Rev. Paul Pater, pastor at Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church in North Ridgeville, OH and Hope Lutheran Church in Sheffield Village, OH, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Proverbs 26:1-28.
The proverbs of Solomon copied by Hezekiah’s men in this section give very vivid imagery to teach the wisdom of avoiding the way of the fool, the sluggard, and the gossip. Though a fool may not listen to wisdom, the threat of punishment does sometimes move him in the right direction. There is wisdom in knowing when to ignore the folly of the fool and when to respond lest he continue in his folly. The vivid imagery of a dog returning to its vomit is a wakeup call to all sinners to recognize how disgusting sin actually is. The sluggard’s laziness is portrayed with sharp satire; his folly is greater than the fool. The gossip only adds fuel to the fire of quarrels; true wisdom seeks to quench hostility.
“Wisdom and Instruction” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that goes through the book of Proverbs. Although Proverbs is perhaps best known for its short sayings full of practical advice, the one true God has so much more in this book of wisdom. True wisdom begins with the fear of the LORD. Christians walk His way of righteousness rather than the way of wickedness because we trust that all good gifts come to us through His Son Jesus Christ, who is His wisdom made flesh for our salvation.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
so honor is not fitting for a fool.
2 Like a sparrow in its flitting, like a swallow in its flying,
a curse that is causeless does not alight.
3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the back of fools.
4 Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
6 Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool
cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
7 Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless,
is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
8 Like one who binds the stone in the sling
is one who gives honor to a fool.
9 Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
10 Like an archer who wounds everyone
is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard.[a]
11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit
is a fool who repeats his folly.
12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!
There is a lion in the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
so does a sluggard on his bed.
15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.
16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven men who can answer sensibly.
17 Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own
is like one who takes a passing 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 am only joking!”
20 For lack of wood the fire goes out,
and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases.
21 As charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.
22 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.
23 Like the glaze[b] covering an earthen vessel
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with deception,
his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
- Proverbs 26:10 Or hires a fool or passersby
- Proverbs 26:23 By revocalization; Hebrew silver of dross
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.