Category Archives: Fools

Short-Fused

Proverbs 29:11

“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
“A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back.” – NASB

Have you ever been around someone who has a “short fuse?” It is like you are walking on broken glass in socks. You can walk carefully for a while, but if you make one slip a shard will make its way into your foot. You can be talking with your short-tempered friend like you would any other day, but if you mention something he doesn’t like then he could transform into the Tasmanian Devil (Taz) from Loony Tunes. 230px-Taz-Looney_Tunes.svg

Then there is the wise man. This is the kind of person that can be insulted and walk away, or when something bad happens is willing to hold back his anger in order to comprehend the situation. When you are with this kind of person you can relax.

Are you the self-controlled wise man, or are you the short-fused fool? Can you relate to Mr. Miyagi (the quiet sensei from Karate Kid), or do you act like the Hulk? Are you slow to anger like a sloth is slow to do anything at all, or are you easily provoked like an army of fire ants?

“[Be] quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20 NASB 

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Rest Will Come…One Day

Proverbs 29:9

“If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.”

The first thing we should understand is that this proverb’s setting, according to most commentaries, is in something like a courtroom. The word “contendeth” implies such. However, as we watch the “wise” contending with “fools” in courtrooms around the world, it is becoming harder and harder to determine which is the defendant.

In most situations, if you were to walk into a courtroom, you would expect the “wise” to be on the side of the prosecution, while the “foolish man” would be the other guy: the one slobbering on himself, freaking out, and making outrageous, unreasonable arguments for his case. But sadly, especially in the cases where God is on trial; where morals, faith, and family are under assault; where Christ is deemed an unnecessary and offensive part of Christmas, the “wise” are on the defense.

Consider the following commentary on Proverbs 29:9. As you read it, think of those who want to remove any resemblance of faith and religion from the public square, such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Atheists, Richard Dawkins, etc.

He makes his argument not by logic, reason, or clear evidence but in a range of wild responses in which he “rages [a verb for “earthquake” in 30:21; Amos 8:8] or laughs,” probably in a mocking, sneering fashion to try to sway the verdict. The “peace” that ought to come from reconciliation, or at least a sound decision, is impossible. The matter bubbles on interminably to the pain of the wise and the distress of the community.[1]

English: Professor . Español: Profesor Richard...

In a public speech to his fellow atheists gathering in Washington, D.C., Richard Dawkins gave some suggestions. When contending with those who believe in God, especially Christians, he advised: Mock them. Ridicule them. In public…with contempt. Chillingly, in predictive fashion, the Bible says “that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts…” (2 Pet. 3:3). We must be getting close.

One day the Righteous Judge will hold court, but don’t lose hope. Even though we may have acted like fools in one way or another, those of us who’s Advocate is Jesus Christ (1 Jn. 2:1) have nothing to fear. Wisdom personified will argue on our behalf.

The foolish man, however, will be able to argue his own case. And once again, with rage and contempt, spewing out all manner of hatred and vile, he will attempt to justify himself.

But on that day, God will not be mocked (Gal. 6:7). 


[1] David A. Hubbard and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Proverbs, vol. 15, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989), 462.


Where Is Your Trust?

Proverbs 28:26

He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.”

Common Core

There is a common teaching throughout the world and particularly popular in Western entertainment today.

That teaching is to “find yourself” by “looking inside yourself for true happiness.” It is closely related to the other teaching: “Follow your heart.”

Why are you a fool to follow these? They sound innocent enough.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 17:9

God has told us that our hearts are wicked and deceitful, and the world acts as great evidence through all of the problems, pain, and chaos caused by humans doing what felt right or seemed right.

At the core of who we are, we all share a common trait: sin.

Walking Wisely

How then shall we be delivered? How do we find happiness and peace?

We need to turn to the One who knows us completely, the One who knows all of our sin and all of our capabilities.

Only God knows all of this. And only God is able to deliver us from our sin and sinfulness.

To walk wisely is to trust in our Deliverer: God the Son, Jesus Christ, the One who died to free us from our sin and rose to life again.

Through the Holy Spirit, we are able to walk in all wisdom and righteousness.

Where is your trust? Is it in your heart that cannot be understood, or is it in the One who understands you completely and did everything to deliver you and give you peace?

Loving Lord, give us understanding and humility. Through Your Holy Spirit, deliver us in wisdom to walk with You and love all.


If I Were a Rich Man

Proverbs 28:11 

The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
Rich people may think they are wise, but a poor person with discernment can see right through them. (NLT)

Once again one of the richest men who ever lived is giving the rich a hammering. It seems likely that King Solomon would have encountered most of the richest people in his society, from home and abroad. The question is how many did he hold in high esteem? Not many it would seem if the number of proverbs criticizing the rich is taken as an indicator.

Why did Solomon think so badly of wealthy people? Actually, it is very easy to judge rich people. It seems that the media is constantly reporting on the tomfoolery of pop stars, movie stars, football (soccer) players, and other sports personalities, all of whom seem to have untold wealth when compared with the rest of the population. Most of us would say that it is also undeserved wealth, although in a way we have contributed to that wealth by purchasing music, watching movies, and by buying overpriced tickets for supposedly top-notch sports events.

The last time I took my two youngest children to a Premier League soccer match it cost me over £100 for tickets, travel, etc. I can’t say that I was particularly impressed with the performance of the players, although I always enjoy the atmosphere in the stadium. Sadly it seems that many of the young footballers in the UK Premier League are lacking in wisdom when not on the pitch, and wealth seems to play a huge part in this deficiency.

There are certain responsibilities attached to wealth, the most important being to use wealth wisely. Jesus spoke on the subject in the parable of the talents when surprisingly the servant who had been given the most demonstrated the greatest wisdom in his investments. There is a message in that parable for those of us who consider ourselves wealthy in spiritual terms. Such wealth is useless if it is not invested wisely. Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Where is your wealth and how wisely is it invested and used? And in what ways are you poor, and how does this affect your perception?


“I Pity the Fool!”

Proverbs 28:8

“He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.”
“Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.” – NIV

Pitying the Fool

When I was growing up in the 1980’s, my family and I loved to watch The “A” Team on television. Each week we would look forward to how a group of former Green Berets would battle bad guys, firing thousands of rounds of ammunition and wrecking multiple vehicles, all without ever killing a single person.

One of the most lovable characters on the program was Mr. T. He was a large, tough, black man with a Mohawk haircut and enough gold necklaces to finance a small army. Any time he was challenged, his famous catchphrase was, “I pity the fool!”

Today’s proverb, however, describes how a hero will one day come along and avenge the ones who have been taken advantage of by the rich. The hero will have pity on the “poor,” not the loan shark.

Pitying the Poor

There are many that claim to be doing the poor a favor by loaning them money. Yet, once the money is loaned, the rich take advantage of the situation, binding the poor to an even greater debt. If there is a warning to be had, Solomon makes it clear that God does not approve of taking advantage of the poor, especially by inflicting unreasonable interest rates and fees.

I wonder, then, what Solomon would have to say about places that offer payday/advances? What would he think of locking the poor into 300+% interest rates? Those who offer these “services” should be very careful, for one day their profits may end up in the hands of a “Mr. T” who pities the poor.


Talking To A Brick Wall

Proverbs 27:22

Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him. (KJV)
You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle. (NLT)

talking-to-a-brick-wallWhen you are talking to a fool, it is like talking to a brick wall. Why even bother? If talking to someone is like talking to a brick wall, the person you are speaking to does not listen.

Our verse today explains to us that even when a fool is put under pressure, the foolishness inside them will remain.

The website “Let God Be True” explains our verse this way:

A mortar was a cup-shaped stone vessel that held grain, so it could be pulverized with a pestle, a club-like instrument used to pound the grain. Braying the grain meant to beat, bruise, and crush it to powder. The metaphor is powerful! If you were to smash a fool in a mortar with a pestle, you could not drive away his foolishness and make him wise.

There is only one way for a fool to get rid of his foolishness – to fear the Lord (Proverbs 1:7)

Lord, I pray that I will fear you more and more each and every day. I want wisdom to be my present and my future. I don’t want the Lord to see my life and say that it was like talking to a brick wall when He was speaking to me.


Eyes Wide Open

Proverbs 27:12

A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.
A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences. (NLT)

Recognizing Danger

Young people have an often-deserved reputation for failing to recognize danger, and on occasions choosing to ignore it. When I was a cadet in the Merchant Navy many an old sea dog dished out advice on numerous aspects of life, not least of all issues of safety associated with what was considered to be a dangerous job. Sometimes I listened, sometimes I didn’t. Even when going ashore I wasn’t always blessed with wisdom about places to go and places to avoid.

One piece of advice given to those on their first trip to sea involves sitting on the rails of a ship. For some reason only first trippers and seagulls have an attraction to rails. The difference is that seagulls perch and have wings to rescue themselves if required. First trippers are more likely to do a couple of somersaults before hitting the water and being left behind as the ship disappears into the sunset.

Spiritual Risk

Given that life is full of danger it is difficult to understand why so many of us walk straight into it. While we are unable to see what is around every corner this does not excuse us from approaching each corner with caution.

In spiritual terms Solomon is warning about the dangers of not recognizing evil. The problem with evil is that it has many disguises. Even in church, perhaps especially in church, there is vulnerability and the potential for problems of various magnitudes. God does not want or expect us to live our lives with our eyes shut. Nor does He expect us to live with our minds closed to Him. If we are tuned into God, if we are constantly hungry for more of Him, then He will provide us with early warnings of danger as our sensitivity to His will increases. We may still walk into walls, but God will be there right by us.