Archive for the ‘Proverbs 26’ Category

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 26:23 Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross. 

Are you guilty of one or both of these terrible sins – burning lips that say negative things about others or a wicked heart that thinks such things? If you are guilty of both, you are like a broken piece of pottery covered with the scum from silver refining. What an ugly and worthless person! If you cannot say kind things about others, then say nothing at all.

Here is a simple simile – a stated comparison, by the word “like,” of a man to a clay vessel. An evil man, with a malicious heart and cruel speech, is like a broken fragment of pottery painted over with scum. A good man, with a noble heart and kind words, is like a beautiful work of pottery covered with fine silver, a delightful and valuable object.

What are burning lips? This man has a fire in his mouth, and he regularly burns others with critical and hateful speech. He cannot stay silent for long – he must say something derogatory about others. His lips are set on fire of hell (Pr 4:24; 10:18; 16:27; Jas 3:5-9).

What is a wicked heart? This phrase describes the person whose heart is filled with arrogant contempt and malicious hatred of others, as the context shows (Pr 26:18-28). He does not know God, and he has no affection for others, except to use them for his own selfish ends. He is a murderer at heart, though he may not have committed the crime yet.

Do you have either burning lips or a wicked heart, or do you have both? It is easy to find out. How easily do you argue, backbite, flatter, lie, slander, tattle, or whisper? If you sin in these ways easily, you surely have burning lips. And if you do not grieve after such sins of your lips, then you also have a wicked heart. Reader, examine yourself and repent.

While your lips and heart are not perfectly connected, they are very closely connected. A man may sin once in a while with his lips and have a pure heart, but he will be grieved for it. If a man sins often by attacking others with his words, he shows a violent and wicked heart. Jesus taught that the mouth clearly reveals the heart (Matt 12:34-37).

Many beautiful works of art and household vessels were once made from pottery. A well-formed clay object covered with fine silver could be exquisite in appearance and use. But a potsherd is a broken piece of pottery, and silver dross is the refuse scum from refining.

Wise men examine their hearts and guard their lips – they fear a critical heart and cruel lips that harm others (Pr 6:12-15; 17:20). They will instead choose a pure heart and gracious lips that can win even a king for a friend (Pr 22:11). Reader, examine yourself!

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 26:22 The words of a talebearer (gossip) are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly

Parents and teachers used to punish tattlers. God still does! Tattling is now a forgotten sin. But God remembers and punishes it! Tattling is talebearing, the spreading of injurious or malicious reports about another person. They cause deep wounds in men, which makes those telling them guilty of murder, because the sin is based in hatred.

This proverb’s wisdom was important enough to have a twin (Pr 18:8). Repeating the rule today will be valuable, for backbiting, gossiping, slandering, talebearing, or whispering are not condemned anymore. For reporters today, talebearing is falsely called journalistic liberty, or even duty. For fools, it is “letting you know the truth about so-and-so.”

God does not care if what you tell about another person is true or not – both are sins. If you tell something false about another person, you have slandered them. If you tell something true, you are a backbiter, talebearer, and whisperer. God hates all three. Talebearing is telling secret facts about another person to defame or hurt them (Pr 11:13; 20:19), so do not think you are innocent because you know the information is true.

Of course, you have not heard or read anything against talebearing in a long time. This generation is addicted to it, because there is little restraint on wickedness or wicked men. Tabloids, newspapers, news programs, and news websites all race to discover whatever secrets they can find about anyone and spread them as far as possible. It is a journalistic objective to make money from the salacious lusts of a hateful and wicked generation.

Every man has secrets – private matters – such as sins, faults, failures, losses, a firing, a criminal record, a bankruptcy, his salary, a divorce, a disease, or even a birthmark. They are his secrets, and no one else needs to know them or should know them. To tell even one person that does not absolutely need to know for God-given reasons is talebearing (Pr 11:13; 20:19). It is violent raping of another’s reputation out of envy, hatred, malice, or worse. It is your duty before God to protect anyone’s secrets as if they were your own.

Where does the vicious and vile desire come from to spread secrets about another person? It comes from pride, the devil’s sin, to exalt yourself at the expense of another. If you can make him look bad enough, then you might appear virtuous to fools or talebearers like yourself. It also comes from hatred, which is the devil’s work in the first family, when he moved Cain to kill his brother Abel, simply because Abel was the better man.

Telling secrets about another person deeply wounds his heart and soul, which is intended by “belly” (Pr 20:27). There are truly two wounded – the one having his reputation hurt by the report and the listener having his opinions sinfully altered (Pr 16:28; 26:20). God will severely punish these verbal murderers (Pr 26:20-26; Ps 55:21-23). Since Christians should not include such men (Ps 15:3), tattlers are obviously going to hell (Rev 21:8,27).

The wound of talebearing is quite irreparable, so it is like murder in another way. Once you spread a secret to others, your apology to the person you hurt does not bring back your words or repair the damage done. If you apologize to the person you told, and they forgive you, they still have information in their mind that should not be there. You have murdered a reputation.

Reader, you have two duties. First, you must avoid and reject talebearing yourself. How? Regard the reputations of others with Christian charity and love, and protect them with holy zeal. Carefully say only good things about others, especially when they are not present. God will see your efforts to protect and build others up, and He will bless you.

Second, you must reject talebearers from your friendship or church, for they are poison to the souls of men and destructive to the unity of a church (Pr 25:23; Ps 101:4-5). God hates these wicked souls that sow discord instead of unity, and you should hate them as well (Pr 6:16-19; Ps 139:21-22). Get angry about their sin and drive them far away.

Instead of being a talebearer, be a praise-bearer! Rather than spread bad things to hurt a person, spread praise to build up his reputation. Instead of being a backbiter, be a back-kisser! When others are not around, tell lots of good things about the person. Imagine the result if those that know you only said good things about you in your absence. How can you get this blessing started? Tell someone today something good about another person.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:18 As a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows.

What a wild and dangerous man! Handcuff him! Lock him up! There is a simile here, indicated by the word “as.” What kind of person resembles this crazy mad man? A man wildly throwing firebrands, arrows, and death? Anyone who deceives his neighbor and uses a jesting cover-up of his evil intentions is just like this mad man (Pr 26:19).

Imagine an insane man, like the devil-possessed Gadarene (Mark 5:1-13). He is naked, powerful, savagely wild, masochistically violent, untamed, and living among the dead. Now imagine him on your property. Imagine him in your house. In your business. Solomon created this picture of a neighbor who deceives you and lightly excuses it.

Wicked men think their actions are not very harmful. So Solomon described them in terms to get your attention and rightly classify their actions. Neighbors, due to close proximity to one another, must trust each other. They should be able to trust each other at all times. But a deceitful and ambitious neighbor is comparable to this wild enemy.

What is the lesson? Deceiving those who trust you is a horrible sin and crime. Neighbors, employers, and others trust your integrity. You live close enough to take advantage of them, so they must trust your integrity not to use that nearness against them. It is your duty as a Christian to live honestly with all men, but especially those nearest to you.

What else can you learn? Covering and excusing sin by lightly claiming it was just a joke reveals an extremely profane character. Such persons have no conscience; they laugh at sin; they do not comprehend the pain their deception causes others. You can oppose this folly by keeping a sober and serious approach to all relationships, especially neighbors.

What else can you learn? Only fools joke about sin (Pr 10:23; 14:9; 15:21). Sin is a horrible thing – it defies your Creator God, hurts your fellow man, is inconvenient for profitable relationships, and leads to eternal punishment. Only hopeless scorners and rebels laugh and jest about sin. Sin is to be avoided, hated, and repented of.

What else can you learn? God hates foolish talking and jesting. He will destroy the world for these heinous sins. He lists foolish talking and jesting with fornication, uncleanness, and covetousness, three other abominable sins (Eph 5:3-7). And he describes foolish talking and jesting as He does sodomy – both are not convenient (Eph 5:4 cp Rom 1:28).

These wicked men, like an insane man hurling fire, arrows, and death, can show up even in Jesus Christ’s churches (II Pet 2:13; Pr 6:19; Gal 5:15). Therefore, it is your solemn duty to identify them and stop them in their tracks, for such conduct is destructive to the peace and prosperity of the body. Lord, save your people from such sins and sinners!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:02 – Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an underserved curse does not come to rest.

When pain and trouble come in your life, it is not an accident or pagan Fate. The LORD blesses, and the LORD curses. And He does not curse randomly or foolishly – there is a just cause for His perfect judgment. Curses come to rest on men and their homes for good cause, just as surely as wandering birds and flying swallows end up back at their nests.

Though not obvious to you, the bird and the swallow have a purpose in their wandering flight patterns, so trouble from God falls on no man without a holy reason. Your view of life’s events and its ebb and flow is like observing the apparent random flight of birds, but their flight has purpose, and they always arrive at their appointed destinations.

If you choose a carnal life of selfish interest in this world, the Lord will curse you (Pr 3:31-35; 11:26; 21:12; 28:27; Ps 37:22). When God curses a man, a family, or a nation, it is horrible (Lev 26:14-40; Deut 11:26-29; 28:15-68; 29:14-29). He knows you and your worst fears; He knows what will make your life worse than death. Fear Him, dear reader.

Paul agreed with Solomon, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7). The way of transgressors is hard (Pr 13:15); do not think for a minute judgment will not come or your troubles are mere chance. As God cursed Adam’s ground with thorns (Gen 3:18), so He can curse your life with thorns (Pr 22:5). When He sets His face against a man, great evil is coming (Lev 20:5; Jer 21:10).

Regathered Israel neglected God’s worship, so He threatened and cursed them (Hag 1:5-11; Mal 1:14; 2:2; 3:9; 4:6). He warned them of a curse that would consume the stones and timbers of their homes (Zech 5:1-4). He can tear your foundation down, reader! Beware lest He curse you for trusting in the flesh and departing from Him (Jer 17:5).

In the day of adversity, consider well (Ec 7:14). Your troubles are not an accident or a random event; they were prepared and sent by the most High. To warn of His curses, Israel had a public assembly to list them in responsive reading (Deut 27:11-26). And 42 children should have considered before they mocked Elisha (II Kings 2:23-25). It is an ignorant man who does not know that the LORD purposes good and evil (Lam 3:37-38).

The LORD’s greatest curse is for your sins, and it brings a certain eternity in the Lake of Fire (Matt 25:41). But the Son of God was made a curse for the elect (Gal 3:13), so they will be free from all curses in heaven for eternity (Re 22:13)! Hallelujah! And those who do not love Him should be appropriately cursed – Anathema Maranatha (I Cor 16:22)!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.

A disgusting trait of dogs is to eat their vomit. When their belly must reject offending matter, they return and eat it again. It is a shame we do not have the same sickening horror for sin that we do for this picture of a dog vomiting his filth and eating it.

Peter declared this to be a true proverb (II Pet 2:20-22). He used it to condemn those who forsake their conversion and return to the vomit of this world. To escape the pollutions of this world and then return to be entangled and overcome in them again puts a man in a worse condition than before conversion.

A bad heart attack will get a man’s attention. A couple days after bypass surgery, he wants the intimate details of super nutrition and the best exercise program. He makes resolutions, plans his schedule, and orders a year’s worth of pita bread and lettuce and two treadmills. But after three months of no angina, he is again a couch potato inhaling pounds of cheese nachos and candy! Did he forget the crushing pain of his heart attack? Or does he crave the poison that almost killed him? Or both?

Consider a drunkard (23:29-35). He has woe, sorrow, contentions, babbling, and wounds from his binges. He loses his job, his driving license, his wife, his children, and his reputation. He gets sick and feels as if he spent the night lying on the top of a ship’s mast! Yet he says, “When shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” Fool! Dog!

What filth have we vomited up and cast away by the grace of God and the conviction of His Spirit? What folly have we rejected? We will be tempted to return to it. Which vomit tempts us? Complaining? Pornography? Ungodly music? Drunkenness? Lustful fantasies? Gluttony? Television? Bitterness? Fornication? Disobedience to parents? Marital defrauding? An unscriptural church? Lack of submission? Backbiting?

There can be no partial turning from sin. It never works! It never will work! You can still smell the vomit, and you will turn to it again. We must flee from our temptations and sins with all our might and speed! We must eliminate the sources of the temptation! We must completely satisfy your appetite with spiritual things, so we have no hunger for vomit. There are no shortcuts. If we hang around the filth, you will take it up again.

If a dog had a conscience, it would be ashamed of its vile nature. But what of human sinners! Our return to defiling sin is worse! Where is their shame? We will soon have everlasting shame and contempt, unless saved by the Lord Jesus Christ (Dan 12:2).

Only by the grace of God and the gift of repentance can a man be saved from his folly and the snare of Satan (II Tim 2:25-26). If you have the least degree of conviction about any sin at this moment, repent immediately and take drastic measures to rid your life of that folly. Flee to Jesus Christ. Perhaps the grace of God will save you today.

Let us say with the psalmist, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly” (Ps 85:8). Let us hear the warning of our Savior, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee” (John 5:14).




Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 26:17- Like one who seizes a dog by the ears is a passer-by who meddles in a quarrel not his own.

Seizing the ears of a stray dog is a good way to get bitten, and interfering in arguments is a good way to get hurt.  Many times both arguers will turn on the person who interferes.  It is best simply to keep out of arguments that are none or your business.  If you must become involved, try to wait until the arguers have stopped fighting and cooled off a bit. Then maybe you can help them mend their differences and their relationship.

Even a friendly dog will bite, if you grab and pull its ears! And here is the busybody, stopping to get involved in the strife of others, who will soon be bitten by both parties! The Preacher taught you the wisdom of not getting involved in the conflicts of others.

Peacemakers are wonderful (Matt 5:9). But the greatest work of making peace involves your own fighting. If you have offended another, you are to make peace with him (Matt 5:23-26). If another has offended you, you are to make peace with him (Matt 18:15-22).

By great care, and only after wise reflection, should you get involved in others’ conflicts and try to make peace for them. For even your own strife, which you know well, is to be resolved with caution, let alone that of which you are ignorant (Pr 25:8). After wise thought, make sure your words are good ones spoken in due season (Pr 15:23; 16:20).

Spiritual and wise men should try to help others with their conflicts and problems (Rom 15:1-3; Gal 6:1-3), which includes fighting and strife. You are your brothers’ keepers in such things (Lev 19:17; I Thess 5:14). And those in authority, as parents and pastors, have the honorable right and obligation to search out matters (Pr 25:2).

But some people are busybodies. They love to be busy in other men’s matters (I Peter 4:15). This is a sin, and it is to be strictly avoided by wise men and women. Consider Peter’s strong warning by association, which compares murderers, thieves, and evildoers!

Meddlers love to get involved in disputes between others. They love digging up evil between others and spreading it. It makes them feel important to be involved in others’ problems, though they are always the worst at solving their own problems. They love the inside information of private controversies. It gives them a perverse sense of worth.

Some at Thessalonica were so eager for this sin they even stopped working. Paul wrote, “For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (II Thess 3:11-12). He had written in the first epistle, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you” (I Thess 4:11).

Women have a great temptation to be meddlers, or busybodies, in strife not belonging to them. So Paul recommended marriage and children for young widows, to keep them from idleness and the temptation of such folly (I Tim 5:12-15). A busy woman who is conscientious about her duties will not have time or interest in such dangerous things. Idleness is a curse on any people, as it was in Sodom of old (Ezek 16:49). The true adage declares, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Stay busy, and do not meddle.

The Lord Jesus Christ was perfectly virtuous in this matter. “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you” (Luke 12:13-14)? Dear reader, follow this holy example of Jesus today. The difference is very great between suffering as a busybody and suffering as a Christian (I Pet 4:14-16).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and flattering mouth works ruin

Good words do not prove good intentions. Liars and flatterers are out to destroy you, no matter how good their words sound, no matter their excuses (Pr 26:24-25). A wise man rejects both kinds of men, just as David did (Ps 101:3-8). If you tolerate these deceitful people in your life, they will take you down (Pr 20:19; 29:5). They are hiding hatred and destruction behind their lying words, and noble and prudent men will stay far from them.

A man lies for advantage or to protect himself. He is selfish and wicked, so he feels no guilt about deceiving you in order to advance himself. It does not matter what his relationship is to you or how kindly he speaks at other times. If he has lied to you, then you should run far from him, whether it is a slander about you or a lie to your face. His deceit proves that he hates you. He is out to hurt you or use you. True friends never lie.

Flattery is praise designed to deceive you into doing what the flatterer wants you to do. It is a form of lying, but it is harder to detect and resist. Men love praise, so they are easily lulled to sleep by flattery. It is poison in a spoonful of honey. A flatterer is more dangerous than a slanderer, for he is crafty, friendly, and subtle in working his deceit, while liars are more easily detected by their open malice and wickedness.

Are you vigilant and intolerant against deceivers? Aggressive salesmen may lie or flatter to sell an inferior product. Many girls have lost their virginity or women their marital fidelity to lying flattery of whoremongers (II Sam 13:1-13). Many men have been led to hell by flattering lies of whorish women (Pr 2:16-18; 5:3; 6:24-26; 7:5,21-23). Many citizens have voted for corrupt politicians due to flattery and false promises, for the election process in most nations is based on words rather than character or performance.

Parent, you must punish lying and flattery, and you must teach children to reject liars and flatterers (Job 32:21-22). Teach them that God hates liars, He will judge them, and liars are going to hell (Pr 6:16-19; Job 17:5; Ps 12:2-3; Rev 21:8). Teach them that friends who tell the truth even when it hurts are better than kisses from an enemy (Pr 27:5-6). Teach them that men should be judged by their actions and lives, not words (Pr 20:11).

Religion has many lies and flattery, for the devil has used it since Eden (Gen 3:1-13; John 8:44). The Jews flattered and lied to Jesus to trap him (Luke 20:20-21). False teachers use good words and fair speeches to deceive simple hearers (Rom 16:17-18). Rome tells the lies of abstaining from meat and marriage (I Tim 4:1-3). But God’s faithful pastors and teachers never use flattering speech or lies (II Cor 2:17; 4:2; I Thess 2:3-6).

Jehovah is God of truth, and so is His Son Jesus Christ, Who is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). He expects honesty and truthfulness from His children, and He punishes all liars and flatterers. All who take His name must make sure their every word is honest, sincere, and true – and obviously so in the ears of all others (Deut 32:4; Rom 12:17; I Pet 2:12).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 

Is anyone worse than a fool? Yes, a proud person who thinks he is right! A fool is stupid, but he may be able to learn a few simple things. There is little hope for a scornful man, one too proud to be corrected. How will you help him? He is convinced he has no faults.

Self-confidence and self-righteousness are damning. They lock a person into the conceit of their own deceived heart and mind, for they cannot imagine that their ideas and thoughts could be wrong. They arrogantly ignore and reject advice, no matter how worthy of their consideration. Safety from such folly is by humbly mistrusting yourself.

The fool has only one hindrance to wisdom – ignorance. The conceited fool has two – ignorance and self-delusion. He must first learn he knows nothing, which is the hardest lesson in the school of wisdom, and it is usually only learned by severe punishment. The more confident a man is in error, the more ignorant and dangerous his condition.

The LORD wants you to consider such people. You may learn by watching these proud and haughty wretches. They assume they are already wise, and therefore they never will be. They do not even know what wisdom is, let alone the spirit and means to obtain it.

Conceit is a high and haughty opinion of yourself and your abilities. It is pride and arrogance. It is the New Testament sin of being highminded (II Tim 3:4). It is the curse of the devil (I Tim 3:6), who thought so highly of himself he chose to compete with God.

In this proverb, conceit is of your own thoughts. Once you believe you are a great thinker and usually right, who will persuade you otherwise? You go to bed and rise with the same thought – your opinions are better than anyone else’s. You are hopelessly deceived.

The cure is to humbly admit you now know little more than you did as an infant and you are totally dependent on God and His word to learn anything of value at all. The lesson of wisdom in this proverb is to identify haughty scorners and avoid them. They are beyond hope, so do not waste your time trying to teach them. Get away from them (Pr 22:10).

The only absolute truth in the world is the Bible, but conceited persons cannot give ground even to it. They have convinced themselves the Bible is foolish, hopelessly outdated, or written by religious fanatics. If they say they believe it, they will argue that everyone else misinterprets it: only they truly understand the mind of God. They so love their own thoughts they will not accept correction from God or His ambassadors!

Consider how educators, the media, and entertainers all fulfill this proverb for you to see. Their bloated conceit from learning, power to influence public opinion, and social status cause them to despise and reject truth. So God has blinded them to even basic wisdom, as their dysfunctional lives prove to wise observers (I Cor 1:19-20; 3:18-20).

They hallucinate in their proud minds that men came from monkeys, which came from amoebas, which came from an accidental explosion of cosmic gases. What wisdom! What glory! What an accomplishment! The God of heaven ridicules their thinking as “profane and vain babblings” and “science falsely so called” (I Tim 6:20). They make science their conceit, and conceit their science. They are fools without any hope.

But the Most High God is not amused by their arrogant stupidity. He laughs at their ignorance and coming judgment, but He is not amused by their rejection of the truth He offers (Ps 2:4-5; 37:13; Pr 1:24-27). He darkens their hearts and removes even common sense to commit abominable acts with each that he considers appropriate for their deeds.

He sends them down below brute beasts to sexually defile each other (Rom 1:18-27). Good men will agree with Paul that their base sexual perversion is a fitting reward. Are they ashamed? No way! They glorify it, promote it, and protect it (Pr 5:23; 26:11; Ps 49:13).  They cannot grasp that they have been found out and cursed by their Creator.

The first lesson of this proverb is to identify such people. When you meet fools, you rebuke their folly in order to keep them from conceit (Pr 26:5). But when you realize they are the haughty scorners of this proverb, you should leave them to their wicked fantasies (Pr 26:4; 9:7-8). Further attention, honor, or debate is unproductive and dangerous (Matt 7:6). Let the blind lead the blind into the ditch, as Jesus would say (Matt 15:14).

Children must be taught early that they know nothing and teenagers know less. Do not worry about their self-esteem, for at birth they were all given a double portion of it from hell (II Tim 3:2). They came into this world messing on themselves, and they have not advanced much beyond that before they reach thirty. Teach them that a humble attitude of ignorance is necessary for true learning and wisdom. Knowledge is just around the corner for the man who admits he knows nothing. Such a man can be taught, and quickly!

Children must be taught that only the Bible has absolute truth and wisdom, and only parents and older godly persons have wisdom worth hearing. They must be taught that the rock and movie stars, athletes, and pseudo-intellectuals of today are worse than idiots, for idiots do not have a rebellious agenda of hatred for God, authority, and righteousness.

The second lesson of the proverb is to avoid being such a scorner yourself. Paul warned, “Be not wise in your own conceits” (Rom 12:16). You should follow Solomon, who told the Lord, “I am but a little child, I know not how to go out or come in” (I Kgs 3:7). You should be like David, who said, “LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me” (Ps 131:1).

Dear reader, crave such humility and a low opinion of your own thoughts. It will save you from much trouble. Tremble before the Word of God with a poor, humble, and contrite spirit (Is 57:15; 66:2; Jas 4:10). Do not trust yourself or your thoughts. Suspect your every motive. Question your every opinion. Subject your every idea to Holy Scripture. Hate vain thoughts, especially if they are your own (Ps 119:13; Jer 17:9).

He that thinks he knows something does not know it yet as he should (I Cor 8:2). If you want to be wise, you must start as a fool (I Cor 3:18). A little knowledge is dangerous, for it puffs up the human mind (I Cor 8:1). True knowledge is recognizing and admitting that you know nothing at all. With such a premise, wisdom can and will be easily obtained.

The temptation is great to violate this proverb, for “every way of a man is right in his own eyes” (Pr 21:2; 16:2, 25). The only safety is to allow the infallible Word of God to arrest and condemn your foolish thoughts (Ps 119:128; Is 8:20). How do you know, vain man, that you do not hold a lie in your right hand (Is 44:20)? Turn the searchlight of God’s inspired Scriptures upon your ideas and learn to categorically reject any folly.

Then you must esteem the safety provided in a multitude of good counselors (Pr 11:14; 15:22; 24:6), but the scorner will not be moved even by seven good men giving solid reasons (Pr 26:16). No matter what reasons you give, he will invent all sorts of excuses to justify himself. This is a terrible evil for you to avoid and to avoid all infected by it.

A man hasty in speech is also worse than a fool (Pr 29:20), for his only desire is to belch and bark his ignorance (Pr 15:28). He would rather hear himself talk than learn anything from anyone. Rich men also tend to be wise in their own conceit (Pr 28:11), because they have achieved some measure of success, can buy themselves out of most trouble, and find themselves above the poor in most stations of life. Watch both of these men, and learn.

Now, dear reader, you must consider spiritual folly. Jesus severely rebuked the church at Laodicea for its haughty opinion of itself, and He warned them how much they needed Him and the danger of imminent judgment (Rev 3:17-22). You should carefully heed what the Spirit said to this church and throw off any ideas of spiritual self-sufficiency.

The glorious God of heaven considers self-righteousness smoke in His nose! What is self-righteousness? It is saying, “Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou” (Is 65:5). It is the older brother resenting a celebration for the prodigal’s return (Luke 15:25-32). It is any thought you are not the chief of sinners (I Tim 1:15).

Jesus Christ ridiculed the arrogant Pharisee who prayed conceitedly in self-righteousness about his superiority to the publican (Luke 18:9-14). He rebuked haughty religious pretenders by announcing that harlots went into the kingdom of heaven before them (Matt 21:31). Dear reader, there is nothing more dangerous to the salvation of your soul than conceited self-righteousness. Hate it with a fervent and perfect hatred. Get down!

He who comes to Jesus helpless, naked, and poor will be received into everlasting pleasure above. Those who boast about their good deeds will be cast out! You should say humbly and sincerely with the songwriter, “Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” Jesus said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (Jn 6:37).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:7 – Like a lame man’s legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.

A cripple trying to walk, run, or dance is a horrible sight! His legs do not function as a coordinated pair. Being not equal in length, strength, or coordination, his movements are absurd, contradictory, ridiculous, and unprofitable. The lame should not try to dance!

In the same way, a fool using parables or proverbs to teach wisdom is absurd, contradictory, ridiculous, and unprofitable. King Solomon by this proverb teaches another indictment of fools (Pr 26:1-12). Fools should not try to be teachers.

Parables and proverbs are the dark sayings of the wise (Pr 1:5-6; Ps 78:2). They are the carefully designed means of teaching wisdom in few words, with striking force. Taken from every day life, they have a figurative meaning requiring skill and understanding to interpret and explain. Formed with interesting similes and metaphors for appeal and challenge, they are too much for a fool, who is a man without understanding or wisdom.

Fools should be taught; they should not teach. Fools should listen; they should not talk. Therefore, they should not have the honor of a public forum for their babblings (Pr 26:1,8). And they should be ignored or shut up by wise rebukes (Pr 26:4-5). This is God’s rule for dealing with fools, and you should consistently obey it (II Tim 2:16,23; Tit 3:9).

Their lack of common sense and/or spiritual understanding denies them any right to take the deep things of God’s word into their mouths. Their sinful living habits and profane treatment of religious matters preclude them from touching His holy things. They would do much better and be perceived more kindly, if they kept their mouths shut (Pr 17:28)!

But it is impossible for fools to shut up and listen and learn – they must be babbling in their ignorance – for that is one of the chief marks of a fool (Pr 15:2; Eccl 5:3; 10:3,12-14). Identifying fools is easy: all you have to do is listen for the one talking the most. So fools in both the pulpit and pew vainly take up the Word of God and try to teach wisdom.

A fool thinks the sound and sense of words are equal – they need no interpretation – so the cripple stumbles into confusion and heresy. Sound bites are good enough for a fool. Why worry about context or the spiritual intent of words, he argues: the Bible means what it says, and says what it means. He does not know or understand the minister’s work of reading distinctly and giving the sense of a reading (Neh 8:8; Eccl 8:1; II Pet 1:20).

A fool thinks reading and study are the same – he assumes thinking and studying are the same – so the cripple falls without due preparation. Anyone should be able to give their opinion, he argues: we are all God’s children and have the Spirit to expound and teach the truth. He has neither the God-given aptitude for the work, nor invests the sweat to save him from doctrinal shame (Pr 15:28; I Tim 3:2; 4:13-15; II Tim 2:15; Tit 1:9).

A fool opens his mouth wide and belches about doctrine and principle – but his life never matches the Scriptures he uses – so the cripple stumbles and falls into the gutter of hypocrisy. He fools some by his loud profession of faith and wisdom, but the Lord Jesus Christ will expose his nakedness in the Day of Judgment (Matt 7:21-23). He fails one of the chief duties of a teacher – to be an example of the truth (I Tim 4:12,16; Tit 2:7).

Is this proverb literally true? Until you have heard a spiritualizing fool with the Song of Solomon or the parable of the Good Samaritan, you cannot appreciate just how ridiculous a dancing cripple can be! Until you hear a fund-raising fool abuse and twist the words of Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” you cannot fully grasp the danger and folly of a cripple on a balance beam! This proverb is indeed literally true.

Reader, what lessons can you learn here? Be swift to hear and slow to speak (Jas 1:19). Do not be eager to be a teacher, for they shall receive the greater condemnation (Jas 3:1). Silence is golden, especially if God or men have not called you to be a teacher (Heb 5:4). Make sure your life teaches louder than your words (Matt 23:14-15). Be thankful for God-called teachers and submit to them, for this is God’s means for your learning.

The Lord Jesus was no cripple. His legs were equal and very strong. He was perfectly fit as the greatest teacher of wisdom in the history of the world. His prudent use and interpretation of parables and proverbs was exceptional. He was greater than Solomon. His skill and power in teaching caused men to tremble in amazement and avoid questions (Matt 7:28-29; 22:46; Luke 4:22; John 7:46). Give Him the glory due unto His name.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 26:26 His malice may be conceal by deception, but his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.

Hateful people lie to cover their wickedness (Pr 26:24-26). But God promised to expose them. It is terrible there are such people, but it is worse that they get into churches.

Wicked men get into most churches. It is a terrible evil, but it happens. Though filled with arrogance, hatred, and selfishness, they creep into churches with false professions of religion. Even the world knows this fact, for many reject Christianity for its hypocrisy. But though such sinners cover their hatred by lies, their evil souls will be fully exposed.

What a great God! What a helpful proverb! God teaches you how to discern liars, and He promises to take care of them for you. Bible wisdom can help you perceive a person with hateful and wicked motives, and faith in God can comfort you that He will fully expose the lying monster. Faith and learning have their rewards. Love such truth and wisdom!

This proverb has a rare context to help its interpretation. Solomon had been describing the dangerous evil of talebearers (Pr 26:20-23). These wicked persons love to spread harmful facts, rumors, tales, and insinuations about others. They hurt others deeply, and they cause contention and strife among the members of any group. They do not know the way of peace themselves, and they also keep others from finding full peace and security.

They play the hypocrite with their mouths by claiming to be Christians, while their hearts plan games of pretence and revenge (Pr 26:24). Wise men do not believe their fair words, for they know many evil imaginations are in their hearts (Pr 26:25). Wisdom is the power of right judgment, the ability to discern and know things that deceive most other people.

What identifies these wicked imposters? They speak derogatorily about others and spread harmful facts or slanderous innuendos (Pr 26:20-25). Just listen to their speech about others, and you can discover them. They can hardly stop criticizing and sowing discord by negative information. They are backbiters, slanderers, talebearers, and whisperers.

When a person hates others, the Bible says it proves him a child of the devil (Jn 8:44; I Jn 2:9,11; 3:10,15; 4:8,20). When you detect the critical, hateful, and snide spirit of some toward others, you have likely found a child of the devil. Is this judgment too harsh? Remember Jesus and “the apostle of love” provided the cross-references! God is love, and those truly the children of God will show God is in them by their love (I Jn 4:7-16).

Though these haters lie and pretend to be loving Christians, God will expose them to save His true saints. David begged God to save his kingdom from such strange children – hypocrites that use vain speech and false handshakes to pretend love and piety (Ps 144:7-11). There are great benefits for a church to get rid of such false persons (Ps 144:12-15)!

Paul told the Corinthian church that God would send heresies into His churches to discover these lying frauds and confirm the identity of His true children (I Cor 11:19). So while heresies are a painful matter to deal with in a church, they are often used to expose the lying hypocrites that cause dissension and strife. The end result is well worth the pain.

God’s distillation process is precious. Distillation is a method used to separate a mixture into its component parts, where the desired component will be at a much higher strength than diluted in the mixture. The God of heaven is constantly at work distilling His faithful churches by removing the impure elements to refine and improve the remainder.

Absalom was Solomon’s brother and David’s son. He lied to Israel about how much he cared for them to steal the throne (II Sa 15:1-6). But God exposed his hatred and left him hanging by his hair in a tree for Joab’s darts (II Sa 18:9-15)! Judas conspired in hatred with the Jews against Jesus, and the other apostles had no idea (John 13:21-30). But God exposed his hatred and dashed his bowels over a field (Matt 27:1-10; Acts 1:18-20)!

How can you help your church? Never speak negatively about anyone, unless absolutely necessary for those in authority or for scriptural duty! If you cannot say something kind or commending, do not say anything. Make it your goal to promote the reputations of all men, even your personal enemies. This is true Christianity (Matt 5:43-48; Phil 2:1-4).

How can you help your church? If you hear someone criticizing, backbiting, gossiping, or slandering others, stop them by an angry face or warning rebuke (Pr 25:23; Ps 101:5; I Thess 5:14). God hates this sin, and so should you (Pr 6:16-19). A wife may do this even to a foolish husband, if she is discrete and respectful like Abigail (I Sam 25:3,19,36-37).

Jesus Christ is the Head of His churches, and He constantly walks among them, visible to the eye of faith (Rev 3:1). He exposed the lie of Ananias and his wife Sapphira in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 5:1-11). He cut down many selfish and profane souls in the church at Corinth (I Cor 11:30). He promised death to Jezebel and her followers in the church at Thyatira (Rev 2:20-23), and He comforted and exhorted the rest (Rev 2:24-27).

This God you can trust no matter what. Hateful liars claiming to love God and be your friends can be frightening and worrisome. But He has promised to take care of them by exposing them, and He has promised to take care of you by protecting you. He has sent His glorious Son, the King of heaven, to guard and protect you and every true church. Have you committed your life and church entirely to Him? You will never regret it.