Whoever sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.
When I was in high school, if a teacher handed me a note or form to turn in to the main office, the note or form certainly reached its destination, but it didn’t always travel the most efficient route! I would stop and get a drink at the water fountain, talk to someone walking past me, enjoy the sunshine outside, purchase a soda at the vending machines, turn in the document, and finally make the long and slow trip back to class — stopping to talk to a few people along the way, of course. Now, I should say that I am much more mature today than I was then! But hopefully this brief story gives a glimpse into the conflict of this proverb. The teacher, giving me the document, was shooting himself or herself in the foot! Inevitably the document would be late and they could be penalized. If the teacher had given the document to a student, probably of the female persuasion, who sat in the front of class and always paid close attention, then the document would reach its destination on time.
An important message needs to be carried without delay. If the message is battlefield instructions, then many soldiers may die if the message is carried by a fool. If the message is a change in building design from an architect to the builders, then the building may have serious problems or at least won’t meet the customer's demands if the message is carried (and possibly not delivered!) by a fool.
As Derek Kidner argues, this proverb is the third in a series of three related proverbs. To reiterate my point from a previous blog post, “both a faithful messenger (Proverbs 25:13) and a faithful message of good news (Proverbs 25:25) are refreshing to the soul, while a message dispatched by a fool (Proverbs 26:6) is disastrous.” You can read the faithful messenger and the faithful message in Tenth’s resource library.
In comparison to the faithful messenger, Christ, and the faithful message, the gospel, this message carried by the fool is at the least ineffective and at the most, violent. This message is carried around in our sinful hearts all the time. What is the foolish message leading to disaster in your own life? Do you run after everything you can buy or attain? Do you only care for how other people perceive you? Do you put your faith in your spouse, kids, friends, or a job? Do you hate the neighbor who plays loud music next door and have you gotten in altercations and screaming matches with them? All of these things, and many more, are examples of the foolish message carried by a foolish messenger directly to your heart. They are the opposite of Christ and his gospel. They are the messages of sin, death, and Satan. They are disaster! I urge you trust in the faithful message and messenger, Jesus Christ and his gospel.