PROVERB PRACTICALS   fools rush in where wise men fear to tread, proverbs 12:16 audio


Proverbs 12:16, A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame. 

One of the evils of modern culture is its insistence upon toleration.   

We are taught to tolerate from every direction but toleration of all things is not a teaching of Godís word.   

Godís Word teaches discernment and discrimination. 

Discernment meaning the power of the mind, in distinguishing one thing from another, as truth from falsehood.  

And discrimination as the act of making or observing a difference as the discrimination between right and wrong. 

God intends for His children to be both discerning and discriminating. 

And part of being discerning and discriminating is to know if a person is or is not a fool. 

For God tells us much about fools and our responsibility to avoid them for in Proverbs 14:7 we are told to: 

Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.   

And in Proverbs 13:20 God tells us to avoid becoming the companion of fools for He says:  He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. 

Here we see that God encourages us to judge whether or not a man is foolish or is a fool and when we do we are to separate from the man.   

So discernment and discrimination require judging.   

Not in a condemnatory way, for that is Godís responsibility, but in a way that helps us to have the right associations and relationships.

God equips us to know the identifying marks of fools for he tells us in Ecclesiastes 10:14, A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? 

Here we see the mark of a fool as one who is full of empty words about what is to come or what shall come after him.   

What does anyone know about this except what God reveals?   

Our Pastor, just the other day, told me about a man who questioned the building of a senior living facility on our property by fearing what it would become in 35 years.   

My, My, My, what does anyone know about what will take place in one year yet alone 35 years?  

But this declaration was not the only mouth explosion this man offered which declared him to be very close to receiving the title of fool! 


I am certain our Pastor was very ready to crown him!


And God marks another as a fool by his unbelief for a fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. 


In reality he means there is no God for himself. 


He refuses to yield to any God for he chooses to live life apart from such bindings. 


Another mark of a fool is revealed in his steps for he has stumbling and sinful steps. 

Ecclesiastes 10:3 says, Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

A wise man can be sure a foolís wisdom will fail him for he knows Godís truth which says:  Be sure your sin will find you out. 

A fool walking in his own wisdom, might as well get it over with and wear a sign proclaiming himself a fool for that status surely will be revealed.

And as we learned in our last lesson a fool has a stubborn spirit for all that he does is right in his own eyes and therefore he cannot be instructed for Proverbs 15:5 tells us, A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.

And Proverbs 23:9, Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

So God continues providing to us identifying marks of a fool as we take instruction from our proverb lesson today which says:

Proverbs 12:16, A fool's wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.


We are given to know that fools are not good at timing. 


Some say timing is everything. 


The wise man knows what to do, where to do it and when to do it. 


But the fool has problems in all three of these important aspects of life. 


The fool of this proverb believes he has something to be wrathful about and he, being a fool, chooses to express his wrath very soon after an offense occurs. 


There is no thought of anything but wrath and the sooner the wrath is expressed the better. 


He has in his arsenal nothing but wrath.


So no thought of anything but wrath includes no thought whatsoever!


For the fool is not a thinking person with whom a reasonable discourse can be conducted and therefore wrath is his only outlet or weapon.


A fool is known by his wrath means God gives us another mark of the fool. 


A fool is loose with his tongue but Godís children are to have a tongue that is under control. 


When God gives you birth by his Spirit a bridle is available for the tongue and there is no excuse for an unbridled tongue in the mouth of one redeemed by the blood of Christ for Christ gives all the tools necessary.


But the fool has no such bridle at his disposal and is therefore prone to let wrath loose on a momentís notice for he has no control over himself.


He is like that one of Proverbs 25:28 who hath not rule over his own spirit and because of this is compared to a city that is broken down and without walls. 


For such a city is useless and has no protection from enemies who are bent upon destruction.  


And isnít destruction the destiny of fools?


Our proverb speaks of wrath and shame and when it does this, it is using these words as synonyms. 


For one man exercises wrath while another man covers shame. 

In other words our proverbs writer is saying that the foolís wrath reveals shame while the prudent man covers or hides shame. 


Just picture what takes place upon occasion of a foolís wrath for what takes place certainly is shame. 


The words ďShame on youĒ used to be a popular phrase when someone did something shameful.


When someone let passions govern where reason ought to have been. 


Where emotion crushed any possibility of reasoned discussion which could lead to common benefit. 


Even the countenance of the fool reveals the shame of an uncontrolled spirit.  


And what of that which takes place in the poor foolís body as blood vessels are stretched to their limits. 


Nothing good can come about to a man of hasty wrath.


For he is like a man who answers a matter, with wrath, before he hears the matter and the Bible declares it to be folly and shame unto him.


James the Apostle was wise to instruct his brothers and sisters in Christ down through the ages to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.


God in creating us shows this principle by our bodyís very construction for we have twice the ear as we do the mouth. 


So by our physical makeup we ought to listen at least twice as much as we speak. 


It is not good stewardship to waste one asset, the ears, and overuse another, the mouth.   


And if we observe this principle of listening this will naturally place a built in delay mechanism in our speaking patterns and any tendency toward anger we may have.


By the Apostle James writing, be slow to wrath, he is telling us that exercising wrath is a matter of the will.

And the will is of the mind and therefore the mind is to be in control of the mouth[LO1] . [LO2] [LO3] [LO4] 

The mouth must be a servant and taught to await orders from the mind. 

When that occurs the mind will say to the mouth, "Now just a minute, let me think before you open up wide for wrath is not the only answer!


Let me hear what is being said before you engage yourself in wrath.


Let me be the one to give you something to say if I think it right to say anything at all.


But the overall responsibility for a child of God is that the mind, and therefore the mouth, is captured by Christ as the verse that says, Let this mind be in you...,


And that mind is none other than the mind of Christ which is gained by yielding to Godís Spirit and being filled with Godís Word.


And that word will lead to the prayer of Psalm 141:3, Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.


This is the prayer of the prudent man who our proverb tells us covereth shame.


For God answers this prayer by giving this man self-control. 


Those who are given to anger and wrath lack this important attribute. 


For fools have mouths like doors that swing both ways without any stop.


As in Proverbs 29:11, A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.


So we are told that a wise man is circumspect, which means cautious, prudent or careful.  Circum, circle, look at all sides


A wise man thinks before he speaks. 


Our proverb from the New International Version of the Bible reads this way, Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.


A prudent man covers shame, lessens shame, does not puff up and expand shame. 


A prudent man is not one to quickly react to anotherís words but takes in words, chews on words, and gives them his taste test.


Perhaps the taste of the words will begin his emotional engine but he will only allow it to idle and not roar to full speed. 


Certainly there is a time to be angry, for our Lord himself was angry as he drove the money changers out of the temple. 


But we are told to be angry and sin not. 


The prudent man knows this barrier and knows when to give anger its freedom to bring righteousness but he also knows when to lock up anger and throw away the key.  


And he also knows from our Lordís life that letting passions of anger reign is not a common event. 


This prudent man does not cover his wrath in order for it to come later, perhaps in a more controlled or disciplined way after a time of reasoning, but he covers it that he may have time to conquer and defeat it. 


Time to consider where wrath may lead and the unintended consequences that always follow quick responses to offenses.


Time to think on what God says in His word, time to call upon the fruit of the Spirit with which he has been gifted. 


Time to call up love, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and meekness.


Time to think on His Lordís example of grace and mercy.


Time to consider his own testimony, his own contribution to the work of the Lord and what his actions mean to Godís work.


Time to think of his neighborís shame instead of himself and what the spreading of it would mean to his neighbor. 


Time to stop the spread of gossip and rumor which is designed to harm others. 


Time to think that every action of his ought to be used to bring others to Christ that they also may move from the foolish man to the prudent man.


And time to remember that a soft answer turneth away wrath. 


The prudent man always remembers he is a representative of Christ. 


Even in times of stress where wrath may pound on the door, this remembrance must govern. 


He is to remember that his responsibility is to not only subdue his own desires but also to make every effort to bring his adversary to a peaceful place for his safety and profit.


For love covers a multitude of sins.


God gives us in his list of what is important his rating on the prudent man who covers shame.   


For in Proverbs 16:32, we are told:  He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.


The world values the kings, the princes, the mighty, the rich, the warrior, but God clearly tells us here that he that is slow to anger is better than all those that the world lifts up in honor.


Godís word for his children is clear in Romans 12:18-21, 


If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.  Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.


We are to be a peculiar people walking in Godí truth which in itself will reveal that peculiarity to the world.