THE WISE VS. THE FOOLISH

 

Jesus said:

 

Matthew 7:24 " Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:25 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."

 

There is a stark contrast between the wise and the foolish. Jesusí illustration shows us that the wise man is the one who listens to the wisdom of Godís Word and lives His life by it. In contrast, the foolish man does not listen to God and lives his life however he wants to. The wise will stand firm in the end, but the foolish will be swept away.

 

No one is born a fool or born wise because we have to choose how we will live our life. God has given us a free will to either resist His wisdom or to embrace it (Jos. 24:15). As Joshua said:

 

Joshua 24:15 "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

 

The question becomes, what path will you choose?

 

The Book of Proverbs has much to say about the wise and the foolish and what their outcome will be. So, let us examine what Solomon wants us to learn about them.

 

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

 

One of the main differences between the foolish and the wise is that the foolish live by their own heartís desire, while the wise live by the wisdom of God. The foolish disregard anyone who tries to teach them a better way because they despise instruction (Prov. 1:7).

 

The foolish way has its beginning in childhood. It begins with the rebellious child who refuses to listen to his parents (Prov. 15:5; 17:25).

 

Proverbs 15:5 A fool despises his father's instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent.

 

Proverbs 17:25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, And bitterness to her who bore him.

 

When a child refuses to listen to the instructions of their parents, it will cause them much grief. No parent wants their children to turn out to be foolish, but it happens. When it does, it breaks their heart and makes them ashamed. Each child has a free will, so some will take the foolish path no matter how much instruction he is given by his parents. However, many times the reason these children have chosen the foolish path is because of poor parenting. Too many have chosen not to discipline their children because they have brainwashed by modern psychologist who say that disciplining your kids by spanking them or by using other methods of punishment will scar them for life and greatly diminish their creative thinking. Solomon disagrees and teaches that discipline is necessary and shows that we love our children (Prov. 13:24; 22:15).

 

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.

 

Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.

 

Solomon is not suggesting that we abuse our children, but we are to correct them quickly so we can teach them to respect us, which in turn will motivate them to respect the wisdom of God. If we allow them to continue in their foolishness with no correction from us, then they are going to grow up living the foolish lifestyle, which will bring us shame (Prov. 29:15).

 

Proverbs 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

 

Unlike the foolish child, the wise loves to be instructed by their parents, and they will bring them great joy (Prov. 10:1).

 

Proverbs 10:1 A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother.

 

A wise child understands that their parents love them and only want the best for them. While he does not enjoy the discipline itself, he understands that is necessary and shows that his parents care for him (Heb. 12:6-11).

 

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives."7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

When the wise are trained by discipline, they will grow up respecting their parents and the wisdom of God (Prov. 22:6).

 

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

 

Since the foolish are lead by their own heart, they put their complete trust in themselves, which makes them self-centered. There are many in our society who has this self-centered attitude. Many think they are more special than everyone else and that everyone should cater to them. They could care less what Godís Word says or what someone thinks because they know in their heart of hearts their way of life is right.

 

The wise have a completely different attitude. They put their complete trust in God and the wisdom He has given us through His Word. They understand that if they try to trust in their own heart and what they desire they become fools (Prov. 28:26).

 

Proverbs 28:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

 

The wise are committed to letting God be their guide because without Him we are nothing (Prov. 14:12; 20:24; Jer. 10:23).

 

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

 

Proverbs 20:24 A man's steps are of the LORD; How then can a man understand his own way?

 

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

 

The foolish are also known for being gullible, but the wise will search a matter out to see if what is being said is true or good advice (Prov. 14:15).

 

Proverbs 14:15 The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps.

 

For example, Solomonís son, Rehoboam, asked for advice on how to answer the people of his kingdom. First, he asked the experienced elders who had served Solomon, but like a fool, he decided to take the advice of his inexperienced friends instead, which caused the kingdom to be divided (1 Kgs. 12:6ff).

 

However, the Bereanís show us what the wise will do because, when they heard the message about Jesus, they listened carefully and searched the Scriptures to see if what was being taught was true (Acts 17:10-12). While the wise will listen to every word, unlike the fool, they will not immediately believe every word. God does not want us to be taken advantage of. He wants us to prove all things by testing them (1 Thess. 5:21).

 

Since the foolish despise wisdom, it should not surprise us that they love the sinful way. In fact, Solomon says the fool finds great enjoyment in doing evil things (Prov. 10:23).

 

Proverbs 10:23 To do evil is like sport to a fool, But a man of understanding has wisdom.

 

They actually think it is funny to do things that God hates and to mock Him and His righteous ways (Prov. 14:9). The foolish heart is so opposed to the wisdom of God and what it stands for that Solomon says, ďit is an abomination to fools to depart from evilĒ (Prov. 13:19). The foolish get so wrapped up in their ways and become so wise in their own eyes that they become blind to the truth. God will allow them to choose this wicked path, but they have no valid excuse for not believing in God or for no choosing the righteous path (Rom. 1:20-25).

 

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man -- and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.

 

Those who have fully embraced the foolish way are so stubborn that it becomes almost impossible to turn them from their folly:

 

Proverbs 27:22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.

 

This is another classic example of how Solomon created a picture in our mind so we can visual imagine how difficult it is to change the foolish. A mortar is bowl and pestle was a large stone or piece of metal used crushing their harvested grain. He is saying even if you grind away at the foolish and show them that their way is wrong and it will end in destruction, many times they will not accept the truth. Instead, ďAs a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his follyĒ (Prov. 26:11).

 

Like north is to south, the wise and the foolish are polar opposites. Unlike the foolish, the wise are not wrapped up in themselves, they are wrapped up in Godís wisdom. They love to learn from His Word because it makes them wiser and more pleasing to God (Prov. 1:5; 9:9).

 

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,

 

Proverbs 9:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

 

Not only do they look forward to living by Godís wisdom, they are able to change their ways when they are corrected (Prov. 17:10).

 

Proverbs 17:10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man Than a hundred blows on a fool.

 

Solomon even says that a wise man, will love you for rebuking him (Prov. 9:8). The reason he will love you is because he is more concerned about being right with God than thinking he is right based on his own thoughts. This is great attitude to have because it will keep us humble and keeps us focused on God.

 

Since the wise and the foolish are complete opposite, and since the foolish hate the wisdom of God and the righteous way, Solomon teaches the wise to stay away from the foolish (Prov. 14:7).

 

Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.

 

Like two rams that continue to butt heads, the wise and foolish will not find peace (Prov. 29:9).

 

Proverbs 29:9 If a wise man contends with a foolish man, Whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace.

 

The wise is warned to never rely on the foolish for important things because they will most likely fail to carry out their task. (Prov. 26:6).

 

Proverbs 26:6 He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his own feet and drinks violence.

 

While the wise is to keep his distance from the foolish, he is still told to answer the foolish with wisdom (Prov. 26:4). But the wise must never sink to level of the foolish by answering them back with foolishness (Prov. 26:5).

 

Proverbs 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.

Since the wise are followers of God and hate the things He hates, they wise should make their goal to stay away from the foolish way (Rom. 12:9).

 

Romans 12:9 Ö Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.

 

The last thing we should want is to become like the fool whose pathway leads to destruction and complete separation from God. Instead, we should want to seek the pathway of wisdom, which is the pathway to righteousness that will preserve our soul (Prov. 16:17).

 

Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.

 

APPLICATION:

 

Solomon has given us a clear picture of the differences between the wise and the foolish. God has provided us with all the wisdom we need to live righteous lives and to continue to increase our wisdom, but we have to choose to accept it and make it part of our lives.

 

Many like to stand out and be different. Considering that the majority of the world is foolishly ignoring the wisdom of God, we will certainly stand out by living our lives by the wisdom of God. Not only do we do get to be different from the world, being wise has the benefit of eternal life in heaven. Let us strive to love wisdom and correction, and let us stay away from foolish way, which leads to eternal separation from God.