Tag Archives: Warnings

The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Proverbs 26:24-26

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for [there are] seven abominations in his heart. [Whose] hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the [whole] congregation.” 

The Big Shots

Yesterday, David looked at verse 23 dealing with those who cover up their wickedness to look good. These verses come out of that.

He mentioned the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Today we tend to think about politicians or corporate bigwigs that put up a front to look good for their employees or their constituents. In truth, they are only out for their own gain.

The really bad ones are those who will stop at nothing, hurt anyone to get what they want or to be entertained.

The Church Enemy

The scariest ones are those in the Church.

Who are they? They are the church-goers who:

  • Gossip (sometimes through “prayer requests”)
  • Complain about everything at the church
  • Complain about everything in life
  • Live two separate lives: one at church and one everywhere else
  • Purposefully disobey the pastor or church teachings
  • Cause divisions (start fights, spread malicious rumors, etc.)
  • Give the minimum effort (and usually have excuses)
  • Never give any effort at church (and always have excuses, if they talk about it)
  • Those who justify every action they take (usually with “But you have to understand …”)
  • Who start debates with “I am a Christian, so …” and then attempt to defend non-Christian behaviors and actions.

I could go on for a very long time. They act like they love others, but they really hate.

The question is …

Did you see yourself in that list?

The scariest enemy is the one who acts like your friend. Read Galatians 5:19-21 for Paul’s list of who they are.

Heavenly Father, help us to remove all the falseness and pretense from our lives. Create in us a clean heart free of all malice, deceit, and wickedness. Help us to be followers of You and not the father of lies.


Heeding Jim Croce

Proverbs 26:17

17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

Helping Out

I once saw someone with her kids and minivan stopped on the side of the road. I had to stop and give them a ride.

She had said she knew someone who could help get the minivan, though she needed it as soon as possible. However, she was having some money issues, so it might be a while.

I had done my duty, and I could have stopped helping her right there. Instead, I called my friend who had a friend, and her van was towed to a garage.

Two days later, she and her kids were out of their apartment. They had been evicted for not paying rent. There were past-due bills stuck to the apartment door.

And I was stuck with the $600 storage and removal fees for her minivan that she never claimed.

Spitting into the Wind

Jim Croce was a folk singer a few decades ago who wrote about this very thing. In his song “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim“, he has these lyrics:

You don’t tug on Superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

 In the song, there is a man nobody messes with: Jim. He takes what he wants when we wants, and anyone who gets in his way gets trouble. It would be like grabbing the ears of a dog after you broke into someone’s house.

Jim learned this when he flirted with the wife of a man named “Slim”. He had never heard about Jim, and Jim finally messed with the wrong dog.

Sometimes there are things that come along in lie that common sense warns us is stupid and dangerous. Disregarding common sense in those situations can prove as dangerous as spitting into the wind or grabbing the ears of an angry dog.

Fortunately the Bible helps us understand some of the things that our common sense may not pick up on, and our friends can help us even more. (Which is one of the reasons Hebrews 10:24-25 was written.)

Great God, give us the discernment to know the situations that are not good for us, the wisdom to know when to act and not to act, and the strength to say “No” when we need to.


Never Learning

Proverbs 26:11

11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Out of Nourishment

Dogs have this nasty habit of trying to eat their own vomit!

We know it is gross, but do we understand why?

  • Vomit is full of stomach acid, and the esophagus is not meant to handle the acid long. It burns away the lining.
  • Vomit is full of half-digested food. It has already provided its nourishment. There is no more to be had in the food.
  • Vomit is pre-poop! (Something else dogs occasionally eat … see previous point!)

It is not good for a dog (or anyone) to eat vomit!

Out of Sense

The more we do a task, the more ingrained it becomes. If that task is not good for us, it gradually wears us down.

Just like a dog eating its vomit, if we continue sinning, it is like our soul is vomiting and then consuming it again. It wears us down, and our soul gets more sick.

A fool will think it is funny (and probably giggles when reading “pre-poop”!) and see no harm when a dog eats its vomit.

A fool also repeats and celebrates sin.

And in the process, the fool slowly kills his or her own soul.

Giver of Life, do not let us continue to destroy our souls and bodies. By the name of Jesus give us the wisdom to turn from our sin, the strength to follow through, and the grace to forgive ourselves and grow beyond our sin.


A Difficult Thought

Proverbs 26:10

“The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.”
“Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.” – ESV

This proverb is a challenging one because of how many different ways it could be translated. As a matter of fact, practically every scholarly commentary admits the Hebrew in this proverb is difficult to interpret. That is why I am going to quote several of them before I leave my final thought for you.

Spence-Jones (The Pulpit Commentary)

Few passages have given greater difficulty than this verse; almost every word has been differently explained. The Authorized Version is, The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors; Revised Version, As an archer (Job 16:13) that woundeth all, so is he that hireth the fool and he that hireth them that pass by. At first sight one would hardly suppose that these could be versions of the same passage. [1]

Garrett (The New American Commentary)

The Hebrew of v. 10 is almost unintelligible and thus subject to numerous interpretations, all of which are hypothetical. As the NIV has it, the verse reaffirms that one should not commit important tasks to fools (as in v. 6). Notwithstanding all the difficulties of the text, that does seem to be the main point.[2]

Friedrich and Delitzsch (Commentary on the Old Testament)

All that we have hitherto read is surpassed in obscurity by this proverb, which is here connected because of the resemblance of ושכר to שכור. We translate it thus, vocalizing differently only one word:

            Much bringeth forth from itself all; But the reward and the hirer of the fool pass away.[3]

Matthew Henry

Matthew Henry

Our translation [KJV] gives this verse a different reading in the text and in the margin; and accordingly it expresses either, 1. The equity of a good God. The Master, or Lord (so Rab signifies), or, as we read it, The great God that formed all things at first, and still governs them in infinite wisdom, renders to every man according to his work. … Or, 2. The iniquity of a bad prince (so the margin reads it): A great man grieves all, and he hires the fool; he hires also the transgressors. When a wicked man gets power in his hand, by himself, and by the fools and knaves whom he employs under him, whom he hires and chooses to make use of, he grieves all who are under him and is vexatious to them. We should therefore pray for kings and all in authority, that, under them, our lives may be quiet and peaceable.[4]

Anthony Baker (Proverbial Thought)

So, here is what I think. Feel free to quote me 200 years from now.

A man is a fool when he employs a fool to complete a task. However, the biggest fool is one who thinks God, the Almighty Archer, will miss the target when He holds the wicked accountable.

We are always under His watchful eye, but the fool is never out of His “sights.”


[1] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Proverbs, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 500.

[2] Duane A. Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, vol. 14, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1993), 213.

[3] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 6 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 387.

[4] Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994).


Don’t Be Lazy!

Proverbs 24:30-34.

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” (KJV). 

The Fields Preached a Sermon:

In today’s Proverb, Solomon describes a story from his personal life. He tells about a time he was walking by the field of a simple, lazy man, and – no surprise – it was overgrown with weeds, the fence was knocked down, and there was no fruit. The lesson he learned? If you are lazy, and spend all your time napping, you will become poor really quickly, and you won’t be able to do anything about it. What a great lesson for today’s generation!

lazy

Today’s Lazy Young People:

I don’t know about you, but I have noticed that a lot of young people today lack any sort of work ethic. They don’t want to do anything, and they want everyone to do everything for them. There is a song by Bruno Mars that I think so perfectly captures the spirit of today’s generation: “Today I don’t feel like doing anything, I just want to lay in my bed.” It is aptly named simply “The Lazy Song.”

I know that I am greatly (and perhaps unfairly so) generalizing here, as I know that there are many young people who are diligent and hard-working. However, such persons are so rare that when they are seen, they are taken as a notable exception to their peers, and are looked upon as extraordinary.

The Book of Proverbs has a lot of warnings to the lazy man (or woman):

  • 12:24: The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
  • 12:27: The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession.
  • 13:4: The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Application: How Then Shall We Live?

First of all, if you’re 30 years old and still live in your mom’s basement playing video games all day long – go out and get a job! (That challenge is only partly tongue-in-cheek). God’s Word challenges us to be diligent and hard-working people, and warns against a lazy lifestyle. The Bible says, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23, NLT).

If you work hard and are diligent, God will bless you. So don’t be lazy!


Evil Dead

Proverbs 24:1-2.

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.” (KJV). 

Worse Than a Horror Movie:

No, today’s devotional isn’t a commentary or review of the latest terrible Hollywood horror film. The title is based on a combination of today’s Scripture, which talks about evil men, and a New Testament Bible verse that says that before we come to Christ, we are “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1). The evil dead. What a terrible state to be in!

What is evil? A simple dictionary definition tells us that evil is anything morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the world we’re living in is full of evil people. Turn on the TV, read the newspaper, or watch the movies, and you will see story after story filled with lying, stealing, cheating, murder, rape, terrorism and war.

In today’s Proverb, Solomon teaches us two things about evil. In the first verse, he tells us how we should respond to evil people, and in the second verse, he tells us what evil people do. I’m going to start with the second verse.

The Nature of the Evil Dead:

In Proverbs 24:2, Solomon teaches us two things about evil people: Their heart studies destruction, or plots violence. They are always looking for ways to destroy or harm others. Eugene Peterson paraphrases this verse thusly, “All they think about is causing a disturbance” (The Message).

In addition to their evil schemes, their lips talk of mischief – making trouble. Not only do they do bad things themselves, but they are always trying to get others to sin as well. Lying, gossiping, and stirring up strife; cursing, name calling and more. Do you know anyone like that? How should we deal with these kinds of people? Verse one gives us the answer:

Our Response to the Evil Dead:

The first thing the Bible tells us to do is to not envy evildoers. There’s something about our society that – especially in the secular media – likes to glamourize evil and sin. People say, “Ooh, he’s such a bad boy,” like that’s a good thing. However, God tells us that we shouldn’t envy evil people. No matter how cool or fun the world makes evil look!

Secondly, God warns us against wanting to be with them. First Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits.” If you hang around with evil people, they will negatively influence your behaviour, and impact your relationship with God. Does this mean we can’t build relationships with non-Christians for the sake of leading them to Christ? Of course not. But look at your closest circle of friends, because whatever they are like – good, bad or ugly; living or dead – you will become!


Establish Your Way

Proverbs 21:29.

“A wicked man hardens his face, But as for the upright, he establishes his way.” (KJV).
“A wicked man displays a bold face, But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.” (NASB).

Righteousness or Wickedness:

We have seen that one of Solomon’s teaching tactics includes contrasting two opposing life choices, such as wisdom and foolishness, diligence and laziness, and humility and pride. In today’s Scripture, Solomon tells us that wicked people harden their face, or put on a bold face. In other words, they pretend to be okay when they are not. The upright, or righteous, on the other hand, establish their way, and make their way sure. They don’t have to pretend to be right, but by God’s grace, choose to do what is right.

Solomon tells us: “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death.” (Prov. 10:2). And “As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.” (Prov. 11:19). To choose a righteous lifestyle leads to life and blessing, and to choose wickedness leads to death and destruction. But – what is righteousness?

Righteousness Defined:

Righteousness can be looked at from two different perspectives. One is right-standing with God, and the other is acting in an upright, virtuous, moral way. Let’s take a look at these two different aspects to righteousness:

1.         Right-standing with God – Putting Your Faith in Jesus:

The first time we see the word righteousness used in the Bible is in Genesis 15:6 where it says, “And Abraham believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” Here we see that Abraham’s right-standing with God did not come from living a perfect, holy life (because indeed no one can or ever has lived a perfect life, except for Jesus). Rather, righteousness was credited to his account as a gift when he put his faith in the Lord.

Romans 1:17 teaches us this: “This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (NLT). Do you want right-standing with God? Put your faith in Jesus, and trust Him to be your Lord and Savior, and forgive you of all of your sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ today!

2.         Right-living before God – Acting in an Upright Manner:

In addition to our positional righteousness, which comes from a personal relationship with Jesus, there is also a practical righteousness, where we choose to do what is right and good – that is, we obey the teachings of the Bible. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33).

Lord, help us as your people to walk in righteousness so that we can establish our way according to your righteousness. In Jesus’ name, amen.