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Who Is A Fool?
Part #3 Despising Wisdom

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,"
Ephesians 5:15
Reviewing the Definition of A Fool

Lets 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 in eternity.

Who is a fool?
  • A person is a fool who despises wisdom and instruction

Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

Wisdom is very important! Proverbs 4:7 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 dont 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 Nabals 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 Davids 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 Gods timing to assume his role. He denied Davids 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 anyones 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

  • Education -- 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 life!
  • Communication - Deuteronomy 6:7; James 1:19: Parents need to have open, often (daily), communication with their children. Real communication includes talking and listening!
  • Participation: 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, etc.
  • 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 them not."
  • Investigation -- 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 kids 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 homes."

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 7:26-27. Disaster will befall the fool who despises wisdom and instruction.

Who Is A Fool?

Part #1 A person is a fool who denies the existence of God. Psalms 14:1
Part #2 A person is a fool who trusts in his own heart. Proverbs 28:26
Part #3 A person is a fool who despises wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
Part #4 A person is a fool who is quick-tempered. Ecc. 7:9; Proverbs 14:16-17
Part #5 A person is a fool who scoffs at sin. Proverbs 14:9; 10:23

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"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matthew 24:3

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9

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