Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 26:15-28 (ESV)
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 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.
Verses 15 through 19 describe a fool who does not take anything seriously. He eats whatever and however much he wants (15), thinks he is smarter than he actually is (16), jumps into conflict that he has no business in (17), and acts like everything is a big joke (18-19). While having fun is good, do we sometimes act foolishly disgracing ourselves and others? Do you have a little too much to drink at a wedding reception or at the lake? Or get carried away thinking you are smarter than the coach of your child’s sports team? 20 through 28 deal specifically with deceptive and malicious words. Verses 20 and 21 give a vivid word picture of how our words can act like wood on a fire. Holding back our words might actually help cool a heated situation while jumping into that situation might not actually help but only make things hotter. Have you ever seen someone posting on social media about a heated political or social debate? Have you wanted to jump in and give your two cents? Or would it be better if you stayed out and let things cool down?