11If the serpent bites before it is charmed, there is no advantage to the charmer. 12The words of a wise man’s mouth win him favor, but the lips of a fool consume him. 13The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness, and the end of his talk is evil madness. 14A fool multiplies words, though no man knows what is to be, and who can tell him what will be after him? 15The toil of a fool wearies him, for he does not know the way to the city.
(Ecclesiastes 10:11-15 ESV)
Today’s passage continues with more proverbs extolling the benefits of living a life navigated by God-based wisdom.
Snake charmers were used in ancient times to remove snakes from a home. But the time to call the charmer is before the serpent (snake) bites. Once it has bitten then the damage has been done and there is no advantage in calling the charmer.
The time to prevent catastrophe is before it strikes, not after. Wise people make preparations in life to mitigate the danger and damage and as a result their lives are usually less stressful and more enjoyable.
The use of words differentiates wise people from foolish people. The words of a wise man win him favor. Wise people’s speech is constructive; it is useful; it is beneficial.
On the other hand, the words of a fool consume him. That is, they do the opposite of the wise words – they bring problems and do harm to his life.
Notice that the words of a fool are foolishness right from the beginning. Foolishness is inherent in a fool. It is part of their character. And it doesn’t get any better as time goes on; by the end his talk is evil madness. Any person who does not navigate life via God’s wisdom never has anything useful to say and never will.
In order to make up for the lack of quality in their words, a fool multiplies words. Foolish information is ubiquitous. And never has that been more true than in our day. We are bombarded with all kinds of information on TV, websites, blog and virtually none of it is useful.
This is something I realized a while back. And as a bit of an experiment (but also to clear my mind of all the crap it is exposed to) I stopped reading any news-related website and stopped using Twitter and Facebook. And since I also haven’t had a television for many years, I was no longer exposed to any information about current events.
I’ve been doing this for several weeks now and I can honestly say I don’t think I have missed out on anything. Virtually none of the information that is poured out of our media today is useful. All of it is nothing more than a waste of words and it is a waste of life to spend any time following it.
One way to tell a fool from a wise person is that the former talks about the future as if he knows what is to be. But no one can tell what will be.
No one knows what the future holds. Only God knows that. If someone does not listen to and follow God but instead only listens to and follows their own human thinking they cannot lead.
Sadly, in America (and all over the world) we have leaders who do just that – they ignore God (if they recognize His existence at all) and instead try to lead using their own understanding.
Such an approach wearies people who follow such a foolish leader for that leader does not know the way into the city. This apparently was an ancient proverb indicating that someone did not understand the most simple and obvious things.
Someone who does not navigate his/her own life via godly wisdom has no ability to navigate other people’s lives. Both he and his followers will end up lost.
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