Summary: In this sermon I basically dissect many Proverbs on the difference between what Solomon describes as Wisdom and Foolishness.
October 3, 2004 Proverbs of Wisdom and Foolishness
Put yourself in Solomon’s shoes some three thousand years ago. The LORD appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” (1 Ki 3:5) This was no Monte Hall’s Let’s Make a Deal - having three doors to choose from - taking a risk with what you’ve got for something greater. This was an open door - whatever you want! Instead of asking for riches, faith, or popularity, Solomon asked for wisdom. God responded by saying, “I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.” (1 Kings 3:12-14)
After God imparted Solomon with this wisdom, the wise man says to us -
Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor.” (Pr 4:5-9)
Wisdom is the key to life. Without it - you will end up in hell. But with it - you are given the very treasures of God Himself. God did not choose us and fill us with His Holy Spirit in order that we would remain fools. In order to get this wisdom, today we are going to open up Solomon’s words - and contrast two kinds of people -
The Fool and the Wise
I. What is a fool?
A fool, according to Solomon - is not a matter of how smart someone is or how high their IQ is. God’s idea of a fool doesn’t look at the brain, but more at the attitude and actions of a person. First of all, what does God say about the actions of a fool?
Proverbs 10:23 A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct.
Proverbs 10:18 Whoever spreads slander is a fool.
Proverbs 15:2 The mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Proverbs 20:3 It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.
You see these actions in the child that thinks it’s funny to get his teacher angry - even though it gets him in trouble. You see it in the big talking wheeler dealer who likes to look impressive by flashing his money around and taking big risks - but ends up having to declare bankruptcy three times. Even though he talks big, his actions are clearly ruining himself or his family. He would rather arrogantly ridicule those who are “too conservative” than admit that he did something wrong - tear others down to build himself up. All of us do foolish things more than occasionally - but the fool is distinguished because of the way he responds to correction -
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.
Proverbs 15:5 A fool spurns his father’s discipline.
Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
The attitude of a fool is someone who thinks he knows it all and can’t be convinced that he might be or do wrong. When Saul was sent to fight the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15, he was supposed to destroy all of it. Instead, he spared the king and the best sheep and cattle. However, when he met Samuel he said, “The LORD bless you! I have carried out the LORD’s instructions.” But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?” Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the LORD your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.” (1 Samuel 15:13-15) He was not willing to accept correction, because in his mind he was convinced that what he had done was ok - excusable. That is the sign of a fool - even in the face of obviously breaking God’s Word - he or she will not be willing to be told that he or she should have done something differently or that they made a mistake.
This is hard for people to do - for if they admit they made a mistake - it also means that they have to feel guilty. It means they might lose their job - get sued - or even go to jail. It also means that they might have to change their lifestyle - which is not a fun prospect. Therefore there is tension when dealing with fools. Solomon says -