PROVERB PRACTICALS Whirlwinds, Vinegar, Smoke, Proverbs 10:25,26, audio
Proverbs 10:25,26, As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
God is so good to us in His word for He provides us word pictures which help us to understand His instruction.
Today we are to ponder in our minds the action of a whirlwind and the action of a foundation.
Now pondering is not daydreaming or wondering but it means to view with deliberation; to examine, to compare and know what the differences are between two of more ideas, actions or things.
Much of life has to do with the act of pondering for we even ponder when we select a pair of socks or a pair of shoes.
The word ponder is from the same word where we get the word "pound".
It means to weigh in the mind, it means to compare with a standard.
Ponder is an action word, its activity resulting in action.
True pondering results in change.
Pondering takes place whenever you drive a car.
You weigh your direction in your mind against the standard of the roadway and you turn your steering wheel to conform to the standard.
Donít ponder your path and you will end up in the ditch.
So pondering is comparing the circumstances or consequences of an event, or the importance of the reasons for or against a decision and making a change to conform to the standard.
The Book of Proverbs is prominent in its call to ponder so today we are to ponder a whirlwind and a foundation, tow things not usually connected.
Whirlwinds are very prominent in our lives for most likely all of us have had experiences with the many hurricanes that this area has faced in each of our lifetimes.
While serving in the Navy, I brought my family to this area in August, 1969 and a few days after arriving we faced the mighty force of Hurricane Camille as it bore down on the Gulf coast.
Fortunately our area was not hit hard but since that time we have gone through Hurricanes Frederick, Erin, Opal, Ivan and Dennis and have prepared for others that did not end up coming this way.
We have never fled the area but stayed to see the power of the whirlwind, first hand.
Each hurricane seemed to get more intense in its wind velocity and damage capability.
And each one had taught me that Godís power as shown by His weather is beyond manís capability to do anything but hunker down or run to try to escape the ravages of the storm.
We have seen great trees fall, we have seen the trees stripped bare of leaves, we have seen the devastation to our area that has taken months to undo.
We have had enough excitement for a lifetime and wish to never see the whirlwind again.
Now the other image that God tells me to ponder is the image of a foundation.
Being a civil engineer I have had experience in foundations and know the importance of foundations to the success of a construction project.
Whirlwinds are blustery and make a big entrance but foundations are hidden things and most times are not even
thought of or remembered.
But foundations are the most important part of a building for without the foundation the superstructure, regardless of its beauty or its strength will not stand.
Whirlwinds come along with all their fury but cause little damage to a foundation.
The building will fall down but the foundation is already down in the ground and no wind will move it.
My daughter who knows buildings of Mississippi showed me a building whose owner scrimped on the foundation.
He did not like so much money going to that which no one could see.
So instead of digging deep and broad he dug shallow and narrow and then built a beautiful tall residence with plantation columns and imposing windows and doors and attachments.
But he forgot that the house was built on Yazoo Clay which is famous for its ability to expand up to 200% in wet times and contract to its former size in times of drought.
Such expansion and contraction plays havoc with foundations which are supposed to stay put and not be pushed around by the surrounding soil.
So now the building is hemming and hawing and yinging and yanging, doors are stuck, windows wonít open, walls are cracking and the building as it creaks almost laughs at the builder.
He was more interested in what people could see then in his house lasting with a good foundation for many years to come.
This of course is Satanís way.
Appearance is everything so why waste time and money on that which is not seen and most of the foundation is not seen.
So pondering this proverb brings us to conclude that the wicked make a great noise, they hustle and bustle, trying to make a name for themselves which will last the march of time, but like a whirlwind they are presently gone, they pass and are no more.
As Psalm 37:10 reminds us, For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
And Psalm 37:35,36, I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
And Job 20:5-9 wrote, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.
The big splash is over for the wicked.
Any happiness and any fame that he or she may have in this life is simply fleeting as the whirlwind is fleeting.
The contrast is stark for the wicked come and the wicked go without any lasting or eternal effect.
but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
The righteous, like the foundation of a building which is low and hidden, make no show, they are hidden in this world, out of sight, rubbish as far as this world is concerned.
But they are fixed in the foundation that cannot be moved, that cannot by affected by any whirlwind or any force anywhere.
They are in the foundation that no man can lay, the foundation that is Jesus Christ.
Christ is the righteous man's foundation, and he is the only one, the ever lasting foundation.
1 Corinthians 3:11 tells us of His singularity, For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church, the body of Christ, the rock on which the church is built.
He is the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on which their lives were laid, and by whom they are saved.
He is the foundation of every believer who is rooted and built up on him.
He is the foundation of our faith, hope, love, peace, and joy.
He is the foundation which is sure, and the one who will never fail.
This foundation is eternal and unmovable and in this foundation the righteous cleave to God and cannot be moved.
The righteous have built their home upon a rock and no storm shall move them.
Jesus so aptly put this truth in Matthew 7:24,25, Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
So now we move on in Proverbs 10 to verse 26 and again ponder two things, vinegar and smoke.
Proverbs 10:26, As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
What does vinegar do to the teeth? What does smoke do to the eyes?
Whatever they do, so does the sluggard to them that send him.
Smoke irritates the eyes and causes the eyes to smart, preventing clear and distinct vision.
Smoke in the eyes brings disorientation and can even cause you to lose your balance and fall.
It is extremely irritating to the eyes, and the body is so designed to be completely intolerant of smoke.
No one, absolutely no one can build up a tolerance of heavy smoke for the body is not designed to do that.
The body is designed to be irritated by smoke.
What about vinegar? Now vinegar is fine in its place.
It does a good job of flavoring foods and making pickles.
But vinegar should not be in the mouth for the mouth is extremely intolerant of vinegar.
Here is a challenge. Will anyone here volunteer to drink a small sample of vinegar.
We ought to know first hand how irritating it is in order to understand how irritated we should be when it comes to the sluggard who does not do his job.
When taking a drink of vinegar you will soon learn about vinegar to the teeth by just taking one mouthful.
Mouths will not tolerate vinegar.
Your mouth will be rebel and get rid of that vinegar as quickly as possible.
Your teeth will not be happy either as they will feel like they are getting soft.
For they immediately start to pickle.
The acidity of vinegar causes an unpleasant and bitter taste.
It causes pain to the teeth and it starts softening and dissolving the alkali of the bone and impairs the texture of the teeth.
Given enough time the vinegar would bring the teeth to a condition useless for chewing!
Smoke and vinegar in the wrong place can not be tolerated.
Smoke and vinegar in the wrong place is extremely irritating
And so is a sluggard to them that send him.
God wants us to know his heart about faithlessness.
So he paints this picture of common ordinary things of life that are extremely irritating and compares those things to one who is not faithful.
We do not tolerate smoke in the eyes or vinegar against the teeth and neither should we tolerate faithlessness.
Picture a servant being sent on a mission.
He is expected to carry out that mission but he is a sluggard.
He is not dependable.
He is a continual aggravation and a loss to those who employ him.
He is like the servant who was given one talent, according to his several ability.
His master knew that he had the ability to do something with the talent otherwise he wouldn't have given him the talent.
But this servant was afraid to fail and blamed his fear on the master.
I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strowed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
What was the master's reaction?
Why the master was intolerant of that servant!
His intolerance was such that he was shocked by one who would not do what was expected.
His shock turned to anger for he was extremely irritated at the servant.
I mean extremely irritated that the servant brought him no profit!
He was much more irritated than we would be because he fully expected that servant to bring him a profit instead of burying that talent for many months.
He was as irritated as if he had gargled his teeth with vinegar or had opened his eyes to heavy smoke.
Did he give that slothful servant another chance?
Did he try to make excuses for him?
Did he look into his background and consider from where he came?
No, because he did that before he gave him the one talent.
He wouldn't have given him the one talent if he did not think he was able to increase that talent and bring in a profit.
No, this experience revealed to the master that his servant was slothful and the master was intolerant of sloth.
Therefore he took the talent from him and gave it to the one who was faithful and he ordered that unprofitable servant to be cast into outer darkness.
There was weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The weeping was the servant who was cast into outer darkness blinded by the smoke of sloth.
But the gnashing of teeth was probably by the master who would not put up with an irritation of one so faithless.
The master would not permit the vinegar and the smoke of sloth to be around him.
He was intolerant of sloth, intolerant of faithlessness!
This is good intolerance, this is Biblical intolerance, this is holy intolerance, because each of us has been given a talent to use to bring a profit to the Master.
We ought to be intolerant of anything that keeps us or other servants of God from doing that.
It is this intolerance that ought to move us to do something for God and to be a profitable servant, not one who is a sluggard to them that send him.
We are to be the faithful messenger of Proverbs 25:13, As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.
God is looking for those on whom he can depend, those who are in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.
That is the kind of servant that refreshes the soul of his master.