Like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit. Proverbs 25:28
Self-control is a fierce fruit - yet one that is absolutely essential for the man who desires to be godly. The one who lacks it is definitely in danger. Without it our defenses our down and the likelihood of having our base desires control our lives is high indeed.
The wall of a city was essential to it defenses. The wall was a barrier that allowed a city to withstand a far greater opponent with only a few warriors. But when the wall was breached, the cities defenses would themselves be breached. Once this happened, it was not difficult to conquer the city itself. The first picture painted for us by the Lord is that of a city that is broken into. The picture is of a city whose walls have been breached - and a break through of the enemy is happening. This is a dangerous moment because once the enemy is aware of such a breach, all of its might will be concentrated on that point to exploit it in the greatest measure. What begins as a small breach, if not dealt with quickly and decisively, will become a huge gaping hole through which the enemy will pour in a matter of days and hours.
This picture is compared to a man who has no control of his spirit. A man's spirit here is his inner fortitude. This is limited in the fallen condition of man, yet is greatly strengthened in salvation and in a continuing relaitonship with the Holy Spirit. A man who has no control over his spirit is unable to deal with his flesh. His selfish ego is ungoverned and unfortunately tells him what he shall do. The list of sins in Galatians 5:17-21 are a good list of what will come forth from this man. To say that this is not a pretty sight is an understatement. More and more the devil, the world, and his own godless ego will dominate his life. What is sad is that this situation grows over time. It may start as just a small fault early in life - yet when not dealt with decisively and completely it will develop into quite the breach in his defenses. A little temper while young can become a horrendous temper when older. A little deceit and lying can grow into a way of deceit as an adult. Oh, how we need to heed the Scriptures that sin must be dealt with viciously - with every effort and amount of strength needing to be focused on killing the flesh and its desires. As Paul said, "If we by the Spirit put to death the desires of the flesh, we will live."
The word used here as "control" is the Hebrew "matsar" which means restraint and control. There are those today who say that we should not seek control or restraint - but allow the Lord to give us victory. Yet the Word says again and again it is both that need to happen. We need to fight passionately against the flesh - while looking to the Lord as the source and strength for the victory. Looking alone will not do - just as striving alone will not either.
The second picture is much more grave - for it is the picture of our lives when a lack of self-control is fully matured in our hearts. The city without walls is a sitting duck, just waiting for the first enemy to come and wreak havoc upon it. Here is the man who has cultivated quite the harvest of self-indulgence. His city is without walls at all. Thus when the enemy attacks - there are no defenses. What a foolish strategy this is - yet that is what too many rely upon in life. They think that there is no battle - no fight - no enemy. All will be well - and all willl go perfectly. This is nothing more than an exercise in self-deception, and it is one that will cost the person who holds is everything.
We need to take Paul's attitude when it comes to how we fight against sin in our lives. "Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27) We do need to take this attitude toward our bodies and our spirit. If there is no control of our spirit - where whatever influence that comes upon us rules - we are doomed. Instead, we need to work daily to build high walls of the Word and godly living that will help us to repel the enemy when he comes. When we do this, we will find the blessing of a spirit that is cooperative with the Holy Spirit and a life that embraces the godliness laid out for us in the Scriptures.
It is not good to eat much honey, Nor is it glory to search out one's own glory.
Humans are a proud lot. Therefore it is not a profitable thing to "search out one's own glory." Such a pursuit will only result in excessive pride and arrogance. Since God resists the proud, it is unwise to embrace something that God hates. Today's proverb gives us some very wise counsel on this subject. Let's take a closer look at it - and - at some examples we can learn from so that we don't fall into this sin.
Eating too much honey can make you very sick. Honey is great for you - but in excess it can cause bloating, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. This is an interesting truth - because if you applied it to what Solomon is saying to us we learn the following. Too much thought about your own glory will cause you to bloat spiritually - and can make you sick in your spirit.
We are warned that it is not glory to search out one's own glory. What does this mean, "to search out one's own glory?" When we speak of glory - we are talking about seeing ourselves as glorious - or our own works as worthy of glory. The truth is that we don't deserve ANY glory whatsoever. Scripture tells us that our condition is not glorious. "All have sinned and fallen short of true glory - the glory of God." (from Romans 3:23) The absolute truth is this - God alone deserves glory. Any glory we ever receive - is only reflective of the glory that God deserves for Who He is and what He has done.
Searching out "one's own glory" is synonymous with being prideful. Paul said in Galatians 6:4, "But may it never be that I would glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." There is no reason to glory in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ. Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that we are to eat, drink, and do all that we do to the glory of God. Therefore to glory in searching out our own glory is not just unwise - it is the ultimate foolish pursuit. We will get sick to our spirits - we will find a bloated ego - and we will disgust God, Who alone deserves glory.
Glorying in searching out one's own glory is about as profitable to us as having a unicorn round up. Unicorns don't exist, therefore such a search is fruitless and stupid. But then again so is searching for how much we shold be glorified. Our time would be better spent glorifying the only One who deserves to be glorified - our Lord Jesus Christ! May our days be spent therefore searching out new ways to bring glory to Him and to His wonderful name.
Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. Proverbs 25:26
A spring or well holds such promise. When we come to one or hear of one there is the hope of clear fresh water. We can drink and be refreshed. Yet to come to one and find it trampled to where it is dirty and filled with mud and pollutants is such a disheartening thing. This is true in the realm of water - but how much more so when applied to the lives of godly men.
This trampled spring or polluted well is actually a godly, righteous man who surrenders and gives way before the wicked. Giving way has the idea of wavering, wobbling and shaking before one falls. The fall is imminent and that is what all the movement indicates is coming. The Hebrew also indicates it can be a foot slipping or a fire flaming out.
This picture in the Hebrew is applied to a righteous man who faces the true test of his righteousness. THE test is when he stands before the wicked. He chooses to face such a test by walking in righteousness, and that might cost him dearly. The test may be as little as the disagreement of others - and it may be as large as facing martyrdom for his stand. Regardless the situation, this righteous man chooses instead to give way - to wobble and totter in his views. He changes his mind - or acts contrary to it. His pollution and trampling come as a result of not standing firm in his convictions. He does not hold to the Word in such situations - but gives way before the world instead.
There are so many men and women in history who have given way before the wicked. They have chosen the way of peace - at least peace on this earth. There will be no peace for them in the end when they stand before God. But they do not want to rock the boat. The conclusion of such matters is that a life that could have been so refreshing to others is trampled and polluted. Now all it does it disappoint those who needed a refreshing drink. What they could have offered is ruined - because they chose to waver in their faith before the wicked.
There is another way that we give way before the wicked. It is not as public as the outright denial of Christ contained in a renunciation. Yet this kind of "giving way" happens in a secret tribunal - the one that comes up in our hearts when wickedness comes and asks for our obedience. There are secret forays into sin - and secret moments when we give way before the wicked. Such things are not public displays - but they nevertheless muddy he waters of our heart. It might be a little while lie we chose to indulge in - or a look that begins innocently, but ends in an adulterous heart. It might be a way we've cheated or cut corners at work to not give our best for God's glory and the testimony of His name. Whatever it is, it tramples our well - and muddies the waters of our heart so that we cannot give as clear a drink of clean, life-giving water to others from the well of our hearts - that should be flowing outward with the rivers of living water of the Holy Spirit.
There is hope for those who have thus fallen in the New Testament. Peter gave way before the wicked - and that could have been the final message of his life. Fortunately for him Christ came and offered grace and forgiveness. He called Peter to repentance - and then back to usefulness. In no way do I want to lessen the truth of this passage - that righteous men need to stand in righteous views when the wicked come wanting them to compromise. Godly men need to remain godly when the ungodly want them to "tone it down" and lower their standards (which most often means to lower the standards of Scripture). We do need to stand firm and hold to the Word rather than the world. But, when we do fall, it is good to know that when we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive them. Nevertheless, we need to be wise and stand firm when confronted by the wicked. To do otherwise may mean allowing a well or spring that could offer many a fresh drink of the water of the Word, nothing more than the muddy, polluted waters of sinful compromise with the world. There are plenty of places where you can be served a drink of that kind of swill. May God help us to be men and women who stand firm on the gospel - which grants us power to stand - and also gives us grace to get up even if we've made the mistake of giving way before sin in our lives. May we be wise and choose righteousness and holiness so that the waters of our heart not be muddied with the pollution of sin and compromise.
It is better to live in a corner of the roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Proverbs 25:24
I find it interesting that a man who had hundreds of wives - felt the need to comment identically on the contentious and quarrelsome ones. This is almost an exact repeat of a previous proverb in chapter 21, verse 9. What Solomon has to say about this is pretty severe.
To live on a corner of a roof would be very uncomfortable in Israel. The houses of that time had flat roofs - and Scripture required them to build a wall around the top so that people would not fall off of them. Often they would have a set of stairs on the side of the home that led to the top of the house. But to live there would be very uncomfortable. In the summer months the roof would be unbearably hot with the sun beating down upon the poor man's brow. In the winter, or the rainy season, it would be wet and cold there. Yet Solomon states that this would be better than to be in even a palace with a contentious woman.
It might be good for us to see what a "contentious" woman looks like - or better acts like. The word used here is "madon" and its basic meaning is strife or dissension. It refers to a quarrel or dispute that is so filled with anger and bitterness that it cannot be stopped once it starts. That is why Proverbs 17:14 counsels us to abandon such a disupute before it breaks out. But the contetious woman knows no such self-restraint. Her pride and unwillingness to submit to God results in her not only entering into disputes - but even engineering and starting them. This same word is used in Proverbs 18:19 to speak of how strife creates strong barriers between people. The contentious woman doesn't care about this because her heart is already bitter and filled with resentment. Rather than avoid conflicts that result in relational barriers - she fights from hers and builds it higher. A few other verses that use this word indicate to us the following: 1) This kind of contention spreads to other people (Proverbs 6:14, 19), 2) it comes from someone who is hot-tempered and given to fits of anger (Proverbs 15:18), and 3) it is stirred by hatred which is lodged in this woman's heart - which is why she rejects loving, selfless responses and chooses her rage instead (PRoverbs 10:12). What an terrible picture is painted of this contentious woman who loves and embraces anger, bitterness, and loveless rage.
Now you might understand why this guy wants to live on the edge of his roof. He chooses this rather than to be in a house with this lady. Life is miserable for him - and he would choose misery among the elements than even a few moments with this train-wreck of a woman. But, honestly for Solomon, such a situation wasn't exactly prevented by having so many wives and so many concubines. Living among that many women vying for the affection of one very selfish, sexually out of control man, could not have been a picnic. This is why the second reference to this circumstance should be used for wisdom in two ways for us. First - be careful not to marry a bitter woman who overflows with resentment and anger. Second - don't create one either by being a man who is unwise in how he approaches the marriage covenant. Be faithful to one woman in your lifetime. And love her in such a way that she will not ever have the problem of being a contentious wife.
The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance. Proverbs 25:23
A wise man does not participate in backbiting or gossip. It is a very destructive thing when we do. Therefore a wise man does everything he can to make it very clear that he will not participate in it. That is what God wants to give us wisdom about in today's proverb of the day.
This particular proverb creates a problem for us - in that in Israel the north wind does not bring rain. It is the southeastern winds that do that task. Some think that because of this that this proverb may be one Solomon learned from Egypt, because that particular area does have rain originate out of the north wind. Regardless of which geographic region this proverb originated, the fact is that when the wind blew from the north in this region, it brought with it clouds and rain. The one thing that is accepted by just about every commentator is that this cloudiness and stormy weather promised by the north wind is compared to the stormy, angry countenance that should be given to someone who is about to begin gossiping about someone else.
The phrase, "a backbiting tongue" comes from the Hebrew word "seter" which means a covering or a secret hiding place. The idea it brings with it is that of secrecy. The problem with this word is that the one speaking is wanting secrecy only from one person - the one about whom he is talking. He is more than willing to talk about them - he just is not willing to talk TO them. This is the problem with gossip and backbiting (or secret talking). The one doint it is usually unwilling to make his complaint public where the other person can either answer or repent and initiate change.
No such grace is extended to the focus of the gossip. The desire is not to help them - or to see them delivered from some sin or fault. The desire is to destroy the person. They are denigrated in the eyes of others. Since this is done behind their back - there is no way they can change. On top of all this - the people who hear about the gossiped-one's faults - are usually being turned against him. Thus the one who is the subject of the gossip is doubly damaged. First he is not being confronted about whatever sin led to the gossip - and second, he is being isolated by the gossip. In the end he or she is hated and shunned - which is what the gossip had as their goal in the first place. Most gossip is either started or continued due to a bitterness or lack of forgiveness of the one about whom they are gossipping. That is why this is such a wicked sin.
How do you stop a gossip from pouring their poison into your soul? This passage tells you how. Just like a cold north wind brought clouds and rain into the area from which this proverb arose, so also an angry countenance brings a stop to the gossip and backbiting. This is not a brief glance, or a telling look. The word here in the Hebrew is "zaam" and it means to be indignant and enraged. The root word literally means to "foam at the mouth." So this is no quick glance - it is a look that says, "Stop this now!" That is how to do it. There is no real gracious way to deal with a gossip - except to be indignant that they would include you in their wicked work. That is accomplished by giving them a very angry look that says in effect, "Not with me, bro!"
A wise man is a peacemaker - not a gossip. His desire is healing and grace - not to gather a group against someone with whom he has a gripe. Such things are to be dealt with face to face with the one with whom you have the problem. Oh, how much would be healed in the church this way. Oh, the damage that would be prevented by walking in such grace and loving truth with each other. But because such wisdom is ignored, relationships are destroyed, friendships and ended, and even churches are split. That is why whenever gossip comes to knock at the door of your soul, you should answer with an angry, enraged countenance that says, "No way! Don't bring that junk in here!"
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you. Proverbs 25:21-22
Here is a proverb that is usually misunderstood because of the phrase that is used in it. The phrase to which I refer is where we are told that we will "heap burning coals on his head," when we are kind to our enemy. Of course, our intial thought is by doing good to our enemy - we will burn his head or melt it. Heaping burning coals on someone usually has that effect - scorching their head. But the phrase that is used does not mean this. It actually is a phrase that speaks of blessing another. Let's take a look at this phrase and how it counsels the wise man to act toward his enemies.
The call for the wise man is to give his enemy food when he is hungry and water if he is thirsty. The reason he is to do this is to act with mercy and with love - even toward someone who considers him an enemy. This is a way that the world sees that we are radically different than they are. We do not seek revenge on our enemies, but rather to show mercy - even as we have been shown mercy by God. It is important for us to remember that at one time we were enemies with God. He did not pour out his wrath upon us, rather He gave us mercy and grace. He had His wrath poured out upon His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ - and instead gives us grace to be made righteous in His sight. Therefore the call to be merciful and loving toward our enemies is a call to be like God Himself.
The problem comes when we look at why we do this. The passage says that by doing this we will pour burning coals upon our enemies - upon their foreheads. When we do this, God rewards us for acting in this way. One view of this is that conviction is in order - and that is what happens when the burning coals are put on our enemies. Thus this phrase is seen as judgment on them - because let's be honest - who wants their forehead burned up with burning coals? But the phrase used here is a Hebraism - a Hebrew expression they would understand - but we would not.
The picture here is of a very loving, very merciful deed toward our enemies. The idea here is of placing coals that are already hot into a clay pot or some other kind of insulated container. That container would then be carried, often on the head, to the person's fire pit, which has been extinguished. They would then take the coals and re-ignite their fire so that they could cook their food. This was a very loving and merciful act on their behalf, because it was not an easy thing to have a fire of coals lit for someone. This act of mercy and love would be very beneficial to the enemy - and would help to melt their hardened heart against the one who acted with such grace.
The wise man knows that winning an enemy is a difficult thing. He also knows that prolonging a fight is not to his advantage unless there is no way to reach his enemy - or his enemy is actively seeking to destroy him. In these cases one must defend himself. But if possible it is better to win over your enemy. There is a picture of this in the book of 2 Kings in the life of Elisha. The king of Aram was furious that Elisha could predict by God's power everywhere the Arameans would prepare to attack Israel. In a rage he sent his entire army to kill Elisha. As the army approached Elisha prayed that they would all be struck blind. Then he led them into Samaria where Israel could destroy them. But look at what God led them to do - and the result.
"When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, “My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?” He answered, “You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them; and when they had eaten and drunk he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the marauding bands of Arameans did not come again into the land of Israel." It would have been easy to destroy the Arameans, but instead God led Elisha to counsel them to feed them with a feast. When they did so - it made their enemies turn away from their destrutive ways - and they no longer sent marauding bands into Israel any longer. Remember this, for it is wisdom of the highest order, mercy triumphs over judgment. Therefore God paid the judgment, and showed us mercy in Christ. Oh that we would be wise enough to do the same with our enemies. When we do, they will see a glorious display of the very gospel that is at the heart of what God is and does among men.
Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart. Proverbs 25:20
There are three things mentioned here in this passage - all three of which are wrong. The first two are examples, while the third is what the proverb is seeking to help us understand is wisdom. This proverb is one that I would call a "considerate" proverb. God is trying to get us to understand what being considerate means. The situation is that of someone who is troubled or sad about a situation or situations in life. The trouble has reached the point of troubling their heart. When this is the case, we need to understand that we need to be gracious and kind. A person who sings songs to someone who it troubled - is being inconsiderate toward the person. They will not think it a blessing to have happy songs sung to them. Even less would be the suggestion that they join in singing, which would then be presented at the perfect thing to help them get out of their emotional doldrums.
This kind of action is compared to someone who takes off their outer garment on a cold day. This would not be a blessing. The person would immediately react negatively to the cold and want to wrap up again. The other instance mentioned is someone who pours vinegar on soda. There would be an instand negative reaction as the soda vinegar mixture would begin bubbling up ruining both the soda and the vinegar. The purpose of giving these two examples if to remind us that as we would think either of them an unwise thing to do - so we should realize that someone who is dealing with a troubled heart should not do so by singing happy songs.
A wise man ministers to someone based on their need - not based on his own feelings at the time. A man is troubled not just because he is not feeling good emotionally. He is troubled because there are genuine issues that are unmet. He needs godly counsel. He needs someone who wants to understand him and the circumstances that have him so troubled. That kind of loving counsel will minister to him effectively.
Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble. Proverbs 25:19
Speaking as a man who has actually had a bad tooth and an unsteady foot, I can say that it must not be a good thing to put confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble. Today's proverb deals with who to trust when times are difficult. The one you want to trust is one who has proven himself faithful - and who has done it over the long haul of life.
A bad tooth is something that is very tricky. I had a tooth that was cracked. It was a hairline crack the entire length of the tooth. This made for a very interesting time eating - and especially drinking something cold. The problem was that the tooth would be fine a lot of the time. It was just when something hit it and opened the hairline crack that things got interesting. My dentist couldn't find it when I went to him about it. He looked and looked, but just couldn't seem to get the hairline to open so that he could see if it was that particular tooth that had gone bad. Then he was able to shoot some liquid where it went into and opened the crack. Needless to say, I began to levitate off the chair in tremendous pain. Thankfully, he was able to remove the tooth - and life has been much better. That experience helps me understand the need for good teeth - not bad.
The same can be easily said for the character of who you trust in a time of trouble. You do NOT want someone who is faithless in that moment. The faithless man is the one who will either run - or possibly even turn on you in trouble. He will not be faithful to stand and fight. He will not be faithful to stand and encourage you. He will not be faithful to stand back to back and watch your back and your blind spots as trouble passes by in life. That man is not to be trusted with your difficulties and trials. For that you want a faithful friend!
Similarly, you don't want someone who is like an unsteady foot. The Hebrew word here specifically speaks of a "slipping" foot. You want a foot that is steady - especially in times of trouble, trial, and storminess in your life. You want to plant your foot and know that it is steady and strong. You want to know that it will not slip - but will be a foundation that though all else is giving way - your foot will be steady. As I said at the begining of today's post - I know something about an unsteady foot. This particular story is somewhat embarassing because it also evidences my propensity for doing some fairly dumb things.
We live in northeast Arkansas - where in the winter we are in the habit of having some pretty nasty ice storms. One winter recently we had a doozy - which dropped about 5-7 inches of ice on us. The problem with ice storms is that they weigh down trees and break their limbs. This ice storm had broken a huge limb off of one of our trees and dropped it into our bedroom. The limb fell in such a way that it pierced through the roof and was sticking through our bedroom ceiling. Seriously lacking wisdom, I made my way onto the roof of our home (which was covered in ice) to get the limb off the roof. With a chainsaw (I know the level of stupidity is rising) and a tree saw, I went to remove the limb. I was able to accomplish this easily and lowered the chainsaw and saw with a rope to the ground. Then I went to get off the roof. The problem was I had pretty much flattened the ice on it to where it made a great slide - which, by the way, is not what you want your roof to be when attempting to get off of it. That is, unless you want to get off quickly - which was what happened to me. What was pretty sure footing on the way up - was not an icy slide on the way down. To say I had an unsteady or slipping foot is an understatement. I survived the fall off the roof onto my driveway (just missing a car hood) and decided that any other limbs could remain as a decorative touch to my roof if they damaged it. I was going to wait until the ice was gone. But, for our purposes today, this was the example of a slipping foot. Not something to trust on an icy roof - or in icy conditions in your life either.
We all are going to face difficulties and trials in life. There will be trouble if we are fallen humans, which we are, in a sinful world - which it is. Therefore there is no need to compound our trials and difficulties by having to rely upon someone who is untrustworthy and unfaithful in the midst of them. This is where you need true friends who are reliable. It is also a reminder to us on an ultimate level to consider Almighty God as the ultimate friend in all circumstances. The false gods of this world will fail you for they are infinitely unfaithful to stand in the ultimate day of trouble - the judgment day. In that day you want the "friend who sticks closer than a brother." You want the Savior whose blood speaks better than the blood of Abel. You want the foundation that will stand when the storms come and the floods burst against the house of your life. You want Jesus Christ - King of kings - Lord of lords - the True and Faithful One Who will stand. And in a lesser, yet very applicable picture for today, you want the Good Tooth and the Steady Foot - both of which Jesus is every day for all eternity. Trust Him - for He will never forsake you - or fail you!
Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor. Proverbs 25:18
Here we have a proverb concerning those who are gossips and false witnesses against their own neighbors. This is clearly seen in the second half of the proverb. The things described at the beginning of the proverb - three in nuimber - are compared to this man who bears a false witness agianst his neighbor. He is a perjuror as he destroys the reputation of the one who lives near him. Let's take a look at the three things used to describe the lying witness.
Three things are used to describe this lying man. The first is a club. The actual word means a maul - which is something akin to our sledge hammer. The second two things are very easy to describe - the sword is actually a double-edged sword - and the final object is a sharp arrow. All three of these things are instruments of destruction and murder. Each though has its method and its pattern of destruction. The reason that we are looking at murder here is because of the words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 5. Jesus said there that if a man is angry with his brother he is guilty of murder. If he calls his brother an empty-head or moron, he is guilty before the highest court of Israel. But it if called his brother a fool, he is in danger of going into the firey hell itself. It is a murderous thing to assassinate the character of your neighbor with your words of false testimony.
The maul or sledge hammer would be used to bludgeon the reputation of one's neighbor. It is a slower, more grotesque death. The lies of this man are not exactly cutting - but they are used again and again to bludgeon the poor man to death. I've watched as these dark blows were struck toward someone. Again and again loose-lipped men would throw ungodly accusations against someone -like the blows of a sledge hammer upon them. The bruises inflicted by these false words would cause the poor man to be bowed down and unable to rise from the bruising of his life.
The sword refers to the words of the wicked man. We are warned elsewhere in the book of proverbs that rash, godless words piece like a sword. These cutting comments can be a tool of the devil to urge us to bitterness and resentment. A sword thrust can pierce our hearts and bring so much damage. When you consider that these sword-thrust-words are false and lying accusations - it is even worse.
The last of the three descriptive terms is a sharp arrow. This was used to shoot straight into the heart - and break and kill it. We are warned to lift up the shield of faith in Ephesians chapter 6 so that we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Since he is known as the Liar and the father of lies, we know that he often wants to shoot us with these lying accustaions and charges. His intent is to wound us or even more likely - kill us. He wants us dead - and will use whatever lies he can to destroy our hearts for God as well as our testimony for Him as well.
The wise man knows of these things and entrusts himself to God to defend and protect him. Jesus faced such things before He went to the cross. He faced those who spoke as with sledge hammer strokes. He faced those who sought to pierce His heart whether with a sword or an arrow. Yet He entrusted Himself to the Lord - knowing that in the end God would vindicate him from all the false charges and lies. Therefore, we know that if Jesus faced such things - we will face them too. It is for this reason that we should prepare our hearts to be falsely accused and falsely charged. A wise man knows this and prepares his heart for what inevitably will be the attacks of the spiritual realms - as well as those who do their bidding and act as their mouthpieces.
Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house, Or he will become weary of you and hate you. Proverbs 25:17
Here is a wise proverb concerning friendship that may seem strange at first glance. Having a friend is a wonderful thing - but there are friends who are what some call, "high-maintenance" people. They are the folks who start out as friends - but who soon so dominate your time that you start feeling like you want to avoid them. Yet the more you pull away - the more they seek to dominate your time. You wind up spending hours listening to them every day - and in the end - you wind up almost hating to see them - see their texts - or see their number come up when you look at your cell phone. This is what God is warning against in this proverb.
Friendship does demand some time spent together. This proverb is not encouraging us to be distant to everyone - and rarely spend time with each other. It is just using hyperbole to warn us against being the "over-needy" friend who seems to have to spend every waking moment with their best bud. The warning is to rarely let your foot be in your neighbor's house. The concept here is actually more that you rarely let your foot be there by your own choosing. What is advised is to be a good friend in life - but to be careful about how often you show up at their house. If you are invited, that is one thing, but when you are coming on your own constantly, it can begin to be a bother to them. Therefore, when it is your choice, be careful, be wise, and be somewhat infrequent. Don't be rude - just let your friend be the one who primarily initiates you coming to their home.
The word "weary" is telling us something important here. It lets us understand the hyperbole that is being employed in this proverb. We need to be careful to not "weary" someone else. The Hebrew word used here is "yisbaacha" and it means to be sated or full to the point of sickness. You know the feeling you get when you have eaten so much that you are about to throw up? That is what is being described here - in fact the same concept was used just a verse earlier to speak of eating too much honey. Now it is being used to describe a friend who spends too much time with you - and you are 'sated' with their presence to the point of being - honestly - sick of them. The warning here though is to us! Don't be that kind of friend. Be a friend naer enough to be a blessing - but yet still far away enough to NOT be an annoyance. It takes a wisdom to be able to discern which you are being.