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SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 26:4-7

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SIH TOTT ICONHe layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

 

Enemies Of The Lord: The Fool 2: Proverbs 26:4-7

4) Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
5) Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
6) He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, [and] drinketh damage.
7) The legs of the lame are not equal: so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools.

 

In this chapter, Solomon describes for us three of the greatest enemies of the Lord:
1.  The Fool (vs 1-12), One who does not apply the Word of God to their life.
2.  The Lazy (vs 13-16), One who is not diligent and industrious in their responsibilities
3.  The Cruel (vs 17-28), One who is angry, malicious and out of control

 

EXPOSITION:

In this devotion, Solomon continues looking at the fool. This study of the fool will continue in our following devotions (through vs 12).

 

One of the great “contradictory passages” of the Bible is found in the next two verses.
Please notice these verses, when taken in context, are not at all contradictory.  When viewed together, they actually enhance the individual meaning of each verse.

 

4) Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
First, we are told how NOT to respond to the fool (those who refuse to apply God’s Word to their lives) …
1.  Do not respond to a fool with the same silliness that characterizes his speech…
2.  if we do, we are putting ourselves on his level, making the Word insignificant and not applying it to our lives.

The fool’s attitude of God’s Word can be described as looking upon it as trivial and unimportant, rejecting its application to their life and, in many cases, actually making mockery of it.

An example of answering according to his folly would be to take his objections to the Word lightly, answering him in jest, and joining in his attitude of mockery of it.  Instead, we should seriously seek the Lord’s guidance to show to the fool, through our speech and actions, the importance of the Word of God.

Finally, [be ye] all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, [be] pitiful, [be] courteous:  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.”  (1 Peter 3:8-11)

 

5) Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
Solomon now addresses how we are to answer the fool….
1.  Respond to the fool, taking into account his attitude of mockery towards the Word of God,
2.  or else he will deceptively be made to look intelligent and understanding.

When we take into account the fool’s attitude towards the Word, it will help us to understand the proper response, or lack of response, that is needed:

1.  At times, it is better to not respond to the ramblings of a fool…
a.  when a fool is hardened in his ways, no response will change the course of his life.
b.  or when he speaks, his foolishness is made evident and those watching him realize they need to avoid his ways.

2.  At other times, it is better to respond to the fool when….
a.  the fool, through God’s grace, is given a teachable spirit which is demonstrated by a willingness to take our words seriously.
b. when he is misleading those around him, influencing their life to follow in his ways.  It is best for the sake of those around to publically reveal the error of his ways.

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”   (Matthew 7:6)

And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?  And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.  The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?  But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.  And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.”   (Matthew 21:23-27)

Here we find, based upon the way we understand the phrase “answer (not) a fool according to his folly”, both of these verses can hold non-contradictory meanings.

6) He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, [and] drinketh damage.
The unfaithfulness of a fool is now brought into view…
1.  Those who dispatch a message by use of a fool….
2.  is much like sending a message via a messenger who have no feet
3.  is much like one who purposely harms himself by drinking a harmful liquid.

Trusting a fool to fulfill any important responsibility is like choosing to bring failure to your purpose and damage to yourself.  The fool, based upon his attitude of God’s Word, will not be dependable, honest, or submissive to your authority.  Giving this type of individual an important responsibility is a sure recipe for disaster.

His lord answered and said unto him, [Thou] wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:  Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and [then] at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.  Take therefore the talent from him, and give [it] unto him which hath ten talents.  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.  And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”   (Matthew 25:26-30)

 

 

7) The legs of the lame are not equal: so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools.
The teachings and philosophy of a fool are now examined…
1.  The legs of one whose walk is hindered are weak
2.  Likewise the wise sayings of a fool

The teaching of fools is weak and powerless, although they believe they are speaking words of great wisdom.  Another great mark of the fool is pride that is manifested by the inability to recognize the true nature of their teachings and actions.

[As] a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so [is] a parable in the mouth of fools.”   (Proverbs 26:9)

 

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!  Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!”   (Isaiah 5:20-21)

SUMMARY:

So far in our study of the fool, we have seen that the fool can be characterized by:
1.  Not deserving respect or admiration
2.  A desire for harm to come upon the people of the Lord
3.  Purposely choosing to not apply the teachings of the Lord and, therefore the Lord must discipline them for a change to take place.
4. The fool’s attitude of His Word can be described as looking upon it as trivial and unimportant, rejecting its application to their life and, in many cases, actually making mockery of it.
5. A fool is hardened in his ways and no response will change the course of his life.
6. Thru the Lord’s intervention, if the fool has a teachable spirit it will be demonstrated by a willingness to listen.
7. The fool, based upon his attitude of God’s Word, will not be dependable, honest, or submissive to your authority.
8.  A great mark of the fool is pride that is manifested by the inability to recognize the true nature of their teachings and actions.

May we all possess Godly wisdom and live our lives for Him.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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14 Comments

  1. Terry says:

    thanks for a great message

  2. gwennonr says:

    I had always been confused by these verses before. You have brought some helpful clarity. Thank you!

    • Rob Barkman says:

      The Word, when read at simply a surface level can be very difficult and seemingly filled with contradictions. However, the Lord is so good to us, He makes sure that we can come to a deeper understanding of His Word through the Spirit within us and Godly teaching from others. Speaking for myself, I do not know what I would do without the Godly teachers who have instructed me throughout my lifetime. Lord bless you my friend. Thanks for your kind words.

  3. Ron, I have always wanted a good explanation of proverbs 26:4,5. Yours helped me understand these 2 verses better than anyone I’ve ever heard. Thanks!

  4. SLIMJIM says:

    Tonight this really speak to me in light of some Pastoral issues I’m dealing with. Thank you Rob.

  5. Thank you Rob. There was much in this for me today, dealing with an unbelieving person in my life who is wreaking some havoc. God bless you. I am thankful for your faithful, sensible teaching!

    • Rob Barkman says:

      I am so thankful for the Lord giving us these instructions. We can rely on Him to never lead us astray when we are faced with the trials of life that we face. My prayers continue to be with you Sherry. From experience as Pastor and within my extended family I know that these times can be VERY TRYING for the Christian. May He continue to bless you, keep you and your family safe and give you peace in the midst of this storm.

  6. Great words of wisdom in regards to our dealings with fools – and sadly there are many fools – people foolishly choosing to believe the devil’s lies. May we always shown them the love, mercy and grace of our Redeemer.

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