Scripture

vs 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.
vs 7 like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
vs 10 Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.
vs 11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.

vs 14 As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed.
vs 16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.

vs 20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
vs 21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

Observation

Solomon has many harsh words for the “fool” in this proverb.

So many descriptors that would be horrible to be characterized by:

“useless”, “wounds everyone”, “repeated folly”, “sluggard”, and “quarrelsome”

These are descriptions of an all-around terrible person.

It’s really a hard description to embrace because we are supposed to love everyone and have grace and see everyone as created in the image of God.

These, however, are not judgments of condemnation, but judgments of discernment.

Solomon is giving an honest evaluation of what circumstances come to pass when you involve yourself with a fool.

 

Application

I see the greatest warning here in these words … “lest you be like him yourself”.

I do not have control over anyone else.

I can not make a foolish person wise. Only God can do that.

I can’t force another person to embrace wisdom.

I can’t make another person useful, or peaceful, or productive.

So what do I have control over? … Myself.

I must utilize self-control to not become the fool. … And this is a fruit of the Spirit.

I can have all the knowledge and words of wisdom, but if it stays in my head or remains only words, it’s “useless”.

Worse than useless, actually, because I will be damaging to others around me.

When I act the fool, I will be like an archer shooting arrows randomly, rather than purposefully.

I may even have a lot of “movement” or “activity” … like a “dog”, a “door”, or a “fire”.

But each of these have foolish movement that are highly damaging.

This foolishness is: Bad Habits “a dog returning to vomit”, and Laziness “a sluggard tossing in bed”, and Gossip “kindling strife”.

The Fool engages in Bad Habits, Laziness, and Gossip and many suffer for it.

I can’t change this in anyone else.

But I can avoid it in others and choose differently for myself.

 

Prayer

Thank you, God, for your Word and your warnings.

Help me to have self-control

Produce it in me, Holy Spirit

Help me to see foolishness in others and avoid it

Keep me from bad habits and laziness and gossip

May I learn from my mistakes

In Jesus name

Amen

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