A Picture of a Fool

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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[When atheists complain that Christians get too many holidays, we like to reply by pointing out that April 1 is National Atheist Day, for “the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psa. 14:1; 53:1). But it is no laughing matter when God’s people play the fool, as Pastor Fredericksen makes clear in this excerpt from his book, Daily Transformation.]

For decades, our family has put together a large puzzle over the Christmas season. For us, it is an enjoyable project. It encourages us to take time out of busy schedules to simply spend time together and visit. But there is also a sense of satisfaction as, one by one, pieces of the puzzle are added, and we see a clear picture emerge. In the Book of Proverbs, God gives us a clear picture, though an unflattering one, of a fool.

A fool can easily be identified by at least ten characteristics described by King Solomon. A fool “refuseth instruction” to the detriment of his own soul (15:32). He just won’t listen when given wise counsel.

The “words of the pure are pleasant words” (15:26), but the words of “a fool’s lips enter into contention” (18:6-8), and it is to his own “destruction.” He tends to be looking for trouble, and is usually harsh in his words. “He that uttereth a slander is a fool” (10:18). Criticizing others has become a favorite sport.

“The way of the fool is right in his own eyes” (12:15), and “it is as sport to a fool to do mischief” (10:23). He seems to always think he is right and that wrong is right. A “fool layeth open his folly” (13:16), and perhaps he does so because “the fool rageth, and is [over] confident” (14:16). As someone once said: “It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Proverbs also conveys the concepts that a fool will not heed reproof (17:10), speaks when he should listen (17:28), will be continually “meddling” to stir up strife (20:3), and “uttereth all his mind” (29:11). This sounds like a busybody who delights to continually gossip about others, or insert himself into the affairs of others.

As we look more carefully at this picture of a fool, we should each ask ourselves if any of these qualities describe us. If so, we encourage you to do something about it. Take one or two of these practices you know you need to work on, ask the Lord to enable you to change your pattern, then ask a godly loved one to hold you accountable in this area. In so doing, allow God to transform you.

To the Reader:

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