Who Is A Fool? -
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 3/5/01
"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,"
1) A person is a fool who denies the existence of God. Psalms 14:1
2) A person is a fool who trusts in his own heart. Proverbs 28:26
3) A person is a fool who despises wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
4) A person is a fool who is quick-tempered. Ecc. 7:9; Proverbs 14:16-17
5) A person is a fool who scoffs at sin. Proverbs 14:9; 10:23
Reviewing the Definition of A Fool
Let’s begin by reviewing the Biblical definition of a fool. The term fool
is often used for a sinful, wicked or immoral person who will not obey the commands
of the Lord. The fool acts contrary to biblical wisdom in his choices and behavior.
He follows his own inclinations and desires. The fool prefers to enjoy the immediate,
insignificant pleasures of the here and now to obeying and serving the Lord and being rewarded
Who is a fool?
- A person is a fool who despises wisdom and
Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is
the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."
Wisdom is very important!
says, "Wisdom is the
principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get
understanding." The word principal means the first, in place, time,
order or rank. In fact, if the Bible is to be believed, (and it is) wisdom is more
precious than gold! This is noted in
Proverbs 16:16 --"How much better is it to
get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!"
So, what is wisdom? A basic definition of wisdom is, the art
of learning how to succeed in life. Further, wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment
either in avoiding evils or attempting good.
The question naturally arises, how can you learn to succeed in life and
exercise sound judgment? Though wisdom may well involve observation and instruction, it really
begins with what we find in Job 28:28 "And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of
the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."
That is the same thing that our text verse says -- "The fear of the LORD is the
beginning of knowledge…"
It is impossible to have genuine success in life without fearing God and
keeping his commandments. Turn to Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 in your Bibles. King
Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. His purpose was to give a report on what he found to be
of lasting value or if you will, how a person could live life wisely. He shares his conclusion
in the last two verses of the last chapter of Ecclesiastes. He writes-- "Let us hear the
conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the
whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every
secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil."
The problem with many people today is that they measure success by the bulge
in their bank accounts or the proliferation of their possessions. Many fools have big house but
not a home. They have an abundance of possessions but no joy. Proverbs 10:22 "The
blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it."
Fools have no heart for genuine wisdom (Proverbs 17:16)! They don’t care
what God has to say about how they should live their lives or how they should treat people
because they have their own agendas.
A biblical example of this kind of fool is Nabal of 1 Samuel 25. We
know from the context that Nabal was wealthy (v.2). We also know that David and his army had
protected Nabal’s herdsmen from the marauding bands of Philistines and Arabs that were in the
areas. (vs. 7, 16). David sent ten men to ask Nabal for food and supplies for his services.
David even urged him to verify his activities with his herdsmen (v.8). Nabal did not use his
common sense! He neglected to apply wisdom to the situation. But, when you read the context
that should not come as a surprise. In fact, Nabal means fool. I rather think that was his
nickname. He is a fowl mouthed, ill-mannered fool. This is indicated in verse 3 when it says,
"the man was churlish and evil in his doings…" One of the ancient versions
says he was a doggish man, that is he had the character of a dog.
His true character becomes obvious in his response to David’s entourage.
He insults David and characterizes him as a rebellious run-away slave (10-11). In fact, David
was Gods chosen man to rule Israel. He was just waiting for God’s timing to assume his role.
He denied David’s request and sent the his ambassadors packing.
Nabal did not exercise wisdom. Remember, wisdom is the exercise of sound
judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good. Further, he would not receive
instruction. He did not want anyone’s imput! He was a law unto himself. He rejected one of
the key principles of wisdom, seeking wise counsel. Proverbs 12:15 "The way of a
fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise."
There is a glut of fools in this world that despise wisdom and instruction.
But the world does not have the corner on the market! There are plenty of fools in Bible
believing churches as well. For instance, I have advocated a strict, structured home
environment for rearing children for years. I believe that there are 5 key responsibilities
involved in parenting. (see my complete message on the topic at –
http://logosresourcepages.org/columbin.htm). They are as follows –
-- Deuteronomy 6:1-9: The primary person responsible for a child's education is the parent.
And, I might add, the primary things to be taught are biblical values. Deuteronomy 6 makes
that clear, Proverbs 22 makes that clear, Ephesians 6 makes that clear. And again it is a
joint father and mother effort! Biblical instruction sets the moral compass of a child's
- Deuteronomy 6:7; James 1:19: Parents need to have open, often (daily), communication with
their children. Real communication includes talking and listening!
It is obvious from Deuteronomy 6 that God expects us to be involved in the lives of our
children. While it is true that we no longer live in an agricultural society, we still need
to be involved in the lives of our children. Do things with them! Plan activities that
involve them. Go to their school activities. Participation in the life of your child will
enable you to see how they behave, who their friends are and how they interact with others,
- Regulation -- Proverbs 4:10-27; Proverbs 23:13-14: God expects parents to set clear boundaries for their
children. Your children need to know what the rules are. Then they should be commended for
obedience and corrected for disobedience. Eli the priest did not carry out this parental
responsibility in dealing with his errant sons. God judged him because he "restrained
-- Proverbs 18:17: If you are going to be a proper parent and have your children in order you
must regularly be involved in investigation. You must know who they are hanging around with
and who their friends are. You need to know the values of the families of their friends. Know
who they are talking to on the phone, who they are writing and receiving mail from (e-mail
included). You need to know the chat rooms they are visiting, the web sites they are
visiting. What music are they listening to? What videos are they watching and what video
games are they playing? You need to know where they are going and what they are doing and
don't always take their word for it. Check it out! Then respond accordingly. Curtail wrong
friendship (1 Corinthians 15:33; Psalm 1). Prohibit wrong music, games, videos & TV
(Proverbs 4:23; Proverbs 23:7). Stop questionable activities. Remember, God holds you
responsible for training up your children in the way they should go, not the way they want to
go. In fact, your children are a reflection of your parenting.
I have had Christian parents claim that these principles are too structure
and just too intrusive. And there are those who would rather be their kid’s pal. I must tell
you that I was shocked when I read an article in the February 22 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
titled Children with strict parents less apt to take drugs, study finds. The National
Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University did a study of 1000 youth from
the ages of 12 to 17. "The study shows that teens who live in highly structured households
are at low risk of abusing drugs, whether the children are raised by both parents, a single
parent or a stepparent. The study found that teens living in ‘hands-off’ households are
twice as likely to abuse drugs as the average teen, and those with absentee parents were four
times as likely to abuse substances as children in highly structured, ‘hands-on’
It was also noted, "mothers and fathers who are parents rather than
pals can greatly reduce the risk (of alcohol and drug abuse)."
It is clear. The Bible is filled with wisdom and instruction. A person is a
fool who despises wisdom and instruction! "Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel,
Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13
Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high
wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant." Isaiah 30:12-13
The above passage is similar to the foolish man who will not heed the wisdom
and instruction of our Lord, who builds his house upon the sand in Matthew
will befall the fool who despises wisdom and instruction.