Good coaches tell you what you should and should not do. They give instructions on how you can better your game and help the team. They want to be clear so they illustrate what they say with words you can understand. They’ll describe the consequences of your actions so you’ll know what you’ll experience ahead of time.
Solomon was reportedly the wisest man who ever lived. The men of Hezekiah wanted to make sure we all benefited from that wisdom by recording his pregame speech in Proverbs 25. (v. 1)
Studying Proverbs can be tricky, since its statements, while apparently simple and straightforward, are simple and straightforward. It’s best just to organize them and take them as they are.
In Chapter 25, using the New American Standard Bible, these are my organizational keywords that signal the coach’s main instructions. “Take away,” “do not,” “it is better,” “like,” and “it is not good.”
Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble. (v. 19)
One important note, the word “like” indicates a “similitude.” Whatever Solomon has said, unless very archaic, cannot be improved with your own version.
For example, when he says a “faithless man” is like a bad tooth or unsteady foot, what he means is that a faithless man is like a bad tooth or unsteady foot. We all know what this means, especially a bad tooth. Universally and for all time, to get relief the tooth must come out. Therefore, toss the faithless man!
For it is better that it be said to you, “Come up here,” than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen. (v. 7)
If you want to improve your life, try doing what is “better.” For example, when tempted to self-promote, downplay your importance. Self-deprecation is better than self-aggrandizement.
It is better to live in a corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman. (v. 24)
When selecting your wife, consider how contentious she might be while you’re dating. Solomon gives you fair warning.
…do not reveal the secret of another, or he who hears it will reproach you, and the evil report about you will not pass away. (v.9, 10)
The “do nots” are clear as day as you’d expect. I’ve already mentioned the pitfalls of self-aggrandizement, and there are also warnings not to rush to file suit and tell secrets.
Now you will have to do a little study on topics like “heaping burning coals on someone’s head,” (v. 22) but the subject is kindness, so you’re not too far off. I’ll try my own similitude here, like a gallon of gas to a stranded motorist is…
One other bit of teaching that’s not too deep is as “the north wind brings forth rain,” the sly or slanderous tongue brings on anger. (v. 23) If you want sunshine in your life, hold your tongue, and Jesus might also make it more rigorous and add your thoughts!
After you’ve read this chapter you might want to write down what’s really important. I’d say, and the good coach would say, all of it!
Better to—ha, ha—read it over and over and over. Practice makes perfect!