Dead Flies

November 2, 2014

Dead Flies

            Perhaps you won’t be much inclined to read an article about dead flies, but you should know that even something as insignificant as dead flies has something to teach us if it is found in the Bible.  The Bible reference for this article is found in Ecclesiastes 10:1.  “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.” Let’s think a little about what Solomon wants to tell us by means of these words.

Most people want to be known as wise and honorable.  After all, the opposite would be to be foolish and despicable.  If what people think of us matters, then we need to be careful that we don’t do things that give them reason for having a negative attitude towards us.

The function of perfume is that of giving off a pleasant odor.  Dead flies would produce the opposite effect.  As a general rule, dead flies don’t give off much of an odor.  Their dead bodies dry up rather quickly.  From the context, it’s obvious that Solomon is talking about something out of place.  Just as dead flies are out of place in perfume, so is folly out of place in one who has a reputation for wisdom and honor.

Adam Clark, in his commentary on this verse, says, “Any putrification spoils perfume, and so a foolish act ruins the character of him who has the reputation of being wise and good.  Alas! Alas! In an unguarded moment how many have tarnished the reputation which they were many years in acquiring!  Hence no man can be said to be safe until he is taken to the paradise of God.”

Sometimes there are people who are jealous of us.  When they are, they look for dead flies in us.  It may be because we are more highly respected than they are.  It might be because we occupy a position they would like to have.  Some may be jealous of us because we have a better paying job.  When people are jealous of us they may look for ways to intimidate or belittle us.  They may talk about us behind our back.  Proverbs 6:34 says, “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.” If we know that someone is jealous of us there may be little that we can do about it.  Just be careful that you don’t have animosity towards him.

Take heed, my friend.  Perhaps your faults seem to be so small that they appear to be nothing more than a few dead flies, but they can be extremely detrimental.  For you, they may seem to be some little sins that you aren’t greatly concerned about. What we may think are small sins, however, may be serious in the eyes of others and God.

The following are some dead flies that might be in your life.

  • Unwholesome words spoken
  • Careless in your appearance
  • Negligence in bathing
  • Speaking what could be called white lies
  • Habitually arriving late

The higher we rise, the more people expect of us. An apothecary was a chemist. He was like a pharmacist in our day. He was expected to be precise in the ingredients he put in a preparation. If he let a few flies fall and die in something he was mixing up, it gave him a reputation of being careless. Professionals are expected to be wise and honorable. Being careless about their speech, appearance, or conduct detracts from their credibility as a professional.Perhaps you don’t claim to be a professional. Just the same, you want people to respect and trust you. If so, you need to give attention to the admonition found in  I Thessalonians 5:22.  “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

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