by Travis Main
"The wise man built his house upon the Rock. The wise man built his house upon the Rock. The wise…".
It is quite likely any person reading the above words knows they are from one of the first Sunday school songs a child learns. They are based on the Biblical passage Matthew 7:24-27. In a nutshell, a wise man builds the house of his life on the Rock foundation which is Christ. The foolish man builds his house upon a foundation of sand which is the foundation of man and is not stable. When the storms of life come, the house which the foolish man built will come falling down. There is no doubt that both men had knowledge which built their houses. However, it is very evident the knowledge was not of equal value. In fact, it can be observed the information which the foolish man followed was actually harmful. Great lessons in truth can be gained from but a few Biblical passages that we share early on with our children.
The gathering of knowledge which sees an individual through his earthly life begins at birth and ends at death. Some lives end very early, others span more than 100 years. In a lifetime, fools of all ages will be encountered. There will be those who are exposed as fools by their disobedience to God, their unbridled tongue, their fits of anger, and even those whose unstable knowledge betrays them. The relationship of concern with fools and their knowledge is not age specific, nor is it in the volume of knowledge that they gather. 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?
Jeremiah 4:22 – For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.
Back and neck pain is something a large number of people have to experience. When this occurs, a chiropractor may be utilized to correct the problem and relieve the pain. The individual does not go to a psychiatrist to relieve the back pain. The psychiatrist certainly has a great deal of knowledge about the mental processes of human beings and how to deal with them, however, in regard to issues regarding the skeletal and muscular system their knowledge will not be of use. Likewise, a computer can accomplish a great number of tasks, yet, it cannot accomplish those tasks until the knowledge to achieve them is programmed into it. Similarly, the fool may have lots of knowledge about the world; however, as pointed out in the passage from Jeremiah, they lack knowledge which would contribute to salvation and doing the good works which God desires of man (Ephesians 2:10). Fools need spiritual knowledge, knowledge gained from God’s Word, the Bible. Knowledge at its basic level is being familiar with ideas, information, and truth. All healthy humans are capable of gathering knowledge, both for good and evil. They choose the types of knowledge with which they will fill their life (Philippians 4:8).
A second concern regarding the knowledge of fools relates to their use of the right knowledge when they encounter it. Fools do not engage the spiritual knowledge they have in their grasp, they lack wisdom. Wisdom is the understanding of knowledge and common sense to apply knowledge. For example, there are times furniture needing assembly is purchased. In the box in which the furniture is packed, there is often a paper with directions printed on it to aid the assembler. Such knowledge is very helpful. However, if the directions are only in Spanish and the assembler cannot read Spanish, there is a lack of understanding, a lack of wisdom.
Proverbs 8:5 – O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Proverbs 10:21 – The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
These passages make it clear that the fool lacks wisdom. However, our example of directions in Spanish doesn’t quite fit the situation of the fool. Why? Though the assembler has the knowledge in his grasp, he cannot understand and therefore cannot wisely apply it. This is not the case with Biblical knowledge. The apostle Paul established that man can understand the words given by God to direct his life (Ephesians 3:1-7). So why is it that fools lack understanding of the knowledge available to them to make them wise (outside of a lack of exposure)?
1 Corinthians 1:20 – Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
1 Corinthians 3:19 – For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
Proverbs 18:2 – A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
2 Corinthians 11:19 – For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
1 Corinthians 2:14 – But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
These verses give reasons why the fool lacks wisdom. First, the fool relies on the wisdom of the world which steers man wrong in many ways because it is based on immature and corrupt knowledge (Proverbs 16:22). Man tries to follow his own theories, emotions, experiences, and desires. This was mentioned earlier in this series. Second, fools may see themselves as wise. The apostle Paul told the Corinthians they put up with the foolish, because they saw themselves as wise rather than the fools they were. Third, the fool sees God’s wisdom as foolishness. Still, there is more:
Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:22 – How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
Proverbs 15:5 – A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Proverbs 23:9 – Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
Jeremiah 5:21 – Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
It is obvious from these verses that a fourth item which keeps a fool from wisdom is he does not want to hear it. He doesn’t have the common sense to hear it. He despises it. There are simply a great number of people in the world who get down right hostile when they are exposed to God, His son, or His Word. In some cases, it doesn’t matter if this is direct interaction with the fool (proselytizing, door knockers) or something they view indirectly (public prayer or posting of scripture). They don’t want anything to do with God. To attempt to share spiritual wisdom with them is like throwing pearls to swine (Matthew 7:6, Proverbs 26:9). Thus, from the furniture assembly example, it is as if the man received sound instructions he could read and understand, but he threw them out regardless of their wisdom.
While the Bible presents the shortcomings of fools, it does not leave those who would seek God’s wisdom without direction (Matthew 7:7).
Matthew 5:3 – Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
1 Corinthians 3:18 – Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
Proverbs 9:6 – Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
The first two passages deal with humility, ego. To avoid being deceived by his own "wisdom", man is to put himself aside. He will become a fool in the eyes of the world (I Corinthians 4:10), but the wisdom of God he follows will see him to the kingdom of heaven. In the last passage, those who would accept true wisdom are told to stay away from the foolish. There can be no good which will come by choosing association with those who would be fools (I Corinthians 15:33). The knowledge of a fool is not Godly knowledge. The wisdom of a fool is not wisdom at all.
Psalms 111:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
The Final article in this series, "Are You a Fool? Part 5", will examine "Fools and Their Consequences".
See Also:Are You a Fool? Part 1: Fools and Their Disobedience
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 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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