Proverbs 12:16

A Fool’s Wrath

16a A fool’s wrath is presently known

1. The fool: one who rejects wisdom;

a. The fool is contrasted to the prudent man in the second half of the verse.

b. The fool is deficient morally—not mentally.

c. In the previous verse, the fool was characterized by being “right in his own eyes.” Nobody can tell him anything—because he thinks he’s always right.

d. Now we’re told that this fool is also characterized by making known his wrath.

2. Wrath: anger; grief; frustration; vexation; provoked; annoyed.

a. This term includes more than just anger…

b. It is a term used to describe several emotions—frustration; anger; grief of heart; being provoked.

c. Solomon is describing the fact that if somebody provokes a foolish man… the fool displays his anger… he blows up.

d. How is a man provoked?
• Insults…
• Attempting to show him his errors… trying to correct him…
• An argument over an issue…
• Cutting him off in traffic…
• A boss telling him to do a task he doesn’t like doing…
• Seeing someone else elevated above him…
• Run out of gas…
• A delivery comes late…
• Washing machine breaks…
• Snow blower won’t start…
• There are countless ways in which a man might be provoked to anger… or insulted… put down… slandered…annoyed…

3. The fool’s wrath is presently known.

a. Presently: time; today; now; in that day; at that time;
• He lets his wrath or frustration be known instantly!
• Prov. 14:17 – He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly…
• He gets mad in a hurry and he displays it in a hurry.
• Prov. 14:29 – hasty of spirit… he instantly reacts to his anger or frustration… in doing so, he exalts folly.

b. Known: manifested; displayed; perceived; made known; declared.
• When a fool is mad, everybody knows it… right away.
• He doesn’t hold his anger in. He lets it rip… right in front of everyone… no matter where he is.

4. He exercises no self control; no self restraint;

a. Prov. 25:28 – He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
• This is a pitiful condition…
• He is a slave to his emotions… to his anger… frustration…
• Like a city broken down and without walls.
» City walls were its first line of defense… to protect the city from the enemy.
» A man who cannot control his emotions is like a defenseless city… easily overcome by the enemy!
» No line of defense—the enemy can march in and take over at will!
• All it takes is a little something to go wrong and he blows up.
» All it takes is a minor incident, and he looses it—because he has no control over his own spirit…
» The smallest annoyance sends him into a rage…
» At the tiniest insult or dig and he explodes and turns it into an all out war!
» He’s like a city without walls… defenseless against the enemy: himself!

b. Prov. 29:11 – a fool utters all his mind… wise men don’t. Wise men use restraint. (No control of his tongue either…)
• I wish I had a nickel for every person who has said in one form or another, “I’m the kind of guy who says what he’s thinking. If I don’t like something I let you know! If something’s on my mind, I say it!”
• Thinking that he is the macho, cowboy type to be admired…
• In reality, he is more like the fool who utters all his mind.

c. This poor fool has no control over his spirit… his inner man.
• He can’t control his tongue… and suffers for it…
• He can’t control his anger… and suffers for it…
• He can’t control his emotions… and everyone around him suffers for it!

5. This is the behavior of a fool.

a. He always thinks he’s right…that his way is the best way…

b. And if anyone tries to tell him otherwise, he gets upset… and everyone hears about it… NOW!

c. “I’m mad and everybody around me is going to pay for it!”

d. Road rage; loud arguments in the parking lot.

e. It can lead to murder; to divorce; to a ruined life…

f. It’s a miserable way to live… a slave to our fallen nature.

16b But a prudent man covereth shame.

1. When a prudent man is angry, provoked, or insulted, he covers his anger.

a. He doesn’t make a big deal of the insult.

b. He is not thin skinned… easily bruised.

c. If someone tries to shame him, insult him, or hurt him, or annoy him — he ignores it… turns the other cheek… covers it up…

d. This is a demonstration of the grace of God at work in the heart.

e. This is the way of wisdom… the prudent man.

f. Prudent: subtle, shrewd, crafty, sly, sensible…

g. He is subtler about that which annoys him.

h. There are better ways to deal with insults… provocations… and annoyances.

i. Blowing up; making a scene; losing one’s temper; are hardly examples of subtlety.

j. He sees it as shameful behavior to explode. That kind of shameful behavior ought not to be displayed… but rather buried!

2. Shame:

a. What is the shame that is covered?
• Anger; outward expressions of wrath; frustration.

b. The prudent man knows that anger is shameful… and SHOULD be covered up… not expressed.

c. The wise man is ashamed of anger in his own breast… and refuses to let it speak out…

d. Anger loves to lash out in loud, boisterous ways… shameful ways.

e. The wise man refuses to vent it.

3. Wisdom demands that anger be COVERED.

a. This is the opposite of what psychology says.

b. They say, “let it out.” “Express it” or it will damage you internally… like a pressure cooker—you have to let out the steam eventually or it will blow up and create much damage.

c. Solomon says that the heart of man is NOT like a pressure cooker.

d. Solomon says that anger is not to be publicly expressed in a loud explosion, but covered up.

6. How Hannah handled provocation…

a. I Sam. 1:6 – Hannah’s adversary provoked her…

b. Provoked – same term as “wrath” (provocation)…

c. Elkanah had 2 wives (not a good idea.)
• Peninnah had children… and provoked Hannah, who had none.
• Provocation: insulted her; tried to put her down; grieved her heart.
• It had to do with the fact that Hannah had no children; a sensitive and sore spot… Peninnah attacked her and tried to provoke her into a fight… to grief… to hurt her…
• Vs. 7 – this went on for years…

d. Hannah’s response
• Vs. 7b – she wept and fasted… but did not strike back.
• 1:15-16 – Hannah took her provocation (wrath/grief) to the Lord…
• Her wrath or provocation was NOT presently known. She didn’t blast the one provoking her.
• Rather, she controlled her spirit… took her frustrating experience to the Lord… and trusted in Him.
• Hannah was a prudent woman.

7. II Chron. 16:10 – How Asa handled provocation…

a. Vs. 7 – Hanani the seer came to rebuke Asa for having relied upon the king of Syria rather than the Lord.

b. Vs. 10 – Asa’s response: his wrath was presently known—and God’s prophet was put in prison and the people oppressed!

c. Asa, (of whom it was written—his heart was perfect before the Lord) at this moment of weakness, acted like the fool.

d. He refused to take counsel… thought his way was right… refused correction… and when corrected went into a rage.

e. He was angry—and everyone around him suffered!

f. Even godly men can behave like fools… when we refuse correction… and when we refuse to control our emotions.

g. And how damaging to our testimony when believer’s wrath is presently known!

8. Prov. 16:32 – He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

a. The man who was HASTY to anger… who could not control his spirit… the man whose wrath and frustration is presently known is like a city broken down and without walls—on easily conquered.

b. But the man who is SLOW to anger… who covers shame… ignores insults and countless other infractions daily… is not easily conquered. He is the conqueror—like a mighty man who takes over a city!

c. It is a far better quality to be able to have victory over one’s own SELF… to conquer one’s own emotions… than it is to be able to conquer a city.