Skip to main content

January 2014: Proverbs 26 by Doug

Going on into Proverbs 26, we are in that portion of the book of Proverbs that feels like a hodge-podge. There are verses about speech, fools, wine, slackers, and dozens of other subjects just tossed together. This is why some people see Proverbs as a disparate collection of sayings.






I would suggest a different viewpoint. Proverbs is written to a holistic society. There is little separation between work and worship; faith and family; discipleship and learning. All of these run together or overlap. What good would a subject segregated book of Proverbs be in that case? You would find yourself flipping between the section on fools and the section on wine—or would those go together, but slackers go elsewhere?





Instead, Solomon presents us with life as we know it: everything connects. Your work life impacts your worship of God—and vice versa. Your home life affects your business which affects your romantic life which impacts your use of alcohol. The Proverbs look like a hodge-podge partially because life is a hodge-podge. The Proverbs speak to life, life lived in worshipful fear of God.





And they’re not meant to be read only individually, but the idea is that you would systematically read the whole of them, learning and applying and rereading as you go.





With that in mind, let us pull one out for the day. Proverbs 26:1 stands forward in my mind from today’s reading. One ought not honor a fool, anymore than one hopes for snow in summer or wants rain in harvest. Now, before I lived in agricultural territory, I used to hope for snow in summer! Even though I thought it impossible, I wanted it.





Which is how I did understand that phrasing. Honor for fools was, basically, impossible. Or something that only happened far off in the mountains. It was a foreign concept.





This is not the case. This verse has nothing to do with the impossibility of honor for a fool—or nearly nothing. Remember the primary audience of Proverbs: Solomon’s sons, who would be able to honor anybody they chose.





The issue here is one of helpfulness and appropriateness. I can assure: there is no farmer who wants the cold necessary for snow while rice is sprouting or corn is tasseling. It would be a disaster. An absolute agricultural disaster.





So is the case of honoring fools. At best, it can be an inconvenience: rain in harvest starts as an inconvenience, and then can destroy a harvest because it rots in the fields. More likely, it is like snow in summer: it may seem like a good thing, but if you know what is going on, you see that destruction can be the only outcome.





Be careful who you honor. Be wary of honoring fools, whether it be with your vote, your money, or your following. Because in the end, after the refreshing blast of cold, when the barns are empty, you will see what became of it. The fool will move on, and leave the rest of us starving.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Independence Day 2017

I don’t know if Thomas Paine will be aggrieved that I paste his thoughts from Common Sense here, from the electronic edition. It’s a Public Domain work at this point, so hopefully none will be bothered that I am not paying for it...I think there is value in seeing the underlying reasons of Independence. I find a couple of things noteworthy in his introduction:First, he speaks of those who disagree and, while calling those out, holds the strength of his affirmative argument will be enough to straighten them out. We could do well to think more like that.Second, his final sentence should be a required view: the influence of reason and principle. Not self-interest masquerading as principle. Not party propaganda disguised as reason.That being said, not everything Paine said is right. If he and I lived at the same time, we’d argue religion over a great deal. However, the idea of “natural rights of man” follows from the idea of humanity as a special creation—that all are created equal and en…