Proverbs 26:1 – “Things That Are and Ought Not To Be”

honor for a foolI observe many things in our society that are out-of-place, inappropriate and disconcerting.  In a manner of speaking– things that ought not to be!   That thought is the subject of Proverbs 26:1 – “As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour [glory; wealth] is not seemly [fitting; becoming] for a fool [silly; stupid; self-confident; having knowledge of God, but rejecting Him].”

Solomon states the obvious: Snow has no place in summer, and rain is catastrophic during harvest time.  Cold and snow kill seedling plants, while rain hinders reaping the harvest.  The practical application of Solomon’s observations is summed up in these words: “…so honour is not seemly for a fool” (26:1c).

We live in a misguided culture that honors men and women who do not deserve the pedestal of a role model. The foolishness and lack of character of today’s heroes has become legendary.  Young professional athletes are lauded for their achievements and then defrocked for using performance-enhancing drugs, but only after amassing wealth and the following of a generation of young people.

The music industry shapes Justin Biebera singer’s brand, promoting and awarding a hollow image while enriching them, their sponsors and music labels.  “Justin Bieber-types” glorify and epitomize a lifestyle of debauchery and self-destructive hedonism, earning a following of foolish adolescents that idolize them.

Promoting the unseemly has become a common practice for the American public.  We elect men and women, honor them with our trust, and act amazed when their bankrupt character brings disgrace to the office.   Even the most prestigious awards are not exempt from heaping honor where it is unearned and undeserved. Obama and NobelRemember when newly elected President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, not for an achievement, but supposedly based upon His vision?  Even more unseemly, in my opinion, was the President accepting an award he had not earned!

What is an application of this proverb of things that ought not to be? 

When we honor and praise someone who is undeserving, we demean the honor and our praise is vain.  The apostle Paul encouraged Christians living in Rome, Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:7).

Words of praise and honors can be powerful incentives, but only as long as they have merit and tangible meaning. 

Proverbs 25:11 – A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith