Solomon's focus is on the fool, the sluggard, and the malicious person. All three lead a person down a difficult path in life and cause others great hurt and heartache, as well. The king has no place for fools in his kingdom and believes they do not deserve honor and should be whipped with a rod for their folly. He reminds us that putting trust in a fool is asking for some serious personal problems, because he/she cannot be trusted to say or do the right or honest thing. Those who hire a fool can expect folly at work and a loss of a good work ethic among the people. We can have high expectations, but a true fool will always return to his folly just as a dog returns to its own vomit. This is who that person is unless Jesus intervenes and radically changes him/her. A sluggard is equally disdainful, because he thinks highly of himself but has no work ethic or drive to accomplish anything. He prefers to sit and tell others how to fix a problem instead of stepping up and doing the work himself. He is also prone to gossip which fuels fires that do not need to be fueled. Again, this man/woman is caught in a cycle that can only be broken by Jesus. The malicious person gets the least amount of coverage in this proverb, but his problems are just as taxing upon the everyday man. He speaks words that sound wonderful and enticing, but his goals are unworthy of our time or attention. Since you and I cannot see the heart of those around us, we must be careful how we relate to those who are deceivers, because they have no good intentions for us or those we love. Eventually, the proverb promises a public unmasking of this person. Amazingly, we still have these types of people all around us. Solomon's warnings still apply to us and should help us navigate this crazy world we currently live.

Help me, Lord, to be a man of integrity and character and to keep watch for the fool, the sluggard, and the malicious person. Help me to see any of these areas in my own life and turn them over to Jesus for help and healing.