by Travis Main
This is the first article in a series of articles on fools. Some people may hear the word fool and think of a silly friend or comedian. However, most folks associate the word fool with a negative connotation. The Bible has much to say about fools and without hesitation it presents the foolish in a negative light. Why study fools? If the Bible frowns on the foolish, then it would behoove man to learn about fools so that they can avoid being one. The series to be embarked upon will examine foolishness in a number of categories: Disobedience, speech, anger, knowledge, and consequences. Ultimately, it will be observed that foolishness is a choice which man can exercise and by it he will be known, labeled, and dealt with appropriately.
God has enabled all men to receive or reject the truths which he has given. This has been established since the creation of man. God gave man a choice: avoid the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and live with all the blessings given man, or eat of the fruit and from that day forward experience death (Genesis 2:16-17). Man made his choice and the end result of that is what we see today. The world which now exists is a world which still has a great number of God’s blessings, but which is also full of cruelty, suffering, disease, and many forms of evil. Why would man make such a choice when he had been informed of the consequences? The answer is foolishness. Man chose to be a fool rather than remain in the image of God which is pure, holy, and without evil (Genesis 1:27).
When man chooses to ignore the direction God has provided for man’s most beneficial outcome, the result is disobedience, or more simply expressed – sin. Sinful disobedience can be directly equated with foolishness. The Old Testament makes such an equation in the following places as well as others:
1 Samuel 13:13 – And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.
1 Samuel 26:21 – Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly.
2 Samuel 24:10 – And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
1 Chronicles 21:8 – And David said unto God, I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing: but now, I beseech thee, do away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.
In each of the above passages, Saul or David (the first and second kings of Israel) had engaged in sin. They had gone against what God’s will was. The sin was identified and they were labeled or labeled themselves foolish for such disobedience. They saw the equation between the two terms. David, when he prays to God, asks for forgiveness. Not only does he know that he has sinned, but that God sees all the sins that man commits.
Psalms 69:5 – O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.
Where does the foolishness of man originate? It originates from where all sins come, the man’s heart. His choices are not accidents, whether ignorantly or with knowledge, man makes his own decisions and though they may vary in impact upon themselves or others, they are still sins against God. The variation of the sin does not eliminate the transgression.
Mark 7:21-22 – For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts and fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
It must further be understood that the foolish decisions of the heart are led by pride, emotions, and stubborn will.
Romans 1:21-23 – Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
The horrible condition of the fool is achieved when they convince themselves that they are right in their behaviors. Consider the lengths to which King David went to take Bathsheba, another man’s wife, and then cover up the fact that he committed adultery. His deception led him as far as arranging the murder of a man who loyally served and protected him. The entire time, David proceeded forward with a blind eye to the commands of God. David indeed fit the description of a fool as Solomon his son aptly provided in the book of proverbs:
Proverbs 12:15 – The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
Proverbs 14:16 – A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.
Proverbs 28:26 – He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
When men put their own thoughts and emotions above priorities from God, they do not see clearly. Man certainly has not changed from the Patriarchal or Mosaic ages. From the first century era, the New Testament letter written by Paul to the Galatians calls them out for their foolishness.
Galatians 3:1 – O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Galatians 3:3 – Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Having received the gift of the son of God, the redemption of mankind, the blood atoning sacrifice establishing a new covenant following that which was fulfilled and therefore nailed to the cross, the Galatians were listening to men who would have them keep portions of the Mosaic covenant. John 14:6 recorded Christ saying he was the Truth and that no man comes to the father but through Him. Yet, the Galatians were treading a path separate from that which God ordained through Jesus. They were acting as fools and Paul let them know that. They had first obeyed the words of the gospel provided by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but now they were accepting words through the reasoning of man, flesh. They were behaving much like the false prophets that Ezekiel warned about:
Ezekiel 13:3 – Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
The Galatians had no logical reasoning for turning to Mosaic practices save their own spirit, their own heart, which compelled them to exercise such monumental disobedience. Following components of the Mosaic Law by the authority of that covenant is even practiced by some religions today. It was sinful in the first century and nothing has changed. Why do religious groups do such things? Foolishness! Of course, Romans 3:23 states “all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God”. This includes all of the apostles, prophets, and prophetesses mentioned in scripture. It includes patriarchs and renowned men of faith as well. Sinful foolishness goes beyond following the old law and extends to all disobedience to the law of Christ. Consider the words of Paul to Titus:
Titus 3:3 – For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
That all men of all ages, save Christ, have acted foolishly is a fact. However, that all men have made themselves guilty of foolishness is no reason to continue such behavior. Disobedience to God must end. Paul drew the line when addressing the blessing of Christ’s sacrifice.
Romans 6:1-2 – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
When man is disobedient, he not only demonstrates himself a fool, but he provides an example for others to follow in his footsteps. One thing the world does not need more of is fools. We are to no longer walk as fools but as men who are wise according to Ephesians 5:15. This means that man must get control of himself by giving control to God’s plan. Man must humble himself (Matthew 5:3) and realize that God’s ways are certainly higher than his ways (Isaiah 55:9). That is not easy to do. The idea of being a self made man is sought after by so many people, however, that is just an illusion of the fool. By laying aside such foolishness and following God’s plan, a proper example will shine its light upon others. Are you a fool? You do not have to be. You can make the choice to change. Put away foolish disobedience.
1 Peter 2:15 – For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
The next article in this series, “Are You a Fool? Part 2”, will examine “Fools and Their Speech”.
Are You a
Fool?, Part 2: Fools and their Speech
A failure to share knowledge, dwelling on sinfulness, and uttering words which are personally detrimental, these are identifying attributes of fools. Again, they are opposite of what identifies a wise man. They are not qualities with which any person should be acquainted.
Are You a
Fool? Part 3: Fools and their Anger
As with both disobedience and the speech of a fool, anger and the behaviors that go with it are a choice. It carries the same penalty as the other sins mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 as the works of the flesh.
Are You a Fool? Part 4: Fools and Their Knowledge
The gathering of knowledge which sees an individual through his earthly life begins at birth and ends at death. There are some fools who have a vast amount of knowledge gathered in short or long lifetimes. The first concern regarding their knowledge is: Does the fool have the right knowledge?
Are You a Fool? Part 5: Fools and Their Consequences
The Fool's actions of disobedience, unbridled speech, anger, and knowledge without wisdom will result in opposite and equal consequences. the Bible establishes there will be affliction, falling, and destruction for the fool.
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