The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I love when God’s word leads to the unexpected. One verse from Proverbs about the behavior of a fool opened a new angle for meditation. So we continue to look at the flip side of the coin. Here we find behavior indicative of those who do not fear the Lord.
Check out the focus text. Our pursuit of godly wisdom begins with respect, awe, and reverence for God. Humbly we submit to His instruction. In His light, we can discern truth with wisdom and understanding. Fools have no such divine filter.
We continue now with The Flip Side of Godly Wisdom.
- Fools despise their parents (Pro. 15:20)
If studies on the matter exist, I’m unaware. But it seems to me that respect and honor for parents has severely diminished in recent years. But rebellion of children against their parents was prophesied by the Apostle Paul as a sign of the end times.
There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents… 2 Timothy 3:1-2
- Fools are known by their ungodly speech (Pro 17:7)
You get the picture on this one. Perverse speech that dishonors God is the way of fools. People who speak in so-called colorful language lack the eloquence, grace, reverence, and kindness that honors God. Cursing and blaspheming God is the language of fools.
Sometimes I wonder if the 10 Commandments have been reduced to 9. Remember? “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
But the language of fools is more than just taking the name of the Lord in vain. It’s foolish speech, lies, and manipulation that misleads, abuses, and intentionally hurts others.
- Fools are unchanged by discipline (Pro. 17:10)
The Bible teaches we’re to learn from discipline. The purpose of discipline is to correct wrong behavior. Wrong behavior prevents us from getting the most out of life and, if unchecked, can cause painful consequences.
You’ve probably known, or at least heard about, children who can’t be controlled by discipline. Spanking, time out, grounding, and taking away privileges has no positive effect. Why do criminals who have paid their debt to society return to a life of crime?
Scripture teaches, “the Lord disciplines the one he loves.” (Hebrews 12:6) And we should learn from that discipline and be changed by it.
- Fools wander from wisdom (Pro. 17:24)
As Christians, we keep our eyes on Jesus for direction and meaning in our lives. The fool thinks of himself and follows the way of the world for fulfillment. Christ is our anchor. He keeps us from drifting with the tide of worldly pursuits.
- Fools are overly opinionated (Pro. 18:2)
They are too busy spouting out their opinions to listen to reason. As they pontificate their take on everything under the sun, you wonder how they could possibly think as they do. Their rationale makes no sense. The old folks described an opinionated fool as someone who “likes to hear himself talk.”
- Fools exhibit obstinate and unreasonable speech without regard to consequences – “perverse” (Pro. 19:1)
They are stubborn and refuse to change course, even when presented with truth. They boldly proclaim their position and ignore the consequences. Like the man with lung cancer who refuses to give up cigarettes, or the one who won’t seek help for alcohol addiction to save his marriage.
- Fools are quick to quarrel (Pro. 20:3)
They are argumentative and ready for a fight. Their temperament is like a cancer to relationships. They disrupt and suck the energy and life out of marriages and the workplace.
- Fools exhaust their resources (Pro. 21:20)
These are the people who make plenty but have nothing to show for it. They deplete resources faster than they come in. I must confess, I struggled with this one for a long time. As early as my Navy days, when I raked in a whopping $1,100 my first year, I spent every penny as soon as I got it.
My wife and I often talk about the one thing we wish we could go back to change. All we wasted on eating out. The toys the kids didn’t play with. The junk that ended up taking up space in the garage. If only we had been good stewards from the beginning of our marriage.
For more on this topic, check out this article: You Can’t Fake Your Way Into Heaven
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Tomorrow we’ll take a final look at The Mouth of a Fool Invites Ruin, The Flip Side of Godly Wisdom, Part 4.
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 4 (October – December) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.