbs 24:21-22

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? – KJV
My child, fear the LORD and the king. Don’t associate with rebels, for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the LORD and the king? – NLT

Authority

This may be the only place in Scripture where God and an earthly king are spoken of as peers. It shouldn’t be considered the norm, but it is done in such a way to stress the importance of not only authority, but the link between authority and earthly leadership. Not all kings are godly, but no king rules without God’s knowledge.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. – Romans 13:1 KJV

Therefore, it is important to understand that when we stand in opposition to the king, we may be standing in opposition to God. Rebellion may be an option at times, but those who enter into it should be wary of the consequences.

Change

I wonder where these verses were during the 2008 presidential election? Many Obama supporters were running around America demanding “change,” yet when asked what they wanted to change to, no reasonable answer was given. Most would simply reply, “Well, anything is better than what we have.”

Change for change’s sake is terribly dangerous. Those who want to change leadership for the sole reason of “change” run the risk of destruction. Solomon warns us to stay away from people like that, for they have obviously given no thought to the consequences of their actions.

Fear God, Honor the King

Ultimately, the wise man will keep attempt to keep things in their proper perspective. God and the earthly kings are not on the same level, and if one is to be obeyed over the other, it should be God that is obeyed first and last. 1 Peter 2:17b reminds us to give due honor to the king (those in authority), but to “fear God.”

During political engagements there is the temptation to be disrespectful of those in authority, especially when we don’t agree with them. But let this proverb remind us that all authority is from God, and unless we have clear direction to stand against it, rebellion is affront not only to the king, but the King of Kings.

Be wise and tread carefully.


Just Wait Till You Get Home

Pro 24:19-20

“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.”

Don’t Worry

“Fret” is not a word we use too often, but it simply means to worry oneself. Usually a person who frets is an unhappy person, an ill person, and one that gets on everyone else’s nerves.

Why worry about things we cannot change? Sure, we should be concerned about world events and the ones in charge, but what more can we do than all we can do? Should we sit around and worry ourselves sick? NO! Solomon advises us to chill, think about something else, and quit obsessing over evil men.

Don’t “fret,” be happy!

Don’t Envy

Why do we tend to envy the wicked? Don’t tell me you don’t, especially on the days you struggle to pay your bills. There are some wicked people out there who are driving cars that don’t leak oil, living in houses that have maids, and going on vacations – you know, those things few of us get to enjoy because we “fret” over the expense. If you are like me, then there are days you envy. Don’t lie.

Just the other day I went to the local Jaguar dealership where I was able to touch vehicles I can’t afford. Ordinarily, I cannot get close enough to a $150, 000 automobile without an alarm sounding. But that day I was allowed to touch, smell, and actually sit in the stuff envy is made of. What made it worse was when I was told there are preachers – PREACHERS! – that drive in from Atlanta to buy their Jaguars…and they pay CASH!

Am I preaching the right gospel? Yes…no more joking about that.

Not Home, Yet

I remember the story of a preacher that came home from an evangelistic campaign. He was gone a long time and was longing for home when he saw out the window of the train a group of people waiting at the station.

When the preacher reached the train station a band started playing and people started cheering, but as he stepped out of the car he noticed the celebration wasn’t intended for him; it was for some celebrity.

No one had showed up to greet the preacher. There were no banners, crowds, or cheers. Then, totally defeated, the poor, broken-down preacher prayed: “I have served you for years, Lord…I’ve been faithful and sacrificed everything for You…why didn’t one person greet me?…Why no parade?…Why no cheers?”

Then a still, small Voice said, “You’re not home…yet.”

Reward vs. Reward

Don’t worry yourself. Don’t be envious. The things of this earth will pass away one day, along with all the wicked have accumulated.

Nothing down here can compare to what our Father has in store for us when we get home.