A Fool’s Lips
BEHAVIOR: A fool’s lips enter into contention
A. A Fool’s Lips
1. This refers to the SPEECH of a fool… foolish talk… unwise words
a. Solomon mentions “lips” 43 times in Proverbs as a reference to speech.
b. Solomon uses the word “tongue” 19 times.
c. Solomon mentions the “mouth” 52 times in Proverbs.
d. Solomon mentions “words” 46 times.
e. If they were all spread out evenly, that would be over 5 times in every chapter.
f. SPEECH is a huge subject in the book of Proverbs.
g. Evidently God knows that this is a subject we need to hear and hear and hear over again.
h. We open our mouths every few minutes… some folks more than others… and often we open it without thinking first.
i. We would do well to consider what Solomon has to say about our lips and mouths, and the words that pour out of them.
2. Solomon had much to say about the WORDS of a fool.
a. Ecc. 10:14 – he is FULL of words.
• He is like a large tank… full to overflowing.
• The fool is like a large reservoir of words…
• Some might think of this as a reservoir—others might refer to it as a cesspool…
• James says the tongue is a world of iniquity!
• But it is FULL—that’s the point here.
b. Prov.15:2 – folly pours out of his mouth.
• This folly gushes out… a continual flow…
• The fool is FULL of words… and he doesn’t hold any of them back. They gush out.
• Hence, there is lots of opportunity for contention.
c. Prov. 29:11 – he utters all his mind.
• In other words, he doesn’t stop to THINK about what he’s saying. He just blurts it all out.
• His words are constantly pouring out… and they are not well thought out.
• Speaking without thinking is what is described here.
• That is a recipe for disaster—which is the point of this proverb.
B. Enters Into Contention
1. Contention: strife; controversy; dispute; quarrel; hostility; fighting; arguing.
a. In other words, his big mouth and his ever flapping tongue get him in trouble.
b. This is the main point of this proverb.
c. A fool has moral folly in his heart. He pours it out… and the result is strife.
d. Thus, wherever the fool goes, he leaves strife and contention in his wake.
2. Enters: to go in; to make linear movement towards something.
a. When he opens his mouth, what he says LEADS to controversy, trouble, strife, and contention.
b. The fool because of his big mouth ENTERS into arguments all the time…
c. The things that come out of his mouth constantly DIRECT him toward controversy and strife.
d. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. (Prov.26:21)
e. He LOVES contention, so he keeps on spouting out words to keep the flames of contention going.
f. This implies that he STIRS up contention by his words.
3. He may or may not be SEEKING to enter into contention, but nevertheless, that is the RESULT of his speech.
a. His words PROVOKE contention and fighting.
b. On occasion, the fool didn’t MEAN to start contention, but he did because he didn’t THINK about what he was saying… how it would be interpreted… how offensive it was… how insulting and cruel it was… how untimely it was… or how unnecessary it was…
c. Fools utter all their mind… they blurt out whatever thoughts come to mind…
d. That is exceptionally dangerous because what comes out of a fool’s mouth came from his evil heart.
e. Very often unkind or evil thoughts enter our minds. Those thoughts should never be blurted out… they should be confessed!
f. The fool blurts them out and without thinking about the consequences, finds himself in contention… in the midst of turmoil…
4. There are various WAYS in which his lips get him in trouble.
a. Prov. 10:18 – The fool hides hatred; he is a slanderer.
• This is guaranteed to create contention.
• He hides hatred in his heart from the one he hates.
• BUT—he goes about slandering… putting him down before others.
• This will certainly cause him to ENTER into contention.
• Sooner or later the person he slanders will find out what he has been saying… and war will break out.
• He may THINK he is hiding his hatred, but it will soon be discovered.
• His big mouth creates controversy and contention.
b. Prov. 12:18 – He uses his tongue like a sword to fight – to hurt.
• Fools use their tongues to hurt people… to lash out… to strike…
• It is as or more painful as the piercing of a physical sword.
• When a fool behaves this way—lashing out cruelly at others, he can expect others to lash back at him.
• Hence, when he opens his mouth—he CREATES contention.
• You can’t stab someone with a sword, you should expect them to fight back… it’s human nature.
• When you stab someone with a sword—or with the sword of your tongue you are PICKING a fight!
• You are ENTERING into contention… and no one is going to feel sorry for you if you get clobbered and torn to shreds.
• Once you stab someone with a sword, you have created a DEEP wound… that takes a long time to heal.
• And when we speak rashly, without thinking, and stab someone with our tongue, you can’t UNDO a stab wound. It takes time to heal.
• Fools speak without thinking… speak harsh, painful words… and don’t realize how much damage they are doing… but lash out anyway.
• As a result of their RASH words… they are constantly ENTERING into contention.
c. Prov. 14:3 – Pride comes out of his mouth.
• Pride comes out of his mouth because it was in his heart.
• Fools are characterized by pride… self will… me first… I demand my own way.
• That too is a recipe for disaster.
• ONLY by pride cometh contention! (Prov. 13:10)
• When the fool blurts out words of self centered pride… the result is always contention.
• Where there’s smoke there’s fire; where there’s pride, there’s contention.
d. Prov. 20:3 – he is a meddler.
• Fools meddle. It is their nature.
• Meddle: inclined to be hostile and opposing toward another; open, active, resistance toward someone.
• It is not just sticking your nose into someone’s business… but doing so to OPPOSE… and be hostile.
• The fool meddles by gossiping, slandering, spreading rumors… and this is done with an evil intention.
• The fool who uses his lips to meddle and be hostile towards others will naturally find himself ENTERING into contention—stirs up the pot—everywhere he goes.
5. A fool’s lips enter into contention.
CONSEQUENCES: And his mouth calleth for strokes
1. His behavior, namely what he says, CALLS for strokes.
a. Simply put: He opens his mouth, he causes arguments, and he therefore deserves a whipping!
b. This thought needs to be understood in light of the first part of the proverb.
c. The strokes are in retribution for the contention he stirred up with his mouth.
2. In other words, there are CONSEQUENCES for this kind of behavior.
a. If you are such a fool who stirs up contention with your big mouth—expect some backlash.
b. A fool might get away this kind of folly for a while, but eventually, someone will take him to task for his behavior… someone will hold him accountable for the trouble he created.
c. Prov. 19:29 – Judgment and stripes are what he deserves. Scornful, hateful, slanderous words will catch up to you sooner or later.
d. If you use your tongue like a sword and go around lashing out at people, eventually, you’re going to have to pay a price.
e. Depending on the circles you are traveling in, that “whipping” could mean losing your job; it could mean losing your front teeth; a law suit; a gangster style assassination; loss of friends; getting beat up out of revenge… or publicly castigated on the six o’clock news.
f. If you use your tongue to stir up the pot, eventually, you are going to get a whipping.
g. Prov.17:20 – a perverse tongue falls into mischief… of one form or another.
h. Prov.13:3 – the fool who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
3. If we like a fool, open our mouths and create contention, we will PAY for it… one way or another.
a. He not only stirs up trouble and contention for others—those around him… he creates trouble for himself.
b. This is a good warning for us all—because we all have lips, tongues, and mouths… and the potential for trouble is always present.
(Prov. 10:14 – a fall!
Prov.12:13 – snared
Ecc. 10:12 – will swallow him up)