Saturday, August 15, 2009

Proverbs 26: 1-12

Similitudes, Instructions
1Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a fool.
2Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
So a curse without cause does not alight.
3A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the back of fools.
4Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
5Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes.
6He cuts off his own feet and drinks violence
Who sends a message by the hand of a fool.
7Like the legs which are useless to the lame,
So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
8Like one who binds a stone in a sling,
So is he who gives honor to a fool.
9Like a thorn which falls into the hand of a drunkard,
So is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10Like an archer who wounds everyone,
So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.
11Like a dog that returns to its vomit
Is a fool who repeats his folly.
12Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.


Today's Thought Question:
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

Will end up touching on a couple of verses today, since they all wrap around the same topic. I'm seeing something that I hadn't seen earlier--a differentiation between the fool and the one who is "wise in his own eyes." I had thought the latter was a euphemism for the former, but the verses using the expression today clearly delineate the two.

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Or you will also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
That he not be wise in his own eyes." (4 & 5)

Solomon coaches us earlier that fools do not have wisdom and thus will not respond using it. He cautions not to respond to a fool in like manner or we will be like him, which is the beginning of that process of wisdom erosion that we visited a post or so ago. We are challenged in Verse 5 to "speak the truth in love," as Carmen said the other day, and answer the fool with the intention of getting his folly in check. Why? So that the fool not become one "wise in his own eyes."

What this suggests to me is that the process for gaining wisdom and understanding may also be applied to the fool in that he gains folly and self-wisdom (on the path to Sheol, no doubt, Solomon would say). So, before the fool makes it to the stage of becoming "God" for himself, we need to step in and offer reproof and redirection (that well-timed, well-thought word that's as good as gold, right, CK?).

"Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him." (Verse 12)


Self-wisdom, at its basic level boils down to pride, which is one of those "abominations" of the Lord. Pride is denial of the fact that God is almighty, totally in control. It is the ultimate foolishness when we walk the earth and breathe the air, and think that it was our idea. Pride is lying to self, from surface to core. John revealed this of the church in Laodicea:

"For you say, I am rich; I have prospered and grown wealthy, and I am in need of nothing; and you do not realize and understand that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." --Revelation 3:17, AMP

The cross-reference verse is from the prophet Hosea, who shares more tales of lies among God's chosen people:

"Ephraim boasts, 'I am very rich; I have become wealthy. With all my wealth they will not find in me any iniquity or sin.'"
--Hosea 12:8

"(God) mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble." (3:34) God will show grace to those who are humble, but we need to reach and teach humility to the fool in order to help him see that grace. Entrenchment in pride to the point of not seeing the sin in one's "wealth" is surely a blinding experience. With God's help and grace, the fool could see the Light again.

May He help us reach those in the quicksand of their pride!






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* * *

Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 26: 13-23 (of the transcribed proverbs of Solomon)
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

* * *

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).

4 comments:

Kelly Combs said...

As you said, todays verses share a common theme throughout, so it's hard to pick one verse. I guess the most graphic, so thereby the one that sticks out to me is the dog returning to its vomit. I haven't had breakfast yet, so this is grossing me out!

Yet, evidentally if you do something foolish twice, it's just as gross. This reminds me of the saying "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

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