Imagine this scene if you will. David is facing the giant Goliath. He goes to the stream and picks out five smooth stones. He then takes of them and a piece of leather and ties the stone into the sling that he is about to use to engage the giant in battle. He ties it securely in the sling so that it won't come out. Then he rushes to the scene of the battle to . . . to . . . to completely fail as he has the sling wrap around his arm when he looses it from one hand - only to have the stone bruise his forearm - just before the giant pierces him like a pin cushion with his spear. Little different than the Biblical account isn't it?
What you read above would be what would have happened had David bound the stone he chose to throw at Goliath inside his sling. Anyone who even knows the rudimentary skills with a sling knows that only the dumbest of warriors would bind the stone inside the sling when going out to battle. It would be the move that a man who wants to die takes. It would be possibly the very worst thing you could do. It would completely destroy any effectiveness you could imagine as a fighter for the army you serve. If a Hebrew - or anyone from this region were to read the opening part of this proverb, they would laugh. It is more like something you would see on a show called, "The World's Dumbest Warriors." But at times the Bible uses sarcasm and ridiculousness to get a point across to us. Such is the case in Proverbs 26:8.
The proverb compares the stupidity of a man binding a stone in a sling to a man giving honor to a fool. This is something that should never be done! A fool is one who mocks God - and who mocks godliness. He is careless and does not do the right thing. He does not think before he acts unless you count thinking of what he himself wants - or what would bring him the greatest pleasure at the moment. This man does not deserve honor - he deserves to be pointed out as what he is, a fool!
When we give honor to a fool we are shooting ourselves in the foot. We are lifting up someone as an example - who when followed will only produce more fools. We are disarming ourselves of something that is so necessary - good examples. We are giving the enemy an unfair advantage as we are lifting up someone who is a spokesman for godlessness. We are guaranteeing failure because we are pointing our children to those who will ultimately fail as one they should honor and respect.
Our society is replete with the act of honoring of fools. We see it all the time in sports. We join with those who offer praise to someone whose skill set includes little more than shooting a ball - throwing a ball - catching a ball - or dunking a ball (methinks we have the over-fascination with balls and those who can impress us with their dexterity with them). It matters little to us what character or lack thereof these men have. We join with the throngs who grant them far more accolades that they deserve. They even boast to us that they are not role models - and continue living in ways that would get the normal person arrested. They flaunt our laws - and then use their fame to get slapped on the wrist for offenses that would land the rest of us in prison. Their sports continue to degenerate as more and more thugs rise to prominence. There are good men there as well, it just seems that for every really good guy - there are several thugs whose antics dominate our papers and airwaves.
I want to ask a simple question for those of you who have children. Who are your children's heros? Have you taken the time to exalt godly men whose godly lives should be the kind you honor? What about men like Hudson Taylor who took the gospel into the heartland of China and John Knox who stood toe to toe with Kings and Queens? How about Eric Liddell who was willing to give up the Olympics for godly principles - then won the 200 yard dash - and then did something even more important by giving his life for the gospel in China? What about David Livingstone who took the gospel across Africa or Vanya who stood for Christ in the midst of the Russian army at the cost of his own life? Finally, how about Jim Elliot who bravely gave his life to reach a South American Indian tribe? Here are the heros we should honor - but too often our children don't even know their names. They never shot a game winning three at the buzzer or scored a winning touchdown. They never hit a home run or pitched a no-hitter. All these men did was live lives that were worthy of emmulation - lives of character and godliness - lives of sacrifice and bravery - and saw the real victory won.
The reason we have so many fools in our society is because we are constantly honoring them. Like a fool binding a sling in a stone - we keep lifting them up - swinging them around - and letting them go - only to have them come back and bruise our arm. Our children watch and dream of a day when they too can be a fool whose accomplishments are dust and ashes. Let us go forth today and find true heros - men and women whose lives are weighed down with character and godliness. Let us lift them up for our children to see - and to honor. The sooner we do this - the sooner we will see the Goliaths in our culture come crashing down because we've chosen to use our slings properly. Let us honor those whose lives will challenge our sons and daughters to be those who change our culture with both the character and the gospel of Jesus Christ.