August 5 I Wednesday
“How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” —Proverbs 1:22
As a contrast to wisdom, “folly” in the book of Proverbs is personified as “the fool.” Other names that it goes by are “the simple” and “the mocker.” A person is considered “a fool” in Proverbs not because of his mental capacity but by his mental attitude. We all have different mental capacity, I.Q. levels and intellectual abilities, but that is not the measure of a person. Proverbs measures a person not by their ability but by their attitude and disposition. We could educate a fool and make him a clever fool, but he is still a fool if his attitude and disposition do not change.
The fool in Proverbs is not mindless; in other words, he thinks and has his thoughts. The fool actually has a very determinate mind and there are three elements to his thinking. Firstly, he has opinions about everything. Proverbs 18:2 says, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” A fool wants people to know that he knows. Proverbs 23:9 also tells us, “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” What steers the fool is his rigid commitment and unwillingness to adjust his opinions, regardless of what anyone says.
Secondly, the fool is not inclined to learn. Proverbs 1:7 teaches, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” The fool despises and is not opened to wisdom as Proverbs 15:5 says, “A fool spurns a parent’s discipline…” A fool is reluctant to change his mind and allow someone to teach, to discipline or to rebuke him. He will not even re-evaluate his views in light of the facts that he had perhaps not considered before. Therefore, Proverbs 17:10 says, “A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.” To a man who is discerning and wise, a verbal rebuke is more effective than a fool who would not even learn after a hundred lashes.
Thirdly, the fool is always sure he is right. Proverbs 12:15 tells us, “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” A wise man is not somebody who knows everything; in fact, a wise man is somebody who knows what he does not know, which is why he is willing to listen to advice.
As we reflect on these elements in a fool’s thinking, do we fall into the traps of stubbornly insisting on our own knowledge and understanding, resisting being taught and deluding ourselves into believing we are always right? May we put aside our foolish ways and adopt a wise attitude and disposition.
Prayer: Sovereign God, guide me when I fall into foolish thinking. Help me to submit to Your wisdom, welcome Your discipline and yield to Your Truth. Amen!