Solomon continues to share ways that wisdom wins over foolishness. Foolishness knows no bounds. It is seen in both poor and rich. And even a little makes a person ‘stink’.
Solomon sees folly all around. I wonder if he is better at recognizing it than we are (I am). Some people are obvious in their actions. Sales people being caught in lies, bullies, people who refuse to heed warning sings, those who drink while driving and many other obvious foolish behaviors.
I have to take a quick moment and share a story from my life. My children and I were driving one day and the traffic became congested. It might have been due to road construction. Whatever the reason, there was a pickup right in front of us. I watched as the driver got out of his vehicle at least 3 times during our trip and got himself another glass/cup full of wine from a wine box in the bed of his truck. I have a feeling he was trying to avoid a ticket for having an open container in his vehicle but he was doing nothing to prevent being cited for drunk driving or hurting someone because he was drinking. Talk about a foolish act!
Solomon brings us to the working world to look at wisdom and folly. His examples are not meant to be people acting foolishly but to point out that there is danger in everything if you are not paying attention. Someone digging a pit, splitting logs, quarrying stone, or demolishing walls can do so on a daily basis without encountering danger when they are paying attention to their actions AND tools. It is foolish not to maintain your tools or to be distracted when working, especially dangerous jobs. Even my job, if I’m distracted and don’t notice and attend to how my husband’s left foot is positioned, it has been known to bring us both down to the ground.
Something I find interesting in this ‘work section’ is how my bible helps deals with it. In Proverbs 26:27, digging a pit and rolling a stone are both mentioned there as well as here. In Proverbs, the meaning is surrounding someone doing these things to hurt another person. In our reading today, my helps says the incidents are accidents; not done with evil intent. I’m going to assume that the context they are used in makes all the difference.
Speaking of words, Solomon warns how our words can prove out that we are a fool. Have you ever heard the expression, “Open mouth insert foot”? When my words are really foolish, I change it up a little bit. “Open mouth insert foot up to your hip.” A fool tries to convince others to join his point of view by talking on and On and ON about it. Usually, when this happens, the one who is supposed to be listening tunes out the foo. Solomon also warns about cursing the king or the rich. Somehow your words will be found out. Words DO matter and they can expose that you are a fool pretty well.
Bottom line here is, be aware of the company you keep, your own mouth, and your own actions. Pay attention to your task while ‘on the job’. And keep foolishness as far from you as possible. If it’s in you, drive it out by replacing it with God’s wisdom.
Father God, watch over my mouth and, more importantly, my heart. Keep me from foolishness; sin. I want to be filled with Your wisdom. This includes knowing when to keep quiet and just listen. Learning to wait to be asked to help instead of jumping in every time I see someone struggling. Sometimes the struggle is the best teacher. Jumping in too soon robs the person and You of valuable learning time. Keep me always learning too Father; just not always the hard way please.