The one who is slack in his work
is a brother to one who destroys.
The name of the Lord is like a strong tower;
the righteous person runs to it and is set safely on high.
There is a house you don’t want to live next to. There are two sons who spend most of their days at home. One of the sons is known for his destructive habits and actions. The other son is known for being lazy. Living next to them puts you in a very dangerous position. You may find yourself under attack from the destroyer. Or you may find yourself dealing with the issues that arise from having a lazy neighbor. The grass is never cut, the bushes are never trimmed.
In fact, that’s what we’ve faced for a long time. Not the anger, but certainly having to deal with those who are slack in their work. In particular, when it comes to caring for the bushes that line our driveway. At least they used to be bushes. But not anymore. They used to be a hedge that was pretty thick and provided some privacy. Now, they’ve grown into trees and no longer provide privacy. Now they’re just a pain. Since they’re bushes that aren’t supposed to grow tall, when they do get tall and it rains, they hang over into our driveway. And when I cut them down I have to figure out what to do with it…
The thing is, that’s a pretty small price to pay when you think about some of the possibilities that could arise. Your very own safety could be at risk because of your neighbors slack in caring for their house.
Aside form the house, there are plenty of other implications about these brothers. They don’t work at home and they don’t work at work. They are slack in what they do, therefore they never do anything.
Regardless of who you live next to, the real question is what kind of person are you? Are you a risk to those around you. Are you destructive or lazy? If you are, your life isn’t the only one you affect. You affect others around you. So, instead be righteous. And as you are righteous, you will find protection in the Lord’s tower. And you will dwell safely on high.
The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down into the person’s innermost being.
“How do I get this goodness inside me?” That’s a little Brian Regan quote for ya.
Okay, so I realize that doesn’t have much to do with what we’re talking about. We’re talking about gossip. And, man is it true. It’s really hard to unhear something. Have you ever heard some gossip about someone, and it totally changed your opinion about that person? But then, later you find out that what you heard wasn’t actually true. And even though you know that thing you heard wasn’t true, it’s still hard to see that person without thinking about what you heard.
And the thing about gossip is, the more you hear it, the more of it you want. It’s like trying to stop eating chocolate chip cookies when they come out of the oven. You can stand there and look at them, see their melty goodness and smell that intoxicating aroma – but as long as you don’t eat one, you’re okay.
…..if you dare to pick one of those devils up, you’re in for a world of hurt. They’re so soft that they melt in your mouth. So, when you eat one, it doesn’t really feel like you ate one. So you have another, and another, and another. If you don’t have self-control, you’ll eat a whole pan’s worth of cookies.
It’s the same way with gossip. If you get that first taste, and it goes down to your soul, you’re in danger to want to hear more and more and more. Soon, you won’t even notice that you’re gossiping or others are gossiping to you.
So, be careful of gossip, you just might end up with a stomach ache.
The lips of a fool enter into strife,
and his mouth invites a flogging.
The mouth of a fool is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare for his life.
Do you remember that scene from the movie “Remember The Titans” where the guys are in the locker room? And some of the guys start cracking “Your Momma” jokes. There is some back and forth there, while some of the guys don’t know how to respond to it. Then, Blue throughs one at Gerry, and he’s about to show Blue why everyone calls him Superman.
The situation calms down and everyone’s back to normal, for a minute anyway…(you can watch the movie to see what happens next). But, Blue was going to get a beating because he opened his mouth.
And this is true in real life as well. You know guys who just can’t keep their mouth shut. You probably know women who do the same thing. They get irritated about something, and they just can’t not say something. So they say it. And sooner or later they’re going to say it in the wrong context and get the beating that comes with that.
If you are a wise person you know that you need to control you lips from saying the wrong thing. Even when it’s totally justified, you shouldn’t always say what comes to your mind. If you have developed that habit, you might want to work on that one. Chances are, you’ll pay for it if you haven’t already.
Even if you don’t pay for it by a physical flogging, they will be a snare for you. Your words will be a trap for you to fall into. You may not realize it, but they words you are using and the way you are saying what you’re saying could be setting traps for you that cause you problems you don’t even know about.
So, be careful what you say. Just because it works out in the movie, doesn’t mean it’ll work out for you in real life.
The words of a person’s mouth are like deep waters,
and the fountain of wisdom is like a flowing brook.
It is terrible to show partiality to the wicked,
by depriving a righteous man of justice.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a great swimmer. I can get the job done, but I’m horribly inefficient in the water (and on land for that matter). Because of that, I’ve never been much for wanting to actually swim. I like getting in the water to cool off. I like doing the backstroke a little bit. However, I’d much rather float around in an inner tube or something.
As a non-swimmer, I’m kind of cautious about how far I go out into deep waters. Because I know if I go out there too far, there’s a pretty good chance I’m not coming back.
This is the picture we get for a person’s words today. That a persons words are like the deep waters. It’s hard work swimming through there, it can be dangerous. You don’t know what’s in the water, they could be shark infested for all you know. If you find yourself in it, you may be gasping for air instead of being refreshed by the water. It can be overwhelming, and there’s more than you know what to do with.
But the fountain of wisdom is like a flowing brook. It is refreshing on a hot day as you can cool yourself off. And you can drink from it without drowning. There just enough water to get what you need. Not too much, not too little. Just right.
I hate favoritism. Absolutely hate it. I try as much as I can to be fair in all circumstances. I don’t want to be guilty of showing favoritism towards someone. But in the case of this proverb, it is even worse.
It’s kind of like the end of the Movie, National Treasure. Ben has stolen the Declaration of Independence, and after having discovered the treasure, he is ready to return the declaration and turn himself in. He’s having a discussion with agent Sandusky who says, “someone’s going to prison.” At that point Ben says, if you’ve got a helicopter I can help you with that.
If you watched the movie, you know that Ben stole the Declaration of Independence, and part of his reasoning was to protect it from Ian who was just a treasure hunter. Since they both broke in to steal it, they were both guilty. In this case, the right guy went to jail, because Ben gave the treasure back to the people of the world when Ian would have kept it for himself. But, if Ben had gone to jail and Ian went free, that wouldn’t have felt like a very just ending, would it?
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding
but only in disclosing what is on his mind.
When a wicked person arrives, contempt shows up with him,
and with shame comes a reproach.
If you’ve spent any time at all watching the major news networks, you’ve inevitable seen them interview someone. And if you’ve seen them interview someone, then you’ve also probably seen this proverb in action. I like how the NIV puts it: “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” Oops, did I just call news anchors fools….
But, you’ve noticed it. I’m sure you have. You’re watching Matt Lauer interview someone, but for some reason, everything that Matt is saying is not a response to what the person being interviewed has just said. Instead, they are trying to come up with things that make themselves sound smart, or to try to promote their own personal agenda. And they’re going to do that with or without the person being interviewed.
It’s really funny when it doesn’t go their way. When they’re trying to make someone sound crazy, but instead, they end up sounding like an idiot.
The point is, they don’t really care about what someone else might have to say. They only care about speaking their mind and sharing their opinions. If you’re not willing to listen to others and learn from them, then do us all a favor – keep your opinions to yourself.
One who has isolated himself seeks his own desires;
he rejects all sound judgment.
I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m kind of an introvert. In some settings I have learned to be a people person, but a lot of it has been learned behavior. There have been a few times though, that being in groups of people felt natural to me. And they were all in church.
I remember in our church growing up, feeling that all these people were more like family than they were a crowd of people. That has also happened so some extent in other churches we have worked in over the years.
All that to say, I understand those who have a hard time opening up to a group of people, or even being around large groups of people. I get it. I’m right there with ya.
But, while I understand the anxiety that comes with that, I also know that there is much to be gained from being in community. There is much to be gained by not being all by yourself in this world. It is not just relationships and community, but also wisdom.
In fact, we see that the one who doesn’t join in community rejects all sound judgement. It is in not normal to be by yourself. It is not normal to struggle in isolation. It’s not the way we were designed or created. From the very beginning of human history, we were not alone. In fact, God made Eve because He saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone.
Even more than relationships, we find sound judgement in community. You’ve probably experienced this in your life, but may not have given the credit to community and relationships. For instance…
Have you ever had a problem you’ve been facing in life, but just couldn’t come up with a good solution? Sure you have. Everyone has. But then, you mention it to one person and they are able to see it from a totally different perspective to you, and they give you an idea that you wouldn’t have ever come up with on your own. Sound judgement doesn’t come in isolation. Sound judgement comes in relationships.
If you have been struggling with a situation, find some community and you’ll likely find the answer you’ve been looking for.
Let me just encourage you who are introverts. It doesn’t seem to be worth the risk to let people into your life, but let me assure you that it is. Even if it’s only for a season, these relationships add stuff to your life that wouldn’t have been there otherwise. And though they may move on, and you aren’t as connected as you once were, they added something that you didn’t have before.
So, go ahead. Give it another try. If you “still haven’t found what you’re looking for” it may be because you’re trying to find it in yourself, and that’s just not going to happen. 1 is too small a number to achieve greatness.