Summary: Solomon offers us some realizations about the fool — realizations that can help us deal with foolish people, deliver us from being fools, or help find our way from foolishness to wisdom.
What Kind of Fool Am I?
(Proverbs 26:1, 3-12)
1. Arrogance and foolishness go together. A strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength. He made a special case of making fun of Morris, one of the older workmen. After several minutes, Morris had enough.
"Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?" he said. "I will bet a week's wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that outbuilding that you won't be able to wheel back."
"You're on, old man," the braggart replied. "It's a bet! Let's see what you got."
Morris reached out and grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then, nodding to the young man, he said, "All right. Get in." [praize.com]
2. Wisdom and foolishness are opposites. One good working definition of wisdom is, “the ability to make good decisions.”
3. In Proverbs, wisdom is more about being familiar with wise principles/ proverbs, & knowing how to apply those principles to specific situations.
4. Proverbs are principles that reflect the typical, not be confused with promises.
5. All of us act with wisdom at times, and all of us are foolish at times.The degree, frequency, and matters about which we are wise or foolish determines where we find ourselves on the foolishness-wisdom spectrum.
6. Derek Kidner remarks, “…this…is written for us in two capacities: as people dealing with fools, and as potential fools ourselves.”
Main Idea: Solomon offers us some realizations about the fool — realizations that can help us deal with foolish people, deliver us from being fools, or help find our way from foolishness to wisdom.
I. It Is Foolish to HONOR a Fool (1, 8).
A. Honoring a fool is the OPPOSITE of what should be (1).
1. What would you think if it snowed at the Loisch Lodge on the 4th of July?
2. In the field harvesting crops and a downpour came out of nowhere!
3. That’s how you should feel when a foolish person is honored.
4. Haman in the Book of Esther was such a fool who was promoted.
5. Our society is in trouble, one sign being that we honor fools. We take the dysfunctional people of Hollywood, popular music, or sports, and make them our heroes, while we ignore military, police, fire fighters, and emergency medical personal.
B. Honoring a fool has NEGATIVE consequences (8).
• NLT, “Honoring a fool is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot.”
• The people you honor, the people you look up to influence who you become. Who are your idols? Whom do you allow to influence you? (show picture 1)
II. Fools LEARN the Same Way Animals Do (3, 11).
A. They learn mostly by COERCION and consequences (3).
1. This is why we have jails and other forced social programs. Most of us have to be forced, at times, to do what is right or in our own best interest.
2. One reason why try to rear our children with consistent consequences is to train them, but we hope they eventually catch on and do the right and wise thing not just because of consequences, but also because it is wise and right.
3. Animals are noted for their stubborn, ingrained behavior. Stubbornness is a vice, not a virtue; a lot of people take pride in how stubborn they are; they are prime examples of what the Bible calls a “fool.”
Psalm 32:8-9, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.”
B. They REPEAT their mistakes (11).
1. The financial theory: if you pooled all money and distributed it evenly…
2. Carl Bullock, “A wise person learns from his mistakes. A really wise person learns from the mistakes of others.”
3. Some people wonder whether our young people need to study history. The trend toward emphasizing math, technology, and science has created a void. Learning history is not as important as learning God’s Word, but we can acquire quite a bit of wisdom by looking at past successes and mistakes.
4. Understanding how things came to be is important in determining the future.
5. If we don’t remember the past, we are doomed to repeat it (11— dog to vomit)
III. Answering A Fool Is A LOSE- LOSE Situation (4,5).
A. If you answer a fool with wisdom, you deliver yourself from being a fool, but have no CHANCE of persuading him.
• It is very frustrating when you have an explanation for something, and you are explaining it to a fool, who thinks, “Likely story.” Or they are not willing to focus their attention to try to understand.