“Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart” Proverbs 26:24 ESV
In our last message in Proverbs 26, we considered the plight and destiny of the fool. Solomon had mentioned the fool and warned about him several times in his discourse up to this point, but this chapter highlights foolishness in a greater concentration. The first twelve verses mention foolishness more than any other section in the book. We left our message with a glimpse of hope, however, as we were reminded that, though the picture may be grim, hope still remains for a fool; in fact there is more hope for him than the self-righteous.
Toward that end, our response is at least two fold: do not be foolish and learn how to interact with fools. One may think that at this point, Solomon would change the subject, but instead the Spirit inspires him to delve even deeper into the characteristics and types of fools. Chapter 26 continues until verse 28, and there we encounter specific fools such as the sluggard (13-16), the meddler (17), the deceiver (18-19), the quarreler (20-21), and the whisperer (20, 22). As in our previous message, the application for us as believers is to not mimic any of these behaviors as well as to understand how to interact with each type of fool.
But as usual Solomon’s loving admonition to his sons goes deeper than just a list of what to do and what not to do. Verses 23 through 28 shift from foolish behavior to the source of such foolishness. While foolish living is manifested through behaviors such as laziness, nosiness, gossiping, fighting, and deceiving, the root of these things is hatred. Verse 25 reveals that such hatred can be “covered up” by foolishness, but at the end of the day, such a fool harbors hatred in his heart.
Disobedience to God and sins against others manifest from a heart that is unloving toward God and man. You may not think that you hate God or hate someone when you sin, but the Bible says otherwise. Foolish living is a manifestation of hatred toward God, his truth, and his people. A proper understanding of the love of God will remedy this sinful tendency in our lives.