Wednesday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Proverbs 26-28 (NKJV)
26:1 As snow in summer and rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool. 2 Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight. 3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back. 4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. 6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. 7 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of fools. 8 Like one who binds a stone in a sling is he who gives honor to a fool. 9 Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools. 10 The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages. 11 As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. 12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road! A fierce lion is in the streets!” 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does the lazy man on his bed. 15 The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.
17 He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a dog by the ears.
18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, 19 is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking!”
20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. 21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife. 22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.
23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart are like earthenware covered with silver dross. 24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; 25 When he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart; 26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. 28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.
2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.
3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them.
4 Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, but who is able to stand before jealousy?
5 Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest is a man who wanders from his place.
9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.
10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.
11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him who reproaches me.
12 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.
13 Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he is surety for a seductress.
14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it will be counted a curse to him.
15 A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike;
16 Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, and grasps oil with his right hand.
17 As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
18 Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; So he who waits on his master will be honored.
19 As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.
20 Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
21 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, and a man is valued by what others say of him.
22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; 24 For riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. 25 When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, 26 the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field; 27 You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants.
28:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
2 Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge right will be prolonged.
3 A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.
4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them.
5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand all.
6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
7 Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
8 One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion gathers it for him who will pity the poor.
9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
10 Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, he himself will fall into his own pit; But the blameless will inherit good.
11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding searches him out.
12 When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves.
13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
14 Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
15 Like a roaring lion and a charging bear Is a wicked ruler over poor people.
16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, but he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.
17 A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit; Let no one help him.
18 Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.
19 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!
20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
21 To show partiality is not good, because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.
22 A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, and does not consider that poverty will come upon him.
23 He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward than he who flatters with the tongue.
24 Whoever robs his father or his mother, and says, “It is no transgression,” the same is companion to a destroyer.
25 He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, but he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered.
26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
27 He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses.
28 When the wicked arise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.
Proverbs contains some serious words of warning and admonition about fools. It makes clear the fact that fools mishandle the wisdom of God and should be regarded cautiously. Solomon continues to emphasize that wisdom is meant to be used in service to God’s holy will. Fools use wisdom carelessly because they are not thinking of obeying the Lord in all truth and sincerity.
When the word “fool” comes up, people often think only of our Lord Jesus’ words from Matthew 5:22, “But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.” But He says one is “in danger of hell fire,” not that they are automatically condemned. The charge of foolishness is a serious one and therefore should not be used carelessly.
A fool is one who does not faithfully rely on God’s wisdom, so the Scriptures’ use of this word is part of its admonition to us against sin and faithlessness! Our Lord’s teaching in Matthew is not against warning foolish sinners, but it is against hating them. We are all fools in our sinfulness, but the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus saves us! Our Lord seeks to make us wise in all things according to His righteousness and save us from the foolish misuse of any of His holy blessings.
We pray: Almighty and Everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.