A few more thoughts generated by the study this morning:
First, the application of the message, messenger principle for today goes in a number of directions. Part of the point of the proverb is that the messenger is an extension of the sender. If the messenger is foolish, the sender is marred by that reputation. The messenger is the “feet” of the sender, and if the messenger is unfaithful, the “feet” of the sender are cut off.
This applies to families. Wisdom is justified by her children, but the reverse is also true. The folly of wayward children damns their parents. This is why the standards for office in the church are high. A man who cannot rule his house well is not qualified to rule the church. Children are the “feet” of their parents. If children are foolish, the “feet” of their parents are cut off. A minister who tries to tell his flock how love a wife or raise children has no “feet” to stand on if his own house is a wreck.
This introduces covenantal language to the whole picture. The messenger is the “feet” of the sender; he is part of his body. Paul says that we are all related to one another. If one member suffers, we all suffer. We are members of one another in Christ, and this means that we have responsibility for one another. Sending a fool on an errand may seem like one fairly isolated sort of thing: dumb but isolated. But the effects can be disastrous and violent. Likewise, our communications, how we send our words to one another (via email, text messaging, voice mail, phone calls, etc.) are all modern day messengers. Our words are part of us, and they have the ability to take on lives of their own. They have the ability to cut off our reputation. They can make or break us.
Last, it should not be forgotten that God the Father is the great “word sender.” He sent his Son, the Logos, the Word, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God sent the perfect representative, the Word who is Wisdom incarnate to reveal himself to us, to declare the good news of the gospel, forgiveness, peace, and justice. Of course part of that message is embodied in the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Sender revealed his message in the death and resurrection of the Messenger. And this could go several ways: First, this connection confirms the generational nature of words. It was noted in the previous post that “feet” are sometimes euphemisms for the male sexual organ and reproduction. Of course Jesus is the eternal Son, eternally begotten of his Father, and therefore the perfect Word of the Father.
Second, notice that Jesus drinks the violence. He drinks the cup of God’s wrath on the cross. Rather than creating violence and strife and turmoil, Jesus takes that violence into himself. He absorbs the wrath in his own flesh on the tree.
Third, even though Jesus is pierced and killed, the Word does not stay dead. The resurrection is the proof that we cannot break the Word of God. In fact, in the crucifixion, soldiers go to break the legs of Jesus, and they do not need to because he is already dead. Not a bone was broken. While the foolish messenger cuts off the feet of the sender, Jesus is the Wisdom of God, the Message that cannot be broken. And therefore, the feet of the Sender are secure and established.
And that leads to the last part of this: The Messenger reveals the Sender. A foolish Messenger proclaims that his Sender is foolish. But the converse is also true and better. A wise Messenger is the glory of his Sender. How beautiful are the feet of him who brings good new. Jesus the glory of the Father, the wise Messenger whose feet are beautiful because he reveals the even greater glory and beauty of his Sender, His Father. If He’s the Messenger, how much more the Sender.