The Dangerous Path of A Fool
Being a fool is not a static event; rather it is very active. The Apostle Paul calls our life a ‘walk’ and uses it to refer to our conduct in life, how we live out our life. And for the fool, since he is a fool, his walk is filled with folly. Note that the folly proceeds from the heart and nature of the person. He is a fool therefore he produces folly. Last post I gave one key characteristic of a fool, he lacks judgment, which shows up in a multitude of ways. Today I will explore the second characteristic, the fool is set in his ways:
- He is a man with perverse speech. “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.” (Pro 19:1) The fool can’t keep folly off of his lips, let him speak and it will not be long that twisted, crooked, or false speech pours forth.
- He is a man with a perverse life. “Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Pro 26:11) You have to have a dog to understand this. They puke and then treat it like a second meal, every time. The fool lives out his folly and instead of seeing it for what it is, returns and does it again. He doesn’t learn the basic lessons of life. It is sad really.
- He speaks without thinking. “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.” (Pro 15:2) The wise man makes his knowledge useful. Literally it means that he is skillfully using his knowledge. There is care in his speech. However, the fool has no control on his words, they flow like a spring. Note that there may be knowledge within the words, but that the words are not delivered properly. Proverbs 15:28, “The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 29:11, “A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.”
- The fool is in love with his own mind. “A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.” (Pro 18:2) Remember, the heart of man is filled with foolishness. It is a traitor and yet the fool does not understand this fact nor does he properly fear his heart. Instead of having a healthy distrust of his own mind, he simply speaks of his opinions and is content. The task of ordering his mind and thoughts under the Word of God is foreign and drudgery to him.
So we have a person who has twisted words, twisted living, foolish speech and in love with his own opinions. But so what? Fools abound like dandelions in a field, why don’t we just ignore them? Because the true fool is a very dangerous person in reality:
- We should fear his influence in our lives more than we often do. “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly.” (Pro 17:12) What does it mean to meet a fool in his folly? Think the moment a drunken fool says he is fine and takes the car keys into his hand. Think the fool who looks at a dangerous part of town and says that you will be alright. Think, the fool who comes up with an idea and says, “Come on, it will be fun!” As a former cop, I saw it over and over.
- His mouth gets himself and others into a lot of trouble. “A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows. A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.” (Pro 18:6) Again, a police officer knows this first hand. How many times I arrived at a scene only to find a fool who was bleeding. Why? Because he was a fool and opened up his mouth and ended up getting thumped by another. And it was not uncommon to find his friends bleeding too, simply because they were in his presence.
- He brings burdens into the lives of others. “A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, But the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.” (Pro 27:3) Live in a home where the father or mother is a fool and you will understand the weight of a fool’s presence. Have a son or daughter who is a fool and the weight will bear down heavily on the parents’ souls.
Here, then, is the fool. He brings pain upon himself and upon those around him. He is a man heading to destruction and does not even see it. The fool is warned in Proverbs 29:1 that if he hardens his neck against reproof, eventually he will be broken beyond remedy. And live your life for a reasonable length of time and you will find many a broken fool and it is never a pretty sight.
The gospel tells us that Jesus came and took up our folly and became sin on our behalf that we might be saved. The gospel tells us that though we may be heavy-laden with our folly, that in Jesus we will find rest. The gospel tells us that in Jesus there is life and a new heart with a new desire. When you see the fool, what you see is a man or woman who needs Jesus.