Archive for the ‘fools’ Category

17:21 The Pain of a Foolish Son

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool. Proverbs 17:21

Jacket of My Son, My Son

The pain for a father whose son goes bad is agonizing. Bernard Palmer recounted his own experience with this in My Son, My Son. His defiant self-absorbed son, Barry, became an alcoholic, gambler, debtor, and adulterer. Thankfully, the ending in this case was happier than the beginning.

God’s Son when he came as a man, was, by contrast, the epitome of wisdom, one of the reasons God declared from heaven, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”

Proverbs 1:24-28 Mocked in Calamity

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them… — Proverbs 1:24-28.

On his death bed a man I know of became uneasy. I learned later that he began to fear the eternity he had scoffed at all his life. He had reared his daughter without fear of the Lord, and was now in her hands. When a relative suggested that a minister should be called to speak with the man about his soul, the daughter flatly refused, saying that he had never wanted anything to do with Christianity while he was healthy and she wasn’t going to flout his wishes now that he was faltering. This man brought his own doom upon himself and died without solace.

Jesus warned the people of his generation again and again, and his word still speaks to us today. What is our answer to his claims on us? The day will come when the stone the builders rejected will crush them.

19:29 Beatings for Fools

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

The Flagellation of our Lord Jesus by William-Adophe Bouguereau (1880).

Penalties are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools. —Proverbs 19:29

Caning is a punishment seldom used in America these days although common to Western countries up to a century ago. In other parts of the world it is still used. Singapore, for example, employs caning—a fact brought to the attention of Americans in 1994 with the punishment of an American teenager accused of vandalism and theft.

That corporal punishment, properly applied, can restrain lawless and foolish behavior was generally conceded until the last century. I know that the fear of a spanking kept me from much wrong-doing as a child, although it did nothing to eradicate my sin desires.

God has penalties for those who mock and rebel against him. The more light we have, the greater our penalties. As Jesus told his listeners “And that servant, who knew his master’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke 12:47).

In his compassion for us, God does not make his true children bear the penalty of their sin. Christ took that penalty for us. As we are told in a Messianic prophecy: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was on him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

17:16 Wasted Education

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Seal of the University of Paris.

Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he has no heart for it?

As an older adult returning to school to pick up some skills, I notice that many of the youngsters seem serious about education. But there is a large subgroup attending for other reasons. Some have come to play. Others to find a mate. Still others seek reinforcement for ideas they have already picked up, or the chance to organize others around an ideal. Returning students, as a whole, seem more determined to get their money’s worth.

This generation is no different in that respect than others. I noted the same tendencies when I was in college as a teenager. Perhaps a rich father was footing the bill of the wastrel—or the government. That is why I like the New Living Translation for this verse. “It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.”

Wasted educational opportunities are not a problem limited to our time. Accounts of roistering, rioting, and recklessness crop up with fair frequency in the histories of great educational institutions. For example, the St. Scholastica Day riot at Oxford in 1355 began with a dispute over beer. It left 63 scholars and half as many townsfolk dead. A Shrove Tuesday strike in Paris in 1229 also began over drink—a tavern bill. Angry students smashed businesses with wooden clubs. In retaliation, city guards cornered and killed a group of students.

We have no record that Christ attended school. However, he had clearly set himself to learn what God the Father desired even while young, as his tough questions to the religious leaders in the temple at twelve years of age showed. At thirty, he became a rabbi (teacher).

His hearers formed a cross-section similar to modern students. Some scoffed. Some listened but went away, forgetting immediately what he said. Others “followed from afar.” A few took his words to heart and became the first Christians, who transformed the world through their master’s power.

17:7 Lying Leaders, Truthful Leaders

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Charles I on the scaffold.

Charles I on the scaffold.

Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool—how much worse lying lips to a ruler.

King Charles I of England had great difficulties with Parliament and his people. Eager to accept those Bible verses which seem to promote divine right of kings, he showed little regard for verses such as Proverbs 17:7 which would have restrained his dishonesty. Most of his problems were the result of two errors: his determination to be an absolute monarch and his disregard for truth. He seemed incapable of keeping his own word, and in the end perished on a scaffold at the hand of a rebellion which would never have succeeded had he been honest in his dealings.

By contrast, Jesus, who truly had divine right, became a servant of his people and died for the truth. He introduced many of his deepest sayings with the words “Truly I tell you…” or “Truly, truly I tell you….” He even asserted that He Himself was the truth, and at his trial declared to Governor Pilate, “for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”

Both Charles and Jesus perished, but Jesus for the nobler sake of truth. Because of this and his vindication in resurrection, he still appeals to us with the words, “Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.”

Solomon presented to us two kinds of leaders: the first arrogant and lying, the second humble and truthful. Which are you following?