The Praise Recipient – Proverbs 26:8

Proverbs 26:8 "As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool."

An alternate reading of this verse is, "As he that putteth a precious stone in a heap of stones, so is he that giveth honor to a fool."

H.A. Ironside writes in his commentary on Proverbs that scholars tend to agree that alternate wording is probably not the correct wording. However, both wordings provide a proper understanding of the verse. It is worthless to give a fool honor. Herod in Acts 12:20-23 is an example of a fool who failed to reflect the honor or praise he received to the Lord. Herod had given an oration to the people, and the people gave a shout saying that Herod was in essence not a man, but a god. Immediately, the angel of the Lord smote him with worms that ate his body, and resulted in his death. The praise went to his head rather than God and others.

While praising others for doing something well is not wrong, it is wrong for the person receiving the honor or praise to keep it for themselves. When we are praised, we ought to reflect the praise to God or others that taught us, gave us the ability, or were instrumental in our accomplishment. A fool thinks he is a self-made man, and fails to express gratitude for the work of God and others in his life. Praise goes to a fools head, but a wise, humble man reflects the praise to others (Proverbs 15:33). In Psalm 40:20, the Psalmist describes the man that is in honor but does not have understanding, thus a fool, as the beasts that perish.

Now the application, "Am I foolish or wise? Where does the praise and honor and go when I receive it, to my head or to the Head, Jesus Christ? Am I quick to reflect the praise I receive to another with heartfelt sincerity? When I am complimented, do I look at it as a golden opportunity to praise others?

Do I foolishly give honor to a foolish person? Just think what would have happened if David bound the stones in the sling he was going to use against the lion, the bear, and Goliath who came against him (1 Samuel 17:34-51). He would have been a goner. Those who give praise and honor to a fool endanger themselves, the fool, and others. How are you being wise in giving out words of praise? Where needed, it may be appropriate to compliment a person and at the same time compliment the ones instrumental in their accomplishment."

God bless!

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