Saturday, March 26, 2016
A Chapter A Day - Proverbs 26
Proverbs 26 strikes a different a tone and uses similes to get its point across. What you learn from the book of Proverbs in addition to all the wisdom gained is that there are many ways to emphasize a point.
This chapter really breaks down the actions of a fool.
Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool (v1,8). Let's go back to the definition of a fool. When a fool receives honor, it seems unnatural; the fool becomes more conceited as he doesn't know how to accept praise.
Here are two verses that don't fit the simile model and on initial reading seem to contradict each other - Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes (4-5). The point is to know when to respond to a fool - and there are times to respond. Being in the company of a foolish person who is spouting nonsense is interesting - to say the least. If they're speaking of ideas, that just make no sense and you've tried getting through before - answer not a fool. If they're taking a fact and making it fiction - answer a fool (the facts back you up). I think if you can refute a fool based on solid principles, facts, God's word - then provide an answer or a question for him to think about, if not leave him to his folly.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly (v11). Fools go back to their vices - they continue to repeat what is not good for them. The thought of a dog returning to his own vomit turns my stomach; it is the same effect when we see someone continually doing something foolish.
As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed (v14). The door moves back and forth, but it's not going anywhere. So is a lazy person, who just turns back and forth but does not get up to accomplish anything. He has to do something different!
Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel, not their own (v 17, 20, 21). Grabbing a dog by the ears is begging for trouble, so is someone who is quick to create arguments that have nothing to do with him.
Do you know people who overuse the phrase, "Just Kidding?" Here are two verses that talk about this phrase - Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” (v 18-19). Our deceptions can be deadly; we can't just wish it away with "just kidding". There is a time and place for laughter and jokes, but when it becomes a habit that's hurtful we need to rethink our actions. In line with this keep in mind that a lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin (v 28). One that gets into the habit of lying whether it is twisting the truth or false flattery does not have your best interests at heart. We really need to watch what we say.
Fools are lazy, slothful, arrogant, conceited, create strife, deceitful, and wicked. If we exhibit these traits, by the grace of God, we can be changed.