Fanning the Flames

Reading the Word

Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.(Proverbs 29:8, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

The first line of this proverb speaks of one who “blows” on a city. It is the picture of one blowing on the embers of a fire to get it burning. We might translate the line “Scoffers fan the flames of a city.” The second line gives us the contrast of what the wise person does. Instead of increasing the flames, the wise person turns away wrath. He puts out the fire.

We certainly live in a polarized and volatile moment in our nation’s history. It seems like the media and our political leaders go out of their way to “fan the flames” on just about every topic. We need wise leaders who seek to extinguish the flames rather than build them up. And we need to do better ourselves in not adding fuel to the fires that threaten to destroy our personal relationships with family and friends and also threaten to tear our society apart.


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