The Burden of Folly
Open Your Bible
Ecclesiastes 10:1-20, Psalm 7:12-17, Proverbs 26:27
BY Erin Davis
“What should you do when you’re in a hole, son?”
This is the question I often ask when one of my four boys responds to correction by arguing or deflecting blame. They know the routine. The question interrupts their defense mechanisms. Most of the time, their little arms drop to their sides as they sigh and answer: “Stop digging.”
It’s a word picture Scripture gives us, and one I like to imagine David used as he corrected his son, Solomon. It was King David who penned, “He dug a pit and hollowed it out but fell into the hole he had made” (Psalm 7:15). Solomon repeated his father’s wisdom when he wrote, “The one who digs a pit may fall into it, and the one who breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake” (Ecclesiastes 10:8). (Don’t you like how he added that last part?)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t do a lot of pit digging, let alone snake-infested wall-breaking, for that matter. Without context, I might be tempted to race right past these verses thinking they don’t apply. But as we study Scripture’s Wisdom Literature, we see that neither David nor Solomon were warning against a literal pit, the kind that is dug with an actual shovel. No, this is a pit of trouble, and the shovel, in this case, is our words.
It was Solomon who reflected, “The words from the mouth of a wise person are gracious, but the lips of a fool consume him” (Ecclesiastes 10:12), and his father David who prayed, “LORD, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3).
If you’ve ever felt buried under the weight of your foolish words, or wished there were a superglue that could seal your mouth shut, I’m sure you can relate. We all can. When our words have dug us into a pit of trouble, God’s Word and His Spirit remind us that wise words can only flow from a wise heart. When our speech reveals our folly we have a choice. Argue, deflect, defend, or stop digging and repent, asking the Lord to give us hearts more like His.