This verse is taken from:
Proverbs 16. 27-30
Thought of the day for:
17 April 2024

Four kinds of troublemakers are brought before us in these verses and sadly sometimes believers can behave just like them.

The first is ‘An ungodly man’ who plots evil against his neigh­bour, seeking some fault or failure by which to accuse or rob him of his good name, v. 27. Should no such blemish be evident on the surface, this man will search and dig for something as one might seek treasure and then, having found it, will take great pleasure in the discovery. Finding what he sought, his words become like hot coals on his lips that scorch and burn. Matthew Henry wrote, ‘In the lips of a slanderer and backbiter there is as a fire not only to brand a person’s reputation but as burning fire to consume it. How great a matter does a little of this fire kindle and how hardly is it extinguished’, cf. Jas. 3. 5, 6. Can believers act like this? Paul speaks of the possibility of a ‘brother’ being a ‘railer’, 1 Cor. 5. 11, and we know at Corinth some were even going to law, 1 Cor. 6. 6.

The next is ‘A froward man’, one who is crooked and ‘soweth’, or ‘sends forth’, division and strife, v. 28. How does he do that? The fact that he is crooked perhaps suggests that he achieves his aim by distorting the truth or by false accusations and the figure of sowing infers that he has only to plant the seed and then it can be left to do its own work. Strife and division is not unknown amongst believers, and someone must have initially sown the seeds for it, 1 Cor. 1. 10, 11; 3. 3. The third man is A whisperer’ that is ‘a murmurer’ or ‘talebearer’, working subtly behind people’s backs with the potential to separate even intimate friends, v. 28. H. A. Ironside described whispering as, ‘one of the greatest curses among Christians’, something Paul feared he might find if he visited Corinth, 2 Cor. 12. 20. The fourth is A violent man’ one who entices and then draws his neighbour into a path­way where the evil he has been planning and meditating on can be implemented, vv. 29, 30. Can believers display such a spirit? Consider the imagery set before us in the language of James chapter 4 verses 1 and 2.

Here are four mischief-makers. May we take heed lest our own behaviour should reflect some features of any one of them.


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