Pity The Fool!

MrT.jpg  

When you see the word “fool,” what or who do you think of?  In olden days, kings employed men called “court jesters.”  Today we call them “actors,” but back then they entertained the king and his court, often wearing outrageous costumes, sometimes dunce caps, doing all kinds of dopey things.  These “court jesters,” “actors,” were referred to as “fools” sometimes.

A fool is somebody who seems to lack any kind of wisdom; the kind of person who just wastes his life, letting the world march on by.  Fools sit around thinking, rarely doing.  They are selfish, giving very little thought to their families, to issues important to their neighbors and country.  The Bible talks about fools, and we may gain insight into the mind of a fool by reading some Bible verses.

Let’s see what the Bible has to say about fools.

A fool denies God

That man is a fool who says to himself, “There is no God!” Anyone who talks like that is warped and evil and cannot really be a good person at all.  (Psalm 14:1  TLB)

Only a fool would say to himself, “There is no God.” And why does he say it?  Because of his wicked heart, his dark and evil deeds. His life is corroded with sin.  (Psalm 53:1  TLB)

The Hebrew word translated “fool” might look familiar to you:  nabal.   You’re thinking, “Where have I seen that word before?”  When you saw it, it looked like this, Nabal, because it’s the name of a very dim witted man in 1 Samuel 25, who was married to the beautiful Abigail.  Nabal refers to a “simpleton” or perhaps “a madman.”  You get the idea—you don’t want to be called a “nabal” and who in the world would name their child, “Nabal”?

Fools, in the Bible, are called that, not because they are intellectually deficient, but because of moral failings.  The smartest man in the world is a fool if he denies the existence of God.  That’s a terrible way to describe the atheist, because an atheist, as defined by the Bible, is a “warped and evil person” who is not good.  He is “wicked” and the things he does are “evil.”  This is because denial of God is no small matter; it’s big sin.  It is morally perverse to deny the reality of God.

Now, we’re not talking about becoming a Christian here.  The psalmist is not thinking about the Messiah; he is simply talking about the foolishness of not acknowledging the Creator.  There are plenty of people (and even demons, according to the New Testament) that steadfastly believe in God but have nothing to do with His Son.  Why are atheists described as “fools?”  It’s because their sense of morality comes from someplace other than God.  One may not have a relationship with Jesus Christ as Savior, but a belief in God may keep one living a moral and ethical life.  The atheist has to get his sense of morality someplace, so if not from God, then where?  Or from whom?

This is why fools are evil and wicked.  They have a warped sense of morality because instead of respecting objective truths concerning right and wrong, everything with them is subjective; they will do and live in a way that seems good to them.  This reminds us of another verse:

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.   (Proverbs 14:12  NKJV)

A fool is sick

Others, the fools, were ill because of their sinful ways.  (Psalm 107:17  TLB)

This not only refers to the consequences of sin and of being a fool, it is also a characteristic of a fool.  One scholar succinctly notes,

Folly denotes moral perversity, not mere weakness or ignorance; it leads to ruin.  It is the opposite of wisdom, which leads to life.

Indeed.  Since more often than not, gross immorality follows one who denies the existence of God, or lives like there is no God, it’s easy to see why the psalmist sees how sin makes the fool sick—physically sick and spiritually sick.

The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.  (Proverbs 15:24  NKJV)

A fool is overly self-sufficient

Another characteristic of the fool is that they are far too self-confident; they are heedless.

The wise man is glad to be instructed, but a self-sufficient fool falls flat on his face.  (Proverbs 10:8  TLB)

In contrast to the fool, the wise man loves to be taught or instructed.  He knows that he doesn’t know it all; that he can learn from others.  Not so the fool.  He’s so sure of himself and of his own abilities that he barges ahead and, invariably, fails miserably.  Having confidence in one’s abilities is good, but that confidence must be grounded in reality.

Along the same line of thought is this observation:

Winking at sin leads to sorrow; bold reproof leads to peace.  (Proverbs 10:10  TLB)

The one who is wise knows the seriousness of sin and appreciates correction when it’s needed.  The fool, though, is the one who “winks” at sin; he has no clue how serious it is or of what kind of trouble it can cause.  The fool hates to be told he’s in the wrong and refuses to see the benefit of reproof.  This foolish person has no peace.

To the fool, other people’s opinions are merely noise; they are distractions because, in his mind, he knows it all and he doesn’t need anybody’s help or advice.

A fool’s fun is being bad; a wise man’s fun is being wise!  (Proverbs 10:23  TLB)

Another contrast shows why the fool remains in his folly:  he enjoys being an idiot.  Imagine that!  Imagine being so self-centered that you have no clue how truly foolish and idiotic your behavior is to the rest of us.  The wise in heart, though, derives joy from being wise.  What a difference!  The fool finds pleasure in being “bad,” or in wickedness.

A fool is thoughtless

On the heels of describing a fool as being overly confident, we read these verses:

A fool is quick-tempered; a wise man stays cool when insulted.  A good man is known by his truthfulness; a false man by deceit and lies.  (Proverbs 12:16, 17  TLB)

Using another contrast, we can see that fools can be spotted from a distance!  They’re the ones who “fly off the handle” at the least provocation.  The fool is the one who deceives others.

So then, the fool is one who is self-opinionated but the wise man is one who is teachable.  The fool has little self-control, but the wise man keeps his cool.  Worse than boorish behavior, the fool has no foresight or concern for the future.

A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t and even brags about it!  (Proverbs 13:16  TLB)

A fool is thoughtless in his behavior and in life in general.  He lives for now, not for the future.  To him, his actions carry no consequences.  While others plan for the future, he doesn’t and he’s proud about it!  He’s sure somebody will be there to take care of him, come what may.

A fool is clueless

If you are looking for advice, stay away from fools.  The wise man looks ahead. The fool attempts to fool himself and won’t face facts.  (Proverbs 14:7, 8  TLB)

Here is some sage advice:  stay away from fools and don’t pay any attention to what they say!  The fool may appear wise, but their advice is deplorable.  They are corrupt down to their hearts and that corruption is betrayed by the words they speak.

Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.  (Proverbs 14:9  NKJV)

Clueless behavior!  A good example of one who “mocked at sin” would be Jezebel.  And if we look at what happened to her, we’d have to conclude that there is NO hope for the fool; for the one who mocks the Word of God.  She ended very badly, being devoured by dogs.  Such is the end of those who scorn the Lord and His Word.

It is pleasant to listen to wise words, but a fool’s speech brings him to ruin. Since he begins with a foolish premise, his conclusion is sheer madness.  A fool knows all about the future and tells everyone in detail! But who can really know what is going to happen? A fool is so upset by a little work that he has no strength for the simplest matter.  (Ecclesiastes 10:12—15  TLB)

The fool is clueless about the peril his speech and behavior puts him in.  Folly destroys the fool!  Words mean things, and both wisdom and foolishness are revealed by one’s speech.  We’re all familiar with that old saying:

A fool may be mistaken for a wise man if he keeps his mouth shut; but open it and he removes all doubt.

Verse 13 shows how deep that root of foolishness grows.  Since the fool doesn’t see himself or his world clearly, there’s no way he can make sense of anything going on around him.

Verse 15 is difficult to translate.  The Authorized Version gives it a different flavor:

The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

Adam Clarke thinks the proverb means something like this:  The fool knows nothing; he doesn’t know his way to the next village.

Indeed.  Of the stupidity of the fool, we would say:   He’s so clueless, he doesn’t know enough to come in out of the rain!

A fool is dull

It isn’t just the Wisdom Literature in the Old Testament that speaks of fools.  Jeremiah describes fools like this:

Until my people leave their foolishness, for they refuse to listen to me; they are dull, retarded children who have no understanding. They are smart enough at doing wrong, but for doing right they have no talent, none at all.   (Jeremiah 4:22  TLB)

This verse is the culmination of very hard-to-read portion of Scripture:

My heart, my heart—I writhe in pain; my heart pounds within me. I cannot be still because I have heard, O my soul, the blast of the enemies’ trumpets and the enemies’ battle cries.  Wave upon wave of destruction rolls over the land, until it lies in utter ruin; suddenly, in a moment, every house is crushed.  How long must this go on? How long must I see war and death surrounding me?  (Jeremiah 4:19—21  TLB)

We’re not sure who’s speaking here; it could be the Lord, or Jeremiah, or even the people themselves.  Regardless, the wholesale destruction of the land is in view here.  Both the Lord and His prophet were touched with what was happening to the hapless population.  Verse 22 describes them as foolish dullards.  Why were they dull?  Their dullness was caused by their stubborn refusal to pay attention to the Word of the Lord.  God’s people had become so estranged from Him, that all they could do well was wrong!  They had “no talent” for doing what was right.

The truly wise person is one who is in fellowship with God.  That relationship strengthens his sensibilities; it helps him maintain the proper perspective of the people around him and of the events going on in his world.  Without the moral compass provided by the Lord, nobody, no matter how educated or worldly wise he may be, will in the end play the fool; one who majors in evil and minors in good.

BeFunky_JesterM2501.jpg

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Pity The Fool!”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Bookmark and Share

Another great day!

Blog Stats

  • 166,618 hits

Never miss a new post again.

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 150 other followers

Follow revdocporter on Twitter

Who’d have guessed?

My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Take the quiz at www.FightLiberals.com

Photobucket

%d bloggers like this: