“Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.” Proverbs 26:20-21 NKJV
Oh the webs of the fool – in today’s reading we see all sorts of foolishness we should be wise to avoid. “Should be wise” are the operative words. But as we prayed the other day (and I hope you continue to pray daily for), Lord, give us wisdom!
Dear Heavenly Father – As always, please open eye to see and our ears to hear what you are saying! Lord – open our understanding that we may know you and the wisdom to know what to do. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is from the book Proverbs, chapters 25-26 (embedded below the image below for your convenience). Solomon’s wisdom is so rich and poignant. Based on the writings I assume his pet peeve are fools. I think we are often right there with him. And as I read about today’s fools and reflect on my life – I came to the surprising discovery of how foolish I am!!!
OK – it is not a complete surprise that I can be foolish – this is the grace of our Lord to take someone like me and use me for His glory despite my imperfections!!! But let me tell my tale (but not like the “talebearer” above) as a lesson in caution.
I thought I had a little extra time and I have the skills and a friend had a need. Based on the situation I am probably the only person who can slide in and rescue her. As Christians we should bless people. We should be dutiful servants. We should bring prayerful coverings to situations and people. Therefore I should I was doing right by offering to help her.
But there is history – I used to work for her in a toxic work environment where everyone threw each other under the bus for no reason and everyone fought and bickered and were just plain mean. I left, and to my surprise my dear friend badmouthed me behind my back and participated in the same behavior – they are all just following their leader, sadly. Well, as a good friend and Christian – I forgave her and help to help.
I went back in – and things were worse – different staff, yet worse. Everyone treats the negative one poorly failing to see that their own mean spirit is much worse than the one’s negative spirit. I would only help for a few hours – but smack dab in the middle of the day. So I struggled to get work done in the morning on my own business, worried I might lose track of time and not make it in (and often lost track of time and was late). Then when I got home literal prayerful purging of all of that nonsense was needed just to human again (and dinner and walk the dog and life) so I couldn’t get back to my business again until late – then I would stay up too late trying to reach my goals. Get too little sleep and try again the next day. So besides the terrible spiritual atmosphere, where I would take spiritual control over what I could but mind you, they invited it there and they asked it to stay. Which would leave me exhausted from standing my ground. I was exhausted from lack of sleep. And my business which the Lord gave me to be a wise steward of – was no longer being wisely stewarded!!
“As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11 NKJV
Yes – I was surrounded by mean and negative spirited fools – but I was the real fool!! They are of the world. This is their only hope of any semblance of control over their lives.
We who are of God, work to relinquish control and give it to God – our hope is in Him and we are confident that this non-fleshly way to accomplish life will work all things out for our good and HIS glory.
They have no confidence except that they see a pattern of getting their way (which is good in their own eyes) by being mean. It works. I am gone. They no longer have to be mean about me NOT working, when I was volunteering (no pay) to help with one specific problem. I was not hired on to work there. However, their way was not good for them, because while I was there I shared in each of their tasks and burdens and helped them too.
No matter how much good – or how much prayer – or how much spiritual authority I have – it all was foolishness and vanity since I was OUTSIDE OF GOD’S WILL!!!
Ouch! I preach hard at myself. But let us not mince words. God did not give me that. There was no blessing in it for me – just curses without cause (today’s reading also explains that)! This was a giant distraction from what God did give me. He gave me a business to steward. He used this time to get me to hire help – which is how you grow (to my surprise it is hiring and spreading that brings growth not sales – sales follow growth).
So, yesterday I set aside most of the foolishness. I offered to come back once a week to torment the spirit! But I am betting the spirit will bear tales so great that she will ask me not to come back. I was sad and cried, for my friend. But it is not God’s will for me.
Today I worked on setting up the time table for my day and started to work on finishing the multiple projects in the house – let me get things in order the way God told me to and get things back under God’s control!
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
MEMORY WORK: Mark 16:17-18 – This month is month two of the two for one special!!!
NKJV – “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NAS – “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
ESV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
NLT – “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
NIV – “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Thank you for reading.
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
BIBLE READING: Proverbs 25-26 NKJV
Further Wise Sayings of Solomon
25 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4 Take away the dross from silver,
And it will go to the silversmith for jewelry.
5 Take away the wicked from before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
6 Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of the great;
7 For it is better that he say to you,
“Come up here,”
Than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.
8 Do not go hastily to [a]court;
For what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor has put you to shame?
9 Debate your case with your neighbor,
And do not disclose the secret to another;
10 Lest he who hears it expose your shame,
And [b]your reputation be ruined.
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold
In settings of silver.
12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.
13 Like the cold of snow in time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14 Whoever falsely boasts of giving
Is like clouds and wind without rain.
15 By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded,
And a gentle tongue breaks a bone.
16 Have you found honey?
Eat only as much as you need,
Lest you be filled with it and vomit.
17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house,
Lest he become weary of you and hate you.
18 A man who bears false witness against his neighbor
Is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow.
19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble
Is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint.
20 Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather,
And like vinegar on soda,
Is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For so you will heap coals of fire on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.
23 The north wind brings forth rain,
And a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.
24 It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop,
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
25 As cold water to a weary soul,
So is good news from a far country.
26 A righteous man who falters before the wicked
Is like a murky spring and a [c]polluted well.
27 It is not good to eat much honey;
So to seek one’s own glory is not glory.
28 Whoever has no rule over his own spirit
Is like a city broken down, without walls.
Honor Is Not Fitting for a Fool
26 As snow in summer and rain in harvest,
So honor is not fitting for a fool.
2 Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow,
So a curse without cause shall not alight.
3 A whip for the horse,
A bridle for the donkey,
And a rod for the fool’s back.
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest you also be like him.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool
Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
7 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp
Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
8 Like one who binds a stone in a sling
Is he who gives honor to a fool.
9 Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard
Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 [d]The great God who formed everything
Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages.
11 As a dog returns to his own vomit,
So a fool repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion in the road!
A fierce lion is in the [e]streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
So does the lazy man on his bed.
15 The lazy man buries his hand in the [f]bowl;
It wearies him to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can answer sensibly.
17 He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own
Is like one who takes a dog by the ears.
18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,
19 Is the man who deceives his neighbor,
And says, “I was only joking!”
20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out;
And where there is no [g]talebearer, strife ceases.
21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a [h]talebearer are like [i]tasty trifles,
And they go down into the [j]inmost body.
23 Fervent lips with a wicked heart
Are like earthenware covered with silver dross.
24 He who hates, disguises it with his lips,
And lays up deceit within himself;
25 When [k]he speaks kindly, do not believe him,
For there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 Though his hatred is covered by deceit,
His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.
28 A lying tongue hates those who are crushed by it,
And a flattering mouth works ruin.
- Proverbs 25:8 Lit. contend or bring a lawsuit
- Proverbs 25:10 the evil report concerning you not pass away
- Proverbs 25:26 ruined
- Proverbs 26:10 Heb. difficult in v. 10; ancient and modern translators differ greatly
- Proverbs 26:13 Or plazas, squares
- Proverbs 26:15 LXX, Syr. bosom; Tg., Vg. armpit
- Proverbs 26:20 gossip or slanderer, lit. whisperer
- Proverbs 26:22 gossip or slanderer
- Proverbs 26:22 A Jewish tradition wounds
- Proverbs 26:22 Lit. rooms of the belly
- Proverbs 26:25 Lit. his voice is gracious