Treasures from Proverbs,
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. 6 Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. 7 Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 8 Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. 9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. 10 Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. 11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. 12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 26:4-12)
In just this handful of verses there is enough to unpack for quite an indepth lesson and often in just a few verses there is enough to camp on for a while.
In 4 and 5 we see a seemingly contradictory statement that first says “Do not answer a fool according to his folly or you will be like him yourself” which Im assuming is like playing someone’s silly foolish games that foolish people often goad others into. Ever heard the expression, “Just do not play their games” or “Don’t stoop to their level” and thats what I think of when I see this. On the other hand, ever know a situation where if you do not refute such nonsense then the person in arrogance claims they are proven right for failure to refute what they say? However, on one hand to debate them leads no where constructive yet silence only boosts their ego. And another proverb says to “Avoid a fool”
Basically, the only reasonable course of action with people such as this is non association it appears.
Vs 6 talks of the danger of sending a message by means of a foolish person. There are some people you do not want to use as modes to communicate valueble and pertainent information. They may undo something or bungle it along the way.
Vs 7 “Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.” Now this hits close to home, I look down from my wheelchair at my legs and say to myself, my legs are disabled and not fit for walking and so is wise proverbs ans quotes in the mouths of people who have no wisdom to apply their wise saying to walk by as a practice of their own lives. To know a wise quote, adage or proverb and say it word for word yet never know how to abide by that truth is like my legs that hang there that look like legs well enough but have not aided me to walk with. So it is, knowing Scripture and memorizing the Word is noble and good but falls short without personal applying to our lives
——Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:23-27 –
How should knowlege of the Word change every aspect of how we live? James goves a very practical simple application, what we say – though so seemingly small, it is indespensie and our faith should change both what we do and how we speak!
Vs 8 “Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool.”
Giving positions of responsibility or entrusting high things to foolish people is going to backfire. Ever heard someone vouch for someone’s character or competence only to be embarrased later they spoke highly of that person when it backfired. So it is giving honor to a foolish person hurts also those who give them honors!
9 Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool
Some people say true things yet a foolish person has no timing or tact or discernment thereof to use truths to build others up- instead some people open their mouths and speak true things in the worst possible ways and only serve to make problems or situations worse! So is true words in a fools mouth, they end up hurting themselves in the process and making people angry. A drunk person grabbing a thorn bush is self destructive in doing so- so to speak truth while foolishly refusing to submit to God’s Word is serving to have God’s truths also condemn us.
Jesus adds even greater clarity here:
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. 41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Luke 6:37-42)
When speaking hard truths we all must also better be sure that these truths are not also pointing at us- lest we become hypocrites.
10 Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by.
In the work world, many places have a high turn over rate, yet is this principle being often forgotten? Hiring anyone for a job is like firing a projectile at random. If one does not careful select who they hire or trust- they create a liability when they pick someone who makes something go wrong.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.
“Don’t hit your head against the wall and expect it not to hurt,” they say yet this also is a principle from Proverbs that tells us: Foolish people keep doing the same harmful things expecting a better outcome- and never learn their mode of opperedae is hurting them- so they keep suffering folly for never wising up.
12 Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.
Even a foolish person can improve if he or she is wise enough to learn from poor choices, uet prideful people refuse change and become worse then an average fool because they refuse to acknowlege their own foolish decisions that cost them. Even a ridiculous fool has some hope if they can see they have a problem- but a fool who wont let go of pride does not.
We all have played these parts as stubborn humans but God’s Word can help us overcome- so the deciding factor of our success in life is not predecided just because we may start foolish or may currently be acting the part, but if we decide right to deal with with it, we can excell and become wise through seeking God and His Wisdom!