Welcome to Day 26 of our Journey through “31 Days of Wisdom”!
Today’s categories are to leave a fool alone, and be wary of deceitful people.
Today’s chapter completely focuses on the foolish and the deceitful. We are warned to not meddle, interfere, or get tangled up with a foolish and/or lazy person. Let that person be, and leave them to their own consequences. How many of us have attempted a simple conversation with a fool, or greater still a meaningful dialogue or debate, only to be frustrated by no sensible response or answer? How much do we see poor communication, dialogue, or debate (if at all) in today’s social and political commentary?
Worse yet is a deceitful person because who really can know their meaning, intent, or agenda. Proverbs warns us of the gracious speech or sweet words someone may use to conceal their real motives. It’s best to avoid these people for sure, but that is going to sometimes take an extra layer of boundaries and discernment to actually test a person’s true intent. We can be a leaf or fruit inspector, looking for evidence that leaves a trail or product of a person’s actions, behaviors and possibly their heart. One of my favorite verses found elsewhere in the Bible is, “be innocent as doves, and wise as serpents”. We need to be wise in any case, and don’t assume or take for granted that everyone’s hearts are pure. Of course, all of this assumes we ourselves are being intentional to grow in wisdom, integrity, discernment, transparency, and authenticity.
2 Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying, a curse that is causeless does not alight. 3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the back of fools. 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. 6 Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence. 7 Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools. 8 Like one who binds the stone in the sling is one who gives honor to a fool. 9 Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard. 11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. 12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 13 The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!’ 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. 15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. 16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly. 17 Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing 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 am only joking!’ 20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases. 21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife. 22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23 Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel are fervent lips with an evil heart. 24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; 25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; 26 though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. 27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling. 28 A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.
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“Make it a purpose-filled and on-target day!”