November 20, 2022 READING A PROVERB A DAY (PROVERBS 20) Bill Elliff on Proverbs 20

Proverbs 20 New Living Translation

20 Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls.
    Those led astray by drink cannot be wise.

The king’s fury is like a lion’s roar;
    to rouse his anger is to risk your life.

Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor;
    only fools insist on quarreling.

Those too lazy to plow in the right season
    will have no food at the harvest.

Though good advice lies deep within the heart,
    a person with understanding will draw it out.

Many will say they are loyal friends,
    but who can find one who is truly reliable?

The godly walk with integrity;
    blessed are their children who follow them.

When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,
    distinguishing the bad from the good.

Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart;
    I am pure and free from sin”?

10 False weights and unequal measures[a]
    the Lord detests double standards of every kind.

11 Even children are known by the way they act,
    whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.

12 Ears to hear and eyes to see—
    both are gifts from the Lord.

13 If you love sleep, you will end in poverty.
    Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!

14 The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It’s worthless,”
    then brags about getting a bargain!

15 Wise words are more valuable
    than much gold and many rubies.

16 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt.
    Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.[b]

17 Stolen bread tastes sweet,
    but it turns to gravel in the mouth.

18 Plans succeed through good counsel;
    don’t go to war without wise advice.

19 A gossip goes around telling secrets,
    so don’t hang around with chatterers.

20 If you insult your father or mother,
    your light will be snuffed out in total darkness.

21 An inheritance obtained too early in life
    is not a blessing in the end.

22 Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.”
    Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

23 The Lord detests double standards;
    he is not pleased by dishonest scales.

24 The Lord directs our steps,
    so why try to understand everything along the way?

25 Don’t trap yourself by making a rash promise to God
    and only later counting the cost.

26 A wise king scatters the wicked like wheat,
    then runs his threshing wheel over them.

27 The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit,[c]
    exposing every hidden motive.

28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king;
    his throne is made secure through love.

29 The glory of the young is their strength;
    the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

30 Physical punishment cleanses away evil;[d]
    such discipline purifies the heart.

  Proverbs 20:3: Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel.Proverbs 1,

Bill Elliff


November 05, 2019


The writer of Proverbs divides the world into two types of people: wise and foolish. He has much to say about both. A man is made wise by listening to the Lord and living His life in surrender to God’s will and way.

God IS wisdom and the source of all wisdom in this earth. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God,’” David said. When we reject Him, we reject the process of receiving the wisdom we need. We become foolish, vainly thinking that our mere humanistic thinking is sufficient for life.

And, fools will hurt you. They ruin relationships, cloud decision making, and lead others astray. If you are a man who is seeking wisdom, you will find that dealing with foolish people is a great burden.

I have recently been helping a pastor work through an issue with a very foolish person in his church. This individual is proud and believes their opinion is more important than anyone’s. They are creating strife and discord in the church and there is a very clear unwillingness to submit to godly spiritual leaders. A foolish person, wrapped in religious clothing, is even harder to deal with because they approach others under the guise of spirituality.

Their anger and issues are hard to deal with, which the writer of Proverbs points out. It is a very heavy weight for a leader to bear.

“A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, but the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.” (Proverbs 27:4)

Here are twenty instructions from Proverbs about how to recognize and deal with foolish people … some things a wise leader needs to understand.

1. They will not accept instruction

 Proverbs 1:7: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

2.They will not honor others

 Proverbs 3:35: The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor.

3. They will quickly gossip and slander others

  Proverbs 10:18: He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.

4. They do not have real, spiritual understanding

Proverbs 10:21: The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of understanding.

 Proverbs 16:22: Understanding is a fountain of life to one who has it, but the discipline of fools is folly.

5.They always think they’re right and will not listen to nor accept humbly the counsel of others

  Proverbs 12:15: The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

6. They are quick to anger

  Proverbs 12:16: A fool’s anger is known at once, but a prudent man conceals dishonor. 

  Proverbs 29:11: A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.

7. They will always, ultimately display their foolishness. It cannot be hidden for long.

  Proverbs 13:16: Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool displays folly.

8. If you associate with them, it will lead to harm

  Proverbs 13:20: He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.

9. They are deceitful, often not even realizing their deception. They are full of self-deception.

  Proverbs 14:8: The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, but the foolishness of fools is deceit.

10. They are arrogant and careless, particularly about walking into evil.

  Proverbs 14:16: A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is arrogant and careless.

11. They are quick to tell everyone what they think, but it’s folly. They have an opinion on everything, that they believe is right.

  Proverbs 15:2: The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.

12. They reject discipline

  Proverbs 15:5: A fool rejects his father’s discipline, but he who regards reproof is sensible.

13. They do not spread real knowledge (although they think they do)

  Proverbs 15:7: The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but the hearts of fools are not so.

14. Don’t give them position or honor

  Proverbs 26:8: Like one who binds a stone in a sling, so is he who gives honor to a fool.

  Proverbs 26:10: Like an archer who wounds everyone, so is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.

15. They will not receive a healthy rebuke (because they always think they’re right)

  Proverbs 17:10: A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.

16. They are dangerously protective when you deal with them. They will hurt you to protect their way.

  Proverbs 17:12: Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

17. They don’t want understanding, but they love to tell you what they think.

  Proverbs 18:2: A fool does not delight in understanding, but only in revealing his own mind.

18. They create strife

  Proverbs 18:6: A fool’s lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows.

19. They love to quarrel

  Proverbs 20:3: Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man, but any fool will quarrel.

20. It’s useless to try to reason with them

  Proverbs 23:9: Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.

  Proverbs 26:4: Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will also be like him. 

  Proverbs 26:5: Answer a fool as his folly deserves, that he not be wise in his own eyes.

All of us are foolish at times, and we’re all capable of becoming foolish. Every leader must evaluate first his own life, to see if he is acting or living foolishly. A wise leader pursues God fervently and humbly, which is to pursue wisdom. But also, a wise leader must know how to recognize and deal with foolish people, particularly those who are causing discord, contention, and strife.

I love the Book of Proverbs and every day I read one chapter of Proverbs. Since there are 31 chapters, I start the 1st of ever month and read chapter 1 and then the next day I read chapter 2 and so on the rest of the month.

John McArthur said:

“First of all, number one issue in gaining wisdom is to fear God…is to fear God. How do you know that? Back in chapter 1 verse 7, we read this, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the holy one is true understanding.”


One of the issues I have learned about in Proverbs is concerning the issue of alcohol.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise (Proverbs 20:1).

ryan dunn Jackass dead in crash

Ryan Dunn and his friends moments before they died.

Flickr user Eric Lewis posted the image below with a caption that says the photo shows what’s left of Dunn’s car.

Ryan Dunn tweeted a picture of himself drinking from a bar. At 2 am he left the bar and a few minutes later he was killed after running off the road in his car.There are three reasons that I do not drink and here they are.First,alcohol has brought a social plague on our country not matched by anything we have ever seen in the past.  I will never forget the day I heard this statistic in 1975:  “Drunk drivers are responsible for 50% of highway fatalities.”My pastor Adrian Rogers shared that statistic from the pulpit. I was only 14 years old at the time, but I was looking forward to driving. It caused me to realize that I had to abstain from alcohol and try to convince my friends and family to do likewise.Second, the Bible does condemn alcoholic wine. There were three kinds of wine mentioned in the Bible (grapes, grape juice and strong drink). Wine in the cluster which is equal to our grapes. Isaiah 65:8 ” “As the new wine is found in the cluster…”  The point I am making here is very clear. The Bible does refer to nonalcoholic wine which is equal to our grape juice. Don’t take for granted everytime you read the word “wine” in the Bible that it is referring to the kind of wine we are used to today.Next we have the term “strong drink” which is equal to our wine today. Strong drink is condemned. .Proverbs 20:1 states, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. ”


Distillation was not discovered until about 1500 A.D. Strong drink and unmixed wine in Bible times was from 3% to 11% alcohol. Dr. John MacArthur says “…since anybody in biblical times who drank unmixed wine (9-11% alcohol) was definitely considered a barbarian, then we dont even need to discuss whether a Christian should drink hard liquor–that is apparent!”

Since wine has 9 to 11% alcohol and one brand 20% alcohol, you should not drink that. Brandy contains 15 to 20% alcohol, so thats out! Hard liquor has 40 to 50% alcohol (80 to 100 proof), and that is obviously excluded!

For documentation on this subject Google “alcohol” with the name of Adrian Rogers or John MacArthur. These theologians  have covered this subject fully with biblical references.

Third, Romans 14:21 states, “It is better not to eat meat (that had been offered to idols) or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” If a person rejects all the linguistic arguments, there is still Romans 14:21 concerning not causing a weaker brother to stumble..

It is consistent with the ethic of love for believers and unbelievers alike. Because I am an example to others, I will make certain no one ever walks the road of sorrow called alcoholism because they saw me take a drink and assumed, “if it is alright for Everette Hatcher, it is alright for me.” No, I will choose to set an uncompromising example of abstinence because I love them. The fact is that 1 of every 6 drinkers in the USA are problem drinkers. Maybe if my family of 6 drank, that could be me or one of my children?

Billy Sunday told a story that illustrates this principle and I heard this story while Adrian Rogers was my pastor at Bellevue Baptist:

I feel like an old fellow in Tennessee who made his living by catching rattlesnakes. He caught one with fourteen rattles and put it in a box with a glass top. One day when he was sawing wood his little five-year old boy,Jim, took the lid off and the rattler wriggled out and struck him in the cheek. He ran to his father and said, “The rattler has bit me.” The father ran and chopped the rattler to pieces, and with his jackknife he cut a chunk from the boy’s cheek and then sucked and sucked at the wound to draw out the poison. -He looked at little Jim, watched the pupils of his eyes dilate and watched him swell to three times his normal size, watched his lips become parched and cracked, and eyes roll, and little Jim gasped and died.

The father took him in his arms, carried him over by the side of the rattler, got on his knees and said, “God, I would not give little Jim for all the rattlers that ever crawled over the Blue Ridge mountains.”

That is the question that must be answered by everyone no matter what their religious beliefs. Is the pleasure of drinking alcohol worth the life of one of your children?

Here is a scripture that describes what will happen to a person addicted to alcohol:

Proverbs 23:29-35
(29) Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
(30) They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
(31) Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
(32) At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
(33) Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
(34) Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
(35) They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

More alcohol statistics:

  • More than one-half of American adults have a close family member who has or has had alcoholism.
  • Alcohol is a factor in nearly half of America’s murders, suicides and accidental deaths.
  • The highest rates of current and past year heavy alcohol use are reported by workers in the following occupations: construction, food preparation and waiters/waitresses, along with auto mechanics, vehicle repairers, light truck drivers and laborers. 95% of alcoholics die from their disease and die approximately 26 years earlier than their normal life expectancy.
  • Up to 40% of industrial fatalities and 47% of injuries in the workplace are linked to alcohol consumption and alcoholism.
  • Absenteeism among alcoholics or problem drinkers is 3.8 to 8.3 times greater than normal.
  • More than three fourths of female victims of nonfatal, domestic violence reported that their assailant had been drinking or using drugs.
  • More than one third of pedestrians killed by automobiles were legally drunk.
  • About half of state prison inmates and 40% of federal prisoners incarcerated for committing violent crimes report they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their offense.
  • Long-term, heavy alcohol use is the leading cause of illness and death from liver disease in the U.S.
  • Alcoholics spend four times the amount of time in a hospital as non-drinkers, mostly from drinking-related injuries.

Probably the most telling is the last statistic: 95% of alcoholics die from their disease and die approximately 26 years earlier than their normal life expectancy.

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