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July 5 Today’s Reading: Proverbs 12-15
Folly and Wisdom
“Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.” (Proverbs 15:21)
A Multitude of Counselors
Solomon declares, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22). Anytime people seek advice from many counselors, their real purpose is obvious. It is their intention to take the advice of none, but either to find one who will tell them what they want to hear, or to pick and choose what they want from each, and then say, “This is what these counselors recommend.” Thereby, they establish their own purposes without assuming responsibility for their own actions. Yet, “Where there is no counsel the people fall.” What we must do, especially those who are responsible to lead others, is seek “wise counsel” from Christ our Wisdom and our Counselor, and follow it, rather than seeking safety for ourselves in a “multitude of counsellors.”
Slander is the attempt of one to defame another, to make another person look bad, by whispering gossip and innuendoes. It really does not matter whether the report is true or false. When the spies cast a slander upon the land (Numbers 14:36), what they reported was factually true, but their intent was evil. That made their report a slander. Slander is simply an act of abhorrent evil. It is always an act of hatred. “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it” (Proverbs 26:28). By it multitudes suffer great pain needlessly. — “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool” (Proverbs 10:18). As we keep ourselves from engaging in such evil, we keep ourselves from trouble (Proverbs 21:23), and avoid hurting others.
Leave it to wicked men to search out evil matters. Swine love wallowing in the mire. Sheep prefer to avoid it. As it is the glory of God to conceal the evil of his children (Proverbs 25:2), it is both our honor and the kindness of brotherly love for us to do the same. — “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins” (Proverbs 10:12). — “He that pursueth evil pursueth his own death” (Pro. 11:19).
To Answer or Answer Not
“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit” (Proverbs 26:4-5). Usually, it is best never to respond to a fool, a slanderer. If he must be answered, make certain that he is not answered according to his folly, with his same evil intent, — to make yourself look good, or to make him look bad. If his folly must be answered, it must be answered for the glory of God, the truth of God, and the good of his church, lest the fool “be wise in his own conceit,” lest it appear that his folly is true because unanswered. Our Lord’s example is the example to follow. He never once responded to the foolish, hateful slanders of men against himself. He only answered fools (religious Pharisees, Sadducees, and hypocrites) when the glory of God, the truth of God, and the people of God might be injured by them. May God the Holy Spirit give us grace to “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Ephesians 5:15).