Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 16:27
"A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are like a scorching fire"
This is the Hebrew word beliyyaal which means worthlessness, base, ungodly, scoundrel. This is the idea of someone who is up to no good. A worthless person does not accomplish anything worthwhile. This person does not add any positive to a situation. Solomon wants you to see that it is not just that they don't add anything positive; there is always the other side in which they add that which is morally wrong. You may see this person as harmless who does not really bring much to the job or organization, but he/she is much more than that. This person will always be a source of active evil entering the job or organization.
Solomon is saying that it is not possible for a person to be just a harmless, do-nothing person. This kind of person always has an element in his/her life which invites evil, plays with evil, and makes forays into that which is evil.
One must be either positive or negative. It is not possible to be harmless as a person. Decide to not be in this middle ground that always tilts towards evil. The rewards of life are on the positive side: the people who actively seek how to meet the needs of others; the people who are positively contributing to the people they know and the organizations that they are a part of. They have a full life. On the other hand, the person who is just hanging around looking for scraps that he/she can selfishly consume from the hard work of others does not enjoy a full life and always gets into behavior that is morally wrong.
This is the Hebrew word saphah which means lip, speech, babbling, words.
This is the Hebrew word tsarab which means to burn, scorch. The idea here seems to be that the worthless person who adds nothing positive to a situation and does not seem to really do anything evil has a mouth or way of talking that is way beyond his/her actions and seems way out of line with this person’s actions. The idea of a scorching fire is one that burns and completely consumes, leaving nothing but a burnt shell.
This suggests that this person has stories and gossip and rumors to spread that destroys the ability to work with the people that this person is talking about. We have all met this person. This is the person who has negative gossip and lies to tell about someone – such that you would never ask the person he/she is lying about if it is true because it is just too scandalous or bizarre. You don't know that you really believe, but it causes you to step back from the person being talked about or maybe avoid that person altogether. This worthless person, through the gossip shared with you, has caused you to change your behavior towards a person who probably has done nothing deserving of your change in behavior towards them. This worthless person has scorched the relationship between you and this other person; and unless you go out of your way to get to know this person, you will never discover that it is not true.
You do not realize that by listening to the gossip and rumor mill at the office, he or she is altering your relationships by the words they use. They are scorching the possible relationships and help you can receive from people. The worthless person may seem like a harmless do-nothing, but he/she is really constantly scorching the earth between people and changing the dynamics of any relationship. Do not listen to their rumors and gossip and innuendo.