In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly. – Proverbs 13:16
It’s so easy to overlook the ‘fool’ warnings of Scripture, particularly the pithy sayings of Proverbs that seem to cut through the sophisticated clouds we love to puff up around us.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. – Proverbs 18:2
I’ve met a few people like that. I’ve scanned countless comment threads that seem to attract fools like pigeons to seed. I’ve even been foolish enough to engage with the flaunting of folly, thus revealing my own lack of wisdom; after all, “If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet. – Proverbs 29:9“. I need to remember that. “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. – Proverbs 29:11“.
Yet, I need to remember that it is so easy to point out the fools I’m surrounded by, while my own heart foolishly deceives itself.
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. – Proverbs 28:26
I am so prone to rest in my own ability, an over-realised confidence in my own potential, and this exposes me as a fool as well. For I too have tread the well-worn path of the fool, and often still walk those winding ways. ‘For although I knew God, I did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but I became futile in my thinking, and my foolish heart was darkened. Claiming to be wise, I became a fool…‘ (Rom 1:21-22). That’s me. That’s you.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7
This is my only hope. My heart must be instructed by true wisdom and pursue the path of real knowledge. This all begins with a high view of God, an all-encompassing vision of his holiness and majesty, all of which isn’t centred in my meagre and finite understanding, but instead, revealed in and through the eternal Word – Jesus Christ the Lord.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2