At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.Proverbs 25:19
One of the great lessons to learn about life, and the sooner we learn it the better, is the fact that some people are flakes.
Sometimes they flake in a moment that doesn’t cause too much consternation. Their flakery affects mostly just themselves. They get hired for a new job, and fail to show up the first two days—and are astonished to discover on the third day that they actually don’t have a job anymore.
But this proverb envisions their unfaithfulness as happening at the worst possible moment. Right when everyone was depending on them to show up, they do not show up. When their performance was most needed, their performance went missing. Confidence was placed in them, and it was a “time of trouble,” and their failure to perform discombobulated everything. It is like a broken tooth. It is like a dislocated ankle.
When someone fails in this way, causing the whole enterprise to fail, the thing is public. When an employer is writing a letter of recommendation for this fellow for a prospective employer, and he mentions the disaster that was caused by this man’s failure, this is not gossip. When a businessman consistently over-promises and under-delivers, and the fact gets around, this is not a problem of wagging tongues. Some men are not faithful. Some men are not good for their word. Some men let you down.
The reason this is a proverb is not simply so that we might understand this in the depths of our heart, enabling us to nod when it happens. Rather, proverbial wisdom is supposed to obtain the wisdom in such a way as to equip us to act. In this kind of situation, flakes are never going to discover that they are flakes unless they are fired for flaking. They might not discover it even then, but it is far more likely than when exasperated employers keep them around for some reason.