Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool. Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! 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. Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly. Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own. Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them. A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. Vs 1-28
It can be difficult not to get sucked into the nonsense of a fool. Their words sound innocent and caring, but deceit lingers. When the deceit of a fool is discovered its tempting to throw their folly right back at them. We must hold back, walk away, or we will be just as foolish as they are.
This chapter is all about the foolish, lazy and malicious. It warns us how ridiculous it is to associate with a fool. It’s like cutting off our own leg or trying to hold a thorn bush in our hand. The fool doesn’t understand his wicked ways are bad. He thinks he’s doing good. This is why the fool continues in his wicked ways.
The wise that boast of their wisdom are more foolish than the fool who doesn’t know any better.
We are to be conscious of the lazy. They are convincing with their words. They offer false praise to gain the trust of others. They are to lazy to work for what they desire so they are always on the prowl. They are looking for someone to do their work for them. The malicious are in disguise. They carefully selects charming words to entice those around them. Their heart is hard and cannot see past their own personal needs.
When I first read this chapter I felt scared and paranoid. There are so many scary people out there that want to use my family, friends and I for their gain. How do I help protect us? How do we stay away from the foolish, lazy and malicious? Then it hit me…God! God will protect those who choose to seek Him and the wisdom He offers us. The wisdom we receive from God will equip us to see the foolish, lazy and malicious. It will enable us to stay clear of them or get away from them when approached by their wicked ways. God also surrounds us with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who will help us in times of need.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who help, inspire and encourage when needed. I pray for an opportunity to help, inspire and encourage another, Amen.