Friday, April 18, 2014

“SIH’s Think On These Things: Proverbs 26:20-22”

He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous (Prov 2:7)

Enemies Of The Lord: The Cruel 2: Proverbs 26:20-22
20) Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
21) [As] coals [are] to burning coals, and wood to fire; so [is] a contentious man to kindle strife.
22) The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

In this chapter, Solomon describes for us three of the greatest enemies of the Lord:
1.  The Fool (vs 1-12), One who does not apply the Word of God to their life.
2.  The Lazy (vs 13-16), One who is not diligent and industrious in their responsibilities
3.  The Cruel (vs 17-28), One who is angry, malicious and out of control 

Before we being this final portion of our devotions from Proverbs 26 a short explanation is necessary.  The title of this final section of chapter 26 (vs 17-28) is “the cruel”.  Although this title cannot be found in our verses, it is a very fitting title for the enemy of the Lord that is being portrayed.  Note the different ways in which this individual is described…
1. vs 17 – one that “meddleth with strife”
2. vs 18 – “a mad man”
3. vs 19 – the “man that deceiveth his neighbor”
4. vs 20 – “talebearer”
5. vs 21 – a “contentious man”
6. vs 22 – “talebearer”
7. vs 23 – “burning lips” & “wicked heart”
8. vs 24 – he that “hateth” and “layeth up deceit”
9. vs 25 – there are “seven abominations in his heart”
10 vs 26 – whose “hatred is covered by deceit” & his “wickedness”
11 vs 27 – whoso “diggeth a pit” & “rolleth a stone”
12 vs 28 – a “lying tongue” & “a flattering mouth”
From these descriptions we can see the great harm cruel individuals can do to Christians and the work of the Lord.

We can see from the above descriptions that the basic principle is the harming of others motivated by hatred.   This is why I felt as if the title “cruel” is the best one to use to describe this individual.  As a matter of fact, one of the ideas behind the title “mad man” found in verse 18 is the idea of “cruelty out of control”.

So please keep in mind, as we study these verses over the next several devotionals, we are looking at different traits of one type of enemy of the work of the Lord. It is one who harms others based upon uncontrolled hatred in their heart… in other words it is one that is “cruel”. 

We now continue in our study on “the cruel”… this entire study extends from vs 17 through vs 28 of this chapter.

20) Where no wood is, [there] the fire goeth out: so where [there is] no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.
1.  Where there is no wood to burn the flame is extinguished
2.  This is like quarreling being made calm when there is no whisperer
In the absence of the cruel gossip there is peace and harmony.

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.   (James 3:5-8)

21) [As] coals [are] to burning coals, and wood to fire; so [is] a contentious man to kindle strife.
1.  As black coals to fiery embers
2.  As wood to flame
3.  so is a quarrelsome brawler to ignite warring spirits and contests.

Just like a flame needs fuel to burn, so to quarreling, arguing, and contests will continue only when those who love to fight are present in the conflict.  It is those who enjoy fighting that will keep the fires of quarreling continue on.

In my experiences over the years as Pastor, I have seen the truthfulness of this principle on display over and over again.  No matter what the disagreement may be, when those involved desire to be at peace, peace can ALWAYS be made. 

But when there are contentious individuals at war, there can be no LASTING peace.  Many times, through the intervention of the Godly counselors and bystanders, there can be a “truce” in the conflict….but, eventually, the conflict is brought back to life when the participants want to be at war.

In my experience, there has never been an exception to these principles. 

A Song of degrees. In my distress I cried unto the LORD, and he heard me.  Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, [and] from a deceitful tongue.  What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue?  Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. (Psalms 120:1-4)

22) The words of a talebearer [are] as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
1.  The spoken words of malicious gossipers are like burning wounds from branding irons
2.  They are wounds that penetrate deeply in the very core of a person’s being.

Wounds that are caused by the heat of flame or red hot objects are characterized by great lasting pain, great tissue damage and difficulty in healing.  These are just like the great injury inflicted by those who maliciously and deceitfully lie about others.  Their lies can be devastating to others, causing not only great pain but permanent wounds that can never totally heal. 

This is one of the most sobering issues behind gossiping.  The words that are spoken can never be totally taken back.  Even when the speaker “fesses up” to the lies he has told, the innocent victim (to a certain extent) will still be affected by what was said about them.  This is the nature of fallen, sinful man. 

Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs; like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.  Thou lovest evil more than good; [and] lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.  Thou lovest all devouring words, O [thou] deceitful tongue.  God shall likewise destroy thee for ever, he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of [thy] dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living. Selah.   (Psalms 52:2-5)


In our study of the cruel, we have seen that he is:
1.  a person who desires to “stir up trouble” between two warring individuals.
2.  a person who with uncontrolled hatred that floods others with acts and words meant to destroy.
3.  a person who make the harming of others through deceit a contest that entertains and pleases them.
4.  In the absence of the cruel gossip there is peace and harmony.
5.  Quarreling and arguing continue when those who love to fight are present
6.  The lies of gossipers can be devastating, cause great pain and permanent wounds. 

If we were standing accused of cruelty in a court of law would there be enough evidence to convict us? 
Or put another way, would there be others, who have watched our lifestyle, stand and testify that our life exhibited the attributes of those that are cruel? 

By God’s grace NONE of these attributes would be found in our lives.  As a matter of fact, the existence of this type of hateful spirit within us calls into question our very salvation.  

May we all possess Godly wisdom and live our lives for Him.

By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.

May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.

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