Are You a Super Fool?
This week, Time With God is finishing our study of the book of Proverbs. Although we will read an entire chapter each day, the study questions in Digging Deeper will focus on select verses addressing a specific topic.
It seems to happen at least monthly. Some public figure, a professional athlete or politician, says or tweets something selfish, hateful, and/or inappropriate. Then, the press conference follows. They all say the same thing. To be fair, we might as well, but we’re not famous. They apologize for what they said, and then they all claim the same thing… “What I said is not an accurate representation of who I am.” They all lie! They might sincerely mean their false claim, but as Brad Thomas, our church’s lead pastor, says, “It is possible to be sincerely wrong.” As Jesus said, “…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Biblically, our words are a constant and clear representation of who we are, whether we like it or not.
- As you reflect over the last month, what do your words say about the nature of your heart?
Read the Word
Proverbs 29 (ESV)
29:1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck,
will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice,
but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
3 He who loves wisdom makes his father glad,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
4 By justice a king builds up the land,
but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
5 A man who flatters his neighbor
spreads a net for his feet.
6 An evil man is ensnared in his transgression,
but a righteous man sings and rejoices.
7 A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
8 Scoffers set a city aflame,
but the wise turn away wrath.
9 If a wise man has an argument with a fool,
the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
10 Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless
and seek the life of the upright.
11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
but a wise man quietly holds it back.
12 If a ruler listens to falsehood,
all his officials will be wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor meet together;
the Lord gives light to the eyes of both.
14 If a king faithfully judges the poor,
his throne will be established forever.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;
he will give delight to your heart.
18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,
but blessed is he who keeps the law.
19 By mere words a servant is not disciplined,
for though he understands, he will not respond.
20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21 Whoever pampers his servant from childhood
will in the end find him his heir.
22 A man of wrath stirs up strife,
and one given to anger causes much transgression.
23 One's pride will bring him low,
but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
24 The partner of a thief hates his own life;
he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
25 The fear of man lays a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
26 Many seek the face of a ruler,
but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.
27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous,
but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 8, 11, 20, and 22.)
- What does scoffing (mocking, cynicism, sarcasm) do to others? What power does wisdom have to correct the poor words of ourselves and others (vs. 8)?
- What’s the right response to feeling the need to “vent” to someone (vs. 11)? Why do we consistently think this is permissible?
- What is Solomon’s assessment of one who is flippant with their words (vs. 20)? Pause here and thank God for someone in your life whose words are consistently purposeful and rarely hasty.
- We tend to think of our words as mattering less than actions or possibly affecting only ourselves. How can our words cause damage to others (vs. 22)?
Respond to God
Take a moment to reread verse 20. Solomon heaps a scathing indictment on one who speaks without much thought: “There is more hope for a fool than him.” When we’re careless with our words, biblically, we’re worse than a fool. I don’t know quite what to call that person – a super fool? Are you a super fool?
- The psalmist regularly asked God to examine him, to seek out any sinful way he might not see. Spend a few moments doing the same – ask God to reveal any harmful or unhealthy thought/speech patterns in your life.
- Thank him for sending the Word (Jesus) to bring the words of salvation for all of us who stumble over our tongues far too often!