The Danger of Simplicity.
“You simple people, use good judgment. You foolish people, show some understanding.” – Proverbs 8:5 NLT
- Simple Simon met a pieman,
- Going to the fair;
- Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
- Let me taste your ware.
- Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
- Show me first your penny;
- Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
- Indeed I have not any.
- Simple Simon went a-fishing,
- For to catch a whale;
- All the water he had got,
- Was in his mother’s pail.
- Simple Simon went to look
- If plums grew on a thistle;
- He pricked his fingers very much,
- Which made poor Simon whistle.
Kids are simple. Their thinking is simple. The world in which they live is simple – at least from their perspective. They are simple creatures driven by very simplistic emotions and urges. A hungry child knows no better than to want to eat. A sad child cries. A happy child laughs. They are inherently trusting of just about everyone, to a fault. If given the right motivation, like candy or the promise of a toy, they will follow a stranger – gladly, willingly, confidently. Children lack discernment and good judgment. They are pleasantly open-minded and easily deceived. But the sad thing is that many adults have these same child-like characteristics. They never grow out of their innocence and simplistic way of thinking. Forty year olds can be just as guilty as four-year olds of being naive, simpleminded and lacking in good judgment.
Then there’s the fool, who is slightly different than the simple person. He’s actually another form of fool, a more advanced version you might say. The Hebrew word is kecîyl and it refers to a sensual fool, that individual who is driven by his passions. Like a child, he tends to focus on whatever brings him immediate gratification. He glories in that of which he should be ashamed. He’s learned to justify his actions and defend his choices as right. This is no longer a case of simple thinking, but willful disobedience. He rejects the instruction and discipline of parents and all other authorities in his life. So Solomon pleads with this person, “Show some understanding!” Live your life like you know better. Have some common sense.
But here’s the problem for both the simpleminded and the fool. They both lack the ability to show good judgment or display understanding. They don’t have it within them to do what they need to do. They are deficient. They are operating at a disadvantage. Which is exactly why God offers His help. He says, “My advice is wholesome. There is nothing devious or crooked in it. My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge. Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold” (Proverbs 8:8-10 NLT). God offers them both wisdom, good judgment, knowledge, discernment, and common sense. In other words, He offers them exactly what they need. He says, “Whoever fins me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But those who miss me injure themselves. All who hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:35-36 NLT). This is serious business. Simplicity in a child is expected. But we also expect them to grow out of it. Continued simplicity in an adult can be deadly. A life devoid of good judgment and understanding is ultimately a dangerous one. It will not end well. A life marked by foolishness, driven by immediate gratification and sensual pleasures is one that lacks a clear understanding of what we were made for and where true joy comes from. That person will never find fulfillment and lasting joy. But when we turn to God, we find all that we need. We discover an endless source of wisdom, good judgment, knowledge, discernment, common sense, insight and understanding. We find what it means to walk in righteousness and justice. making good choices, living lives that are honoring to God and a source of blessing to our fellow man. But it all begins with acknowledgment of our insufficiencies and inadequacies. We have to admit our simplicity and confess our foolishness. We have to recognize our need for God, humbly coming to Him for His assistance. When we do, we will find life and favor. It’s as simple as that.
Father, continue to open my eyes to the simplicity in my life and the foolish behavior that threatens to destroy me if I leave it unchecked. I need You more and more each day. I want to grow in my recognition of that need as I see the characteristics of simplicity and foolishness in my own life. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men