Tag Archives: Proverbs

Hope for the Humble

I was reading my Proverb of the day (Proverbs 26) and I must admit that this is probably my favorite of all Proverb chapters.  But I noticed something this morning that I had never noticed before.  If you were to look at this chapter you’d find the first 11 verses are dealing harshly with foolish people.  Here’s some examples of what is being said:

Honor is not fitting for a fool anymore than snow is fitting for summer,

Rods were invented for smacking fools on the back,

Fools should be ignored, unless it causes them to look wise in their own eyes,

Sending a message by way of a fool is like cutting your legs out from under you,

and it goes on and on.  But then, we see a verse that shifts the focus from the fool.  Verse 12, still dealing with fools, takes the focus from the fool and puts it on the wise.  Read this verses closely: “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than him,” (ESV). This is the culmination of all the previous verses.  All those previous proverbs written were setting us up for this one verse.  This is the proverbial equivalent of Nathan’s story to David.  Do you remember that story?

And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms,and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! 

The whole story was to get David to see his sin of taking Uzziah’s wife to his own bed.  The whole point of verses 1-11 in Proverbs 26, is to get us to see that as bad as being a fool is, it is worse to be haughty and prideful.  Looking at the first 11 verses, one must come to the conclusion that there is no hope for a fool. But when verse 12 comes, having concluded there is no hope for a fool, we find there is more hope for him than there is for the one wise in his own eyes. Let that sink in.

A man who sees himself to be wise, thus a haughty, prideful man has less hope of change than a fool.  There is hope in humility, but almost none in haughtiness. May we remember that God gives grace to the humble, but resists the proud (cf. James 4:6).

Oh Be Careful Little Mouths What You Say

When I was a kid, we used to sing this song reminding us to be careful with our eyes, ears, mouths, and hands.
Oh be careful little eyes what you see.
Oh be careful little eyes what you see.
For the Father above is looking down with love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.

Of course, you’d substitute eyes/see with ears/hear, mouths/say, and hands/do.  I always wondered how one could be careful what they hear.  I can’t control what other people say to me or around me.  That being said, I want to focus this morning on the mouth.

While God’s presence is a good enough reason to be careful with what comes out of our mouths, we need to remember that generally speaking–when we speak–we are speaking to others, about others, or around others.  There are real people hearing our words.  Like that child singing the song, they cannot control what comes out of our mouths or what they are forced to hear.  However, we can control what comes out, and we must.

I was convicted earlier this morning by a verse I read out of Proverbs 12:

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing, (v. 18, ESV).

Rash words wound.  Thoughtless, quickly spoken words are like sword thrusts.  They maim, they scar, and they kill.  Whether intentional or not, it happens.

My favorite scene in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is when Tybalt and Mercutio are having a battle of whits and swords.  Romeo seeks to break up the two when Tybalt reaches under him and stabs Mercutio.  It was manslaughter, not murder.  It was unintentional, but the wound occurred nonetheless.  Mercutio, like “a manly man,” tried to play it off.

Benvolio asked if he was hurt, and he replied that he was, but it was just a scratch.  Yet then he called his page to go get a doctor.  Romeo, befuddled, tells him it can’t be that bad.  And here are my favorite lines in the entire play:

No, ’tis not so deep as a well
nor so wide as a church-door,
but ’tis enough, ’twill serve.
Ask for me tomorrow,
and you shall find me a grave man.
I am peppered, I warrant, for this world.
A plague o’ both your houses!

Did it cut as deep as well? No.  Did it slice him the width of a church-door? Not even close.  But the wound was deep enough to kill.  If one were to seek him out tomorrow, he’d find him in his grave. His life is over. May the Montagues and the Capulets be plagued for their stupid feud.

Tybalt was not intending for his sword thrust to kill, but that is what happened.  We often do not intend to wound with our words, but they cut to the quick, to the bone, to the very soul of a person. Oh be careful little mouths what you say.

As I said, I was convicted by this Proverb earlier this morning and had to immediately send a text out to some gentlemen to whom I believe I spoke rashly.  I had to apologize and ask for forgiveness.  Is there anyone in your life that you can think of to whom you spoke rashly and wounded?  Is it time to do the wise thing, and use the tongue to bring healing instead of wounding?