The Folly of Fools.
“Doing wrong is fun for a fool, while wise conduct is a pleasure to the wise.” – Proverbs 10:23 NLT
“I pity the fool…!” Those are the memorable words of “Clubber” Lang, the character played by Mr. T in the film classic, Rocky III. Okay, so I’m being a tad bit sarcastic. Any movie that features Mr. T in a starring role is destined for a life in the discount bins at the video rental store. But the line itself is a classic. And I think Solomon himself would have thoroughly agreed with it. In fact, Solomon did pity the fool and spent a great deal of time and energy addressing this particular individual. What he had to say about the fool was far from flattering, but it was driven by a concern for his well-being. It seems that Solomon understood that each and every one of us comes into this world a full-blow, card-carrying fool. The problem is, many of us never grow out of it. Our children, like us, are born fools. They lack wisdom, insight, understanding, and knowledge. So we spend countless hours trying to fill them with all four. And according to Solomon, we have our work cut out for us. Listen to how he describes the average fool:
… a foolish child brings grief to a mother – Vs 1
… babbling fools fall flat on their faces – Vs 8
… fools will be punished with a rod – Vs 13
… the babbling of a fool invites trouble – Vs 14
… to slander is to be a fool – Vs 18
… the heart of a fool is worthless – Vs 20
… fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense – Vs 21
… Doing wrong is fun for a fool – Vs 23
Fools are directly associated with the wicked, the evil and the lazy. The Proverbs tell us that the person who denies, ignores, or neglects God is not only acting foolishly, but is characterized by a kind of godlessness. They act as if God does not exist – even while claiming to believe in Him. The fool has certain unmistakable characteristics:
He is thoughtless: not applying his thoughts about God; not thinking through the truth about God
He is dull: not being sharp in his thoughts about God. He is being sleepy-minded, slow, and sluggish toward God.
He is senseless: not using good common sense about God. He is acting contrary to good common sense. He is deficient in his thoughts about God.
He is without understanding: he does not grasp or comprehend God; he does not have the right ideas or thoughts about God.
He is ignorant of God: he does not know God. He has not learned God – has not looked at, thought about, studied, nor met, walked and fellowshipped with God.
He is unwise: he is acting contrary to wisdom; he is acting dangerously and foolishly.
But how do you know if you are a fool? How do we recognize the characteristics of a fool in the lives of our children, friends, work associates? Here are a few probing questions that might give us some insight. If the answers to any of these is “Yes,” then they may be pointing to someone who is exhibiting fool-like symptoms. Go ahead, take the test yourself. And remember, if you score high, the solution is to seek wisdom. And you can find it right in the Word of God.
1. Do you feel like your life is characterized more by righteousness or unrighteousness?
2. Do you feel your life has been characterized by wisdom or a lack of wisdom?
3. Do you feel you are realistic…about yourself?…about business?…about life?…about relationships?
4. Do you consider yourself as highly disciplined or undisciplined?
5. Do you have a temper?
6. How does your temper manifest itself?
7. Are you reliable…in your work?…with your words?
8. Are you teachable?
9. Do you struggle with any sexual sins?
10. Would you say you are truthful?
11. Do you tend to repeat past mistakes?
Father, sometimes we laugh at the foolishness we see around us. Rather than pity the fool, we smile about their behavior. Give us a desire to see our children move from foolishness to wisdom. Help us to recognize the characteristics of foolishness in our own lives, then come to You for wisdom. Father, foolishness is no laughing matter to You. Give us the same soberness of mind so that we might take it seriously and deal with it soberly. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men