Proverbs 26

The Three Stooges.

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” ­– Proverbs 16:11 NLT

I used to hate watching The Three Stooges even as a kid. Why? Because they were so stupid. Even as a young boy I couldn’t believe three adult men could be that dumb. It drove me crazy to watch them continually get themselves into situations that resulted in pain, embarrassment and humiliation. Maybe it was because I hated all three of these things in my own life that I couldn’t stand seeing it lived out right before my eyes. I wanted to scream at these three hapless and helpless guys to wake up and smell the coffee. They didn’t have to live that way. They could have prevented all the things happening to them. But they were too stupid, lazy and, at least in the case of Moe, just too mean.

When I read this collection of proverbs I can’t help but picture Moe, Larry and Curly . To me, those three guys provide a wonderful living illustration of the individual described in these verses. For the most part Moe, Larry and Curly were naive, unteachable, untrustworthy, and not very bright. Yet, they were clueless to their own ignorance. In fact, they thought they were pretty smart. They were always coming up with new business ventures: launderers, plumbers, painters, movers, even bakers. But everything they did resulted in failure and disaster. Anyone who hired them lived to regret it. Anyone who did business with them was always disappointed. Watching them was at times humorous, but more often than not, painful. Solomon says, “Trusting a fool to convey a message is as foolish as cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!” (Proverbs 26:6 NLT). You wouldn’t hire one of Stooges. You wouldn’t dare give them an important message to deliver, or share a secret with them and expect them to keep it confidential. Why? Because these guys were incompetent, lazy, and undeserving of trust. Solomon seems to be painting for us a stereotyped, over-the-top portrait of just such an individual. It’s easy to read these proverbs and see them as descriptions of someone who doesn’t really exist. But each of us carries these characteristics inside of us at all times. There probably is not anyone who lives out these characteristics 24-7, 365 days a year, but how often do we all exhibit the qualities of a fool at one time or another? How frequently do we allow laziness to show up in our lives and impact our decision making? And how many times have we tried to fool others into believing we were something other than what we really were on the inside? None of us would ever want to be thought of as a stooge or an imbecile. We would hate to think that others viewed us as lazy, deceptive, untrustworthy, two-faced, stupid, argumentative or contentious. Yet when we live our lives without God as our focus and the Word of God as our guide, that is exactly how we can come across. You see, the fool is simply an individual who lives as if there is no God. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t believe in God, he just lives his life in such a way that it is as if God does not exist. That’s what makes him a fool. When I attempt to live my life and leave God out of the mix, it never turns out well for me. Sure, I could still end up successful. I could still make money, marry a wonderful person, live a good life, and have all the trappings of material success. But how many successful people do we all know who are foolish, lazy, untrustworthy, a danger to themselves and others, and generally deceptive?

The remedy for all the problems listed in these verses is God. He alone can make the fool wise, the lazy person diligent, and the deceptive person worthy of trust. Moe, Larry and Curly couldn’t help but be what they were – stooges. They offer us a perfect caricature of mankind devoid of God: Simpleminded, lacking in discernment, wise in their own eyes, prone to laziness, and harmful to all those around them – all the while being being unaware of their own shortcomings. Yet Solomon gives us the secret remedy to all these problems – the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7) – a reverence for God and a willing submission to His Word and His will. That is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom; and the key to not living your life like a stooge.

Father, how many times have I lived my life like Moe, Larry and Curly? I can be so self-confident and wise in my own eyes, but because I choose to leave You out of the equation, I can end up making some really stupid decisions, that not only end up harming me, but everyone around me. Open my eyes and help me understand what is means to fear You. I want to be wise, trustworthy, diligent, and live my life in truth, not deception. Only You make that possible. Give me an increasing love for Your Word and a growing desire to do Your will. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org