Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. ~Ecclesiastes 10:1
Flies! I do not like flies. They have to be among the most annoying pests. Living flies are bad. Dead flies are just as bad. Back in Solomon’s day, a container of special ointment was very precious. People would leave the containers open to allow the sweet-smelling aroma to fill the air in their homes. However, flies would eventually make their way to an open container. These flies would settle within the ointment, become entrapped, and eventually die. If the ointment with dead flies was left unattended, the sweet-smelling odor would change into a terrible stench because of the decay of the dead flies within it. Solomon uses this image as a powerful lesson on how careless decisions and actions on our part affect other people.
We see a valuable principle.
The principle here is that we spend our entire lifetime building a good name and reputation. We are constantly in the business of building goodwill with others through our words and deeds. We must give careful attention to our relationships and responsibilities. The more we are acknowledged and appreciated in public, the more we should realize that we have to guard our lives. In Ecclesiastes 7:1, Solomon said, "A good name is better than precious ointment." A good name is the most important thing about us. We cannot change what people want to think about us, but we can control the facts that they possess about us. Be careful about your life and testimony. Paul said we should be "the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation...."
We see a virulent problem.
However, the fact remains that we can become careless about our reputation. When we are careless about our decisions, associations, attitude, and reactions, we begin to accumulate dead flies in the ointment. A person who is careless about his relationship with the opposite gender is allowing dead flies to stink up his name. A person who is careless and critical with his words is allowing dead flies to stink up his reputation. Just a little folly can make the entire apothecary to be a stench. Going to the wrong place and being with the wrong people are dead flies that stink up our reputation. Carelessness leaves you exposed and questioned about your judgment, your wisdom, and your reputation. Just a little folly and little sin can do us in.
We see a vigilant protection.
First, let your life be a sweet-smelling savor to everyone. Strive to be like the smell of precious ointment when an alabaster box is opened. Second, guard your testimony and life with dignity and diligence. Don’t allow compromise in your life. Don’t sacrifice your reputation to satisfy a sinful desire or to proudly prove you are right. Third, keep the flies away! By this, I mean that sin is always lying at the door. "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door." Guard your words. Decide wisely. Limit your circle of friendships. Don’t allow sins of the spirit and bad judgment calls to settle in the ointment of your life.
I dislike flies, living and dead. Keep your life clear of the little sins and foolish decisions that can ruin you.
Have a careful God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Zephaniah 1-3