He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
Fools cannot be trusted. They are too lazy, stupid, or stubborn to do a job right. The lesson here for your success is to avoid fools. Your productivity and reputation depend on trustworthy persons for assignments. If you select just anyone for jobs, you might as well cut a man’s legs off and send him! You can surely plan on damages from choosing fools.
Carrying a message was a relatively easy task, even in a time when couriers were quite essential to a king’s business, but a fool will not complete the task right or on time. Sending a fool will damage your name and purpose, for the message will not get communicated as you intended. You must strictly avoid using fools for your assignments.
Solomon had no use for fools, and he warned his son against them. A king could easily damage his authority, reputation, and integrity by using fools for government service. A wise man will protect the integrity of his projects and his reputation by avoiding fools as much as possible. He will only use faithful persons, especially for important matters.
Fools must be avoided, but you must also avoid being a fool yourself! This chapter of Proverbs began with an extended indictment of fools (Pr 26:1-12). There are several lessons to be learned: how to identify a fool, how to treat a fool, and how to avoid being a fool. All three lessons are important, and you must learn all three to truly be a wise man.
Sending a message is synecdoche for any important task (Pr 10:26; 13:17; 25:13). The message may be about business, politics, or religion, but correctly conveying a request, information, or an order is important. If the message is not delivered properly, the project at stake and the reputation of the person sending the message will be damaged.
What is a fool? A person that does not fear God (Ps 14:1). Wisdom begins by fearing God, but a fool lacks this basic trait (Pr 1:7; 9:10). Rejecting the fear of God, a fool is thus subjected to conspiring, dreaming, lying, sleeping, talking, and excusing himself. He hates listening, obeying, and working. He wants to do things his way (Pr 28:26).
Men without the fear of God do not have the conscience or character to always do the job right. True diligence, faithfulness, honesty, integrity, and other traits do not bind their souls. Their loyalty is mainly to themselves, which means they are constantly tempted to compromise, and they can be easily bought by others offering a more attractive price.
Cutting off feet describes the foolish choice to trust a fool to do a job. You might as well cut the feet off a messenger before sending him to carry a message: the job will not be done right. Drinking damage is a metaphor for receiving lots of damage, as used elsewhere (Job 15:16; 34:7), which will surely cost your enterprise for trusting a fool.
How do you select accountants, lawyers, contractors, doctors, schools, churches, or even your politicians? Do you measure by character above all other factors, unless practically foolish to do so? You should. And if you find a man or woman for any of these roles in your life that truly fears the Lord and knows His religion, he should be your first choice.
It is wrong to trust a fool or be a fool. Reader, are you a joy to those who trust you and give you assignments, or are you a disappointment (Pr 10:26; 25:13)? Do you also protect yourself by avoiding fools? It is not enough to be faithful; you must also use faithful men. Here is a lesson for success in this world, which the God of heaven freely gave you.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest message, so requirements for His ministers are strict and thorough (I Tim 3:1-7; II Tim 2:2; Titus 1:5-9). Weakening these restrictions damages the saints and churches of Jesus Christ, for foolish men will not communicate properly the glorious truth and wisdom assigned to them (II Cor 2:17; 4:2; II Pet 2:1-2).