Dead flies, character, and pride can sometimes go together.
One summer afternoon, I left the sweet tea on the back porch with the plug on the lid off. Hours later, I went to get it and saw that some flies had drowned in the tea. This reminded me of this verse: 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.
The apothecary was the ancient pharmacist who prepared ointment for medicinal purposes and the dead for burial. It took a long time to prepare these fragrant and much-needed ointments. As time-consuming as they were to make and as valuable as they were, flies would get into the ointment, die, and ruin it if the apothecary didn’t cover it.
Solomon compares the dead flies and the ruined ointment to folly, which destroys good character. One dead fly could corrupt the ointment, and only a little foolishness can soil our character and reputation. It takes a lifetime to build good character, but we can lose it in a moment with bad behavior.
Good character won’t keep by itself. We must value it and vigilantly preserve it. We must never think we are beyond falling into temptation, for that is when we are most likely to fail. Pride will trip us every time.
Pride thrust Lucifer out of heaven, Adam out of paradise, Nebuchadnezzar out of society, Saul out of his kingdom, and Haman out of court. When we rise to great positions, we become a target for the Enemy and must keep our guard up and the flies out.
How can you guard against pride?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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James H. Cagle has been preaching and getting the Word out since 1982. He has pastored for twelve years. He now writes for twelve newspapers weekly. He has published three books and is working on several others. James spent four years in the Marine Corps and was honorably discharged in 1980 as a sergeant. He grew up in Bemiss, Georgia, and graduated from Lowndes High in 1975. He currently resides in Nashville, Georgia.