Proverbs 26: Who’s the Fool?

This has been the proverb that has impacted me the most over the last few months and thus might be a longer read. So please bear with me.

vv. 4-5
“Do not answer a fool according to is folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.”

This is not the point I’m wanting to get to but makes for an interesting pause. Here we read two consecutive verses that completely contradict each other. My thought is this: You’re dealing with a fool! There is no right way to deal with them because they are, in fact, a fool! (If you have another take, please share.)
But let’s continue.

vv. 6-11
“Like cutting off one’s feet or drinking violence is the sending of a message by the hand of a fool.
Like a lame man’s legs that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool.
Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Like an archer who wounds a random is he who hires a fool or any passer-by.
As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”

So tell us Solomon, how do you really feel? Who among us thinks they’re a fool? Is there anything worse than being a fool? …so glad you asked.

v. 12
“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”

Ouch. It is quite easy for me to read about the fool, because I don’t think that I am one (at least, not usually). However, now we’re hitting a nerve. But here we find the answer… is there anything worse than being a fool? Who would have thought?

So where do we fit? This is why I love Proverbs 9. We are simply simple. Our best hope is to be the simple ones who listen to the call of wisdom. This reminds me of Jesus calling us to be like the little children.


heather said...

-This really hit me today, and this week.
Combining with your last post of words 'aptly spoken', I was in your dad's office sharing a struggle of balancing conviction and humility, and not always knowing what that looks like.
He was wise, patient and kind in the conversation... and when I finally asked him "Are you saying I need to be more of a "zero" in my own mind, he said "yes". Ironically, I think that is the balance of conviction and humility. I walked away not offended, but feeling a step closer to where I want to be in Him because of wisdom offered.
My, ... the journey from trying to be 'somebody' in this world to simply finding identity in being HIS is painful and awkward at times. I fear I'm more practiced at the 'fool' role. He is gracious in His mercy and promise of transformation..

Angie said...

I pity the fool! (wisdom from Mr. T!)

The times I most "act a fool" are in situations that I need to admit I'm wrong on something... or just admit that I could be wrong!

And I'll say too... the hardest thing for me in dealing with other people's foolishness is simply not engaging in it (even when I KNOW they are cracked in the head & need to be set straight!) But sometimes taking them a step closer to Christ means backing down. Painful, man. NOT my spiritual gift!

Jesus had the kind of wisdom in that he knew what battles were worth fighting and when to just write in the sand. I need me some of that.

Sure do love you for bringing us all these pearls, Tim!

tim rush said...

Heather, I know just what you mean. The journey to being 'somebody' looks so promising, yet such the dead end. The road to being 'zero' looks foolish, yet promises the world.

Angie, loved the writing in the sand thought. That is great. I never ever thought of it that way before.

Do you wonder how much time Jesus spent reading through the Proverbs? Cause they keep showing up in his teachings and actions.