The Less You Do, The Less You Want to Do

Golf immortal Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about overconfidence: It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend … More

Conceit

It’s no smarter to shoot arrows at every passerby than it is to hire a fool (v. 10). Just as a dog eats its own vomit, so will a fool return to his own evil habits (v. 11). This is a picture of a person who professes to know the Lord and lives for a time in an upright way, but when exposed to old temptations turns back to them with enthusiasm. This only proves that the heart had never really been renewed. A dog in Scripture never illustrates a believer, but is often used to picture a false teacher.

There is less hope for a man who thinks he is great because of his own abilities and accomplishments than there is for an out-and-out fool who does not pretend to do anything  (v. 12). An example of this type of person is the Pharisees who were filled with the conceit of their wisdom and rejected the  counsel of Jesus. Self conceit or pride blinds a person to his sense of need and at least a fool  may sense his need for correction.

A sluggard is a lazy person who is always inventing excuses for not working (vv. 13-14). He is almost too lazy to lift food from the dish to his mouth (v. 15). This type of person sticks to his opinions and defends his views even when the disgust of others is evident (v. 16). One who grabs a dog by the ears may expect to be bitten (v. 17). The same is true of someone who gets involved in other peoples’ quarrels (vv. 18-19). It is best to stay out of others’ quarrels and let them settle their own differences between themselves.

Application

What is your opinion of yourself? It is easy for me to either think too highly of myself or to think I am not good enough to do anything. Philippines 4:13 shows us a proper self-image.

Proverbs 26:10-19 (English Standard Version)

Like an archer who wounds everyone is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard. Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. The sluggard says, "There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!" As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly. Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears. Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, "I am only joking!"

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