Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
By definition, one would not set out to become a fool.
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
FOOL, n. Heb.
1. One who is destitute of reason, or the common powers of understanding; an idiot. Some persons are born fools, and are called natural fools; others may become fools by some injury done to the brain.
2. In common language, a person who is somewhat deficient in intellect, but not an idiot; or a person who acts absurdly; one who does not exercise his reason; one who pursues a course contrary to the dictates of wisdom.
Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.
3. In scripture, fool is often used for a wicked or depraved person; one who acts contrary to sound wisdom in his moral deportment; one who follows his own inclinations, who prefers trifling and temporary pleasures to the service of God and eternal happiness.
The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Ps. 14.
4. A weak christian; a godly person who has much remaining sin and unbelief.
O fools, and slow of heart to believe all the prophets have written. Luke 24.
Also, one who is accounted or called a food by ungodly men. 1Cor. 4:10.
5. A term of indignity and reproach.
To be thought knowing, you must first put the fool upon all mankind.
6. One who counterfeits folly; a buffoon; as a king’s fool.
I scorn, although their drudge, to be their fool or jester.
1. To play the fool, to act the buffoon; to jest; to make sport.
2. To act like one void of understanding.
To put the fool on, to impose on; to delude.
To make a fool of, to frustrate; to defeat; to disappoint.
FOOL, v.i. To trifle; to toy; to spend time in idleness, sport or mirth.
Is this a time for fooling?
1. To treat with contempt; to disappoint; to defeat; to frustrate; to deceive; to impose on.
When I consider life, ’tis all a cheat; for fooled with hope, men favor the deceit.
2. To infatuate; to make foolish.
3. To cheat; as, to fool one out of his money.
1. To fool away, to spend in trifles, idleness, folly, or without advantage; as, to fool away time.
2. To spend for things of no value or use; to expend improvidently; as, to fool away money.
One could read that definition and think of a name of someone that fits that description. But can we look in the mirror and find the fool in ourselves? I know there are some subjects and in many areas that I am “deficient in intellect”.
It also contains “one who does not exercise his reason.” As I have grown older, I would like to think I have grown wiser as well. But that is not always the case. I may stumble at something and wonder why I have not yet learned my lesson as I have been this way before.
Many of us may be called insane, though the connotations of that word overshadow the actual definition. Insanity may be described as doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. We may do something out of routine, tradition, or heritage and say; “That’s the way we’ve done it for years.”
To be a fool or thought a fool is only as temporary as we desire to depart from that state.
Some are fools in their relationships. They stumble over the same things over and over; never learning that the type of person, or the same way they act, or the way they treat someone needs to change for things to be different.
Some are fools with their family. They chase after job and career and leave their loved ones behind. The relationships at work begin to overtake their marriage and their parenting, and soon, they become distant and cold. The greener grass on the other side of the fence seems inviting and tempting. But soon, they realize that once they cross over that fence, the grass still needs to be mowed and the spouse and children they left are more desirable than what brought them to this place.
Some are fools in their finances. They spend money on every whim and never seem to have enough to make ends meet. They are forever borrowing and rarely repaying the debts they owe. Banks won’t lend, friends begin to catch on and soon, they are friendless and fund-less. Jobs are scarce because they just don’t seem to pay enough. They are often the ones who play the lottery, thinking that winning the jackpot would solve all their problems.
Some are fools in leadership. Their care and concern are solely focused on how it will reflect on them as opposed to keeping to the goals of the company. How they treat those who work for them and with them become a disposable commodity instead of building their people who will, in turn, develop their company.
Some are fools with God. They hear the jeers of others as they mock God and seek their own pleasure. They follow religions that fit their desires and never find the truth. They hear the gospel and think that they have time to make a decision, and put off that which they never seem to come back to later in life.
Fools lack in preparation, perspective, and power. They lack the character to follow through to really effect a change in their life. They do not think through decisions enough to see the long term or even eternal ramifications of what it is they are going to do.
God gives us some excellent advice to avoid the foolishness in our own life.
Realizing the order of things and where I fit in that order, will go a long way in helping me get wisdom and the understanding needed to steer clear of my own foolishness. Having a reverential fear of my Creator is foundational in growing to become who and what my Heavenly Father created me to be.
Fearing God is only the beginning. Following after that, which will build a sure foundation in our life is that which we need to set our mind and our heart.
True wisdom is being able to see the fool in ourselves and seek God to guide us into all truth.
Often, the simple becomes profound.
Micah 6:8 “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
Proverbs 9:6 “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.”