Proverbs 24-26
(Like a Cloud Without Rain)
July 7th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

- Proverbs 25:14 (KJV)

Summary of Chapters

Proverbs 24 concludes the collection of chapters called “Sayings of the Wise,” and also begins and ends the next collection, called “Further Sayings of the Wise.”

The underlying themes at the end of “Sayings of the Wise” include many references to restraint and personal strength when responding to evil and wicked men. The audience for these proverbs are advised to not envy the wicked, nor gloat when they fall, or fret when they succeed. And most of all, the audience is advised to not join the rebellion. The “Sayings of the Wise” consists of eleven verses. The main focus is on honesty, priorities, and hard work. The author says to

    Put your outdoor work in order
        and get your fields ready;
        after that, build your house.

    - Proverbs 24:27 (NIV)

The following section in verses 30-34 describes some obvious signs of a sluggard in residence: A vineyard full of weeds, a broken stone wall (or fence), and other indicators. The sorry state of the fields told the story of this person who did not make the effort to produce good fruit.

Chapter 25 begins a new section called “More Proverbs from Solomon.” The first verse attributes the scribing to the men of Hezekiah, a righteous king who ruled many generations after Solomon (see 2 Kings 18:1 to 20:21). Many of the verses in this chapter refer to use of words for good or bad. For example, Solomon warns of hastily bringing someone to court and of not betraying a confidence to support an argument against a neighbor. Solomon also warns the readers not to boast of something for which they cannot deliver:

    Like billowing clouds that bring no rain
        is the person who talks big but never produces.

    - Proverbs 25:14 (MSG)

Solomon then uses another weather analogy to describe a misuse of the tongue: “A north wind brings stormy weather, and a gossipy tongue stormy looks (Prov 25:23 - MSG).” But words can be used for good, as noted in various places, such as verse 11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver (Prov 25:11 - KJV).”

The chapter concludes with two thoughts on self-restraint. One cautions the audience not to seek honor for themselves and the second warns of the consequences of lack of restraint: “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control (Prov 25:28 - NIV).”

In Chapter 26, Solomon addresses the mistakes and follies of fools, sluggards, meddlers, and gossips. He uses illustrations to point out the pointlessness and dangers of engaging with fools to attempt to teach them wisdom, give them errands, or honor them. The sluggard sees danger but does nothing about it, turns in his bed but never rises, and puts is hand in a food dish but “he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth (Prov 26:15 - NIV)."

Reflection and Application

How can we develop the personal restraint that is described in this set of Proverbs? Perhaps we can achieve it by training ourselves to observe the boundaries described here – not to worry if the wicked fail or succeed, but focus on our own calling and trust in God to serve justice all around.

If we listen for guidance from God before speaking, we may have a better chance of using our vocal cords for more good than bad, as advised by the author in these proverbs. We ought to seek to use our words to build up, not tear down. The Apostle Paul emphasizes this point in his letter to the Ephesians:


    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

    - Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

Another way to use our vocal cords for good is to have the integrity to follow through on our own words. If we make a promise – we have to deliver on it, so we should think carefully before making a commitment, and then move heaven and earth to fulfill it.

We are also well-advised to avoid the ways of the lazy sluggard that are described in many of the Proverbs, such as the scene of the presumed lazybones in residence described in 24:30-34. The lazy person does not make use of what has been given him or her, and makes no effort towards their earthly or heavenly responsibilities. They are unreliable and make excuses for their lack of effort. There is a consequence for the sluggish attitude. The authors of Proverbs describe all of these traits, and Jesus drives the point home in his parable of the talents. Several men are given sums of money to invest. Each man did their best according to their abilities, but the one who received the smallest did nothing with it, and his meager talent was taken away (see Matthew 25:14-28 for the full story).

God wants to see us make our best effort. He doesn't measure us by the rate of return on our investment or the number of people who have joined a church or a bible study. He's not concerned with an earthly measure of success or failure. He measures by what's in our heart. If God can see it all, then what hope is there for the lazybones? Is there a cure for this disease?

There is the mercy of our LORD and the well of strength that he offers us when we are tired and worn-out. Maybe we get lazy because we are over-worked or overwhelmed or discouraged and need a rest. Let us take the yoke of Jesus and let him guide us and help us when we are weak and let him teach us when to rest.

For further reflection on words to build up, we recommend an essay by Ted Sexton on the Sharpening Iron website: "Do your words build up or tear down?"

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions

    1. What have been some of the promises made to you that have been broken?
    2. How can we identify the fools with whom we whould not associate?
    3. How can we determine which promises to make and which not to make?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven we know that you deserve our best at everything we do. Help us follow through on our commitments and do all things as if working for you.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Farmers waiting for rain

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Proverbs 27-29 (Do Not Boast About Tomorrow)

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