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The Dangers of Meddling (Proverbs 17:14)

Introductory Thoughts

Meddling in the problems of others is a dangerous practice resulting in unforeseen outcomes. The Bible uses two comparisons to help convey the danger involved with meddling. Proverbs 17:14 compares meddling to the letting out of previously restrained water. The idea is that meddling with the problems belonging to others is like personally opening the gates once restraining a large body of water. The second comparison is found in Proverbs 26:17. The Bible says, “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” When someone does this, the dog turns upon the individual. Both of these warnings demonstrate the grievous dangers involved in unnecessarily meddling in the affairs of others.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): Even before Rebekah bore her twins, she knew that the family leader would be Jacob, the younger of the two (Genesis 25:22-26). When it appeared that Isaac would bless Esau, she meddled in the outcome by tricking Isaac into blessing Jacob. Jacob had to run for his life and never saw his mother again (see Genesis chapter 27).
  • (For everyone): What would happen if you personally opened a gate (like a great dam) to let water out that had been previously restrained? What could happen if you went up and grabbed a dog by the ears? How does this give a vivid representation of the dangers of meddling?
  • In whose problems are you currently meddling? Are you willing to ask the Lord to help you repent of this dangerous practice?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Thank God for the warnings about meddling.
  • Ask God for wisdom to cease from meddling.