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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!
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Read Proverbs 26
26 Like snow in summer or rain in harvest,
honor is not fitting for a fool.
2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey,
and a rod for the backs of fools!
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.
13 A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road,
a fierce lion roaming the streets!”
14 As a door turns on its hinges,
so a sluggard turns on his bed.
15 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
16 A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven people who answer discreetly.
17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.
18 Like a maniac shooting
flaming arrows of death
19 is one who deceives their neighbor
and says, “I was only joking!”
20 Without wood a fire goes out;
without a gossip a quarrel dies down.
21 As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife.
22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
23 Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
25 Though their speech is charming, do not believe them,
for seven abominations fill their hearts.
26 Their malice may be concealed by deception,
but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it;
if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.
28 A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
A fool is defined as a person who acts unwisely or imprudently. Proverbs 26 gives us an in-depth view of a fool. Keep in mind that we, in Christ, are to be the polar opposite. A fool’s behavior and speech are described throughout this chapter and are listed below in the left column. In the right column, you’ll see the opposite (and wise) response:
Two important points are made in verses 11 and 25. First, fools tend to return to the same sin over and over and over. Second, this Proverb reiterates the six abominations of the Lord written in Proverbs 6:16-19. In summary, they are proud eyes, a lying tongue, murderous hands, running to evil or wickedness, and spreading strife. These are all things God hates and are hard lists to read. Combine this with the list on the left above, and a fool’s life will be filled with heartache and problems for themselves and those around them.
Thankfully, we are given the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Galatians 5:24-25 say, “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” The Bible is saying in these verses that we are no longer victims of our passions and desires and are given the strength thru Christ in us to overcome them. Further, Galatians 5:22 describes what is ours as we walk in the Spirit saying, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” As we walk with God and are committed to honoring Him, we are given these beautiful fruits within our hearts to overcome sin and live an abundant purposeful life now.
- Read the fool behavior list and then read the believers list. Write your emotions as you read each list.
- What is God saying to you in the comparisons throughout this chapter?
- Do you struggle with any part of the fool’s list? If so, pray to God asking Him to help change your heart and behavior on this issue. as you truly repent, He promises His Spirit to move you into His righteousness and freedom from sin. Hallelujah!
Commentator Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary on this chapter, “Honor is out of season to those unworthy or unfit for it.” Let us all choose to honor God with our hearts and our lives for our obvious good and His greater glory!
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