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gambling man May 29 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Proverbs 14, 15

Don’t Be a Fool

It has been said that “a fool and his money are soon parted.” (a proverb originating with Dr. John Bridges in 1587)

While a fool and his money are soon parted, contrarily, a fool and his folly are not easily parted. What is a fool? A fool is someone who is thick headed and arrogant. He cannot be instructed in any way. His motto is: “Don't confuse me with the facts; I have my own opinions.” In fact, the fool delights in airing his opinions. If challenged on his opinions, he is often quick to lose his temper. His hard-headed, foolish ways shame his parents. In Proverbs 14-15 and in other chapters, wise King Solomon warns his audience about such people. To be honest, most of us have acted foolishly at one time or another. Where does foolishness start? How can it be prevented? How do we deal with someone who is a fool?

The Bible says foolishness starts in childhood. Proverbs 22:15 says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him,” (NIV). If we fail to discipline our children, then they will likely grow to be proud and maybe even foolish teens and adults. Discipline should be fair and not too harsh so that children are not provoked in anger against their parents (Ephesians 6:4). It should also be done for their benefit (Hebrews 12:10-11) so that they might learn to be obedient and respect authority, even God’s authority. Whether we use corporal punishment or let children experience unhappy consequences for their actions, or a combination of the two, we must discipline them to prevent them from becoming fools and harming themselves and others.

When a child becomes an adult and is still behaving foolishly, it is a shame, a disgrace, and an embarrassment to his parents (Proverbs 10:1; 17:25). We soon realize it does little good to talk to people who will not listen (Proverbs 23:9). If we do confront them, then we must be careful how we do it. Proverbs 26:4-5 says: “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him [in other words, don't be drawn down to the fool's level. You can't reach a fool by becoming one]. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes,” (NIV) [i.e., use his own words to refute him]. Unfortunately, because many times fools will not listen, we have to let life experiences be the “rods of discipline” for them and not seek to deliver them. This is difficult when the fool is someone you love, but sometimes we must exercise tough love.

If we, as adults, have acted as fools and now seek to repent, what do we do? First, we must fear the LORD and walk in his ways (Proverbs 1:7). “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death, ” (Proverbs 14:27, NIV). Proverbs 28:26 says, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe,” (NIV). (more...)

Second, we must seek to listen and learn from God's Word and those who are wise. Proverbs 8:5 says, “You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding,” (NIV). We must remember that everything is not as it appears. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening-- that is his folly and his shame,” (NIV). Most of us have probably done that at one time or another. Let us not be quick to air our opinions. In the U.S.A. it is part of our culture to make quick value judgments on everything, even about things of which we know little to nothing. We must resist this practice or look foolish. Proverbs 17:28 says, “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue,” (NIV). We must not speak about things of which we have insufficient knowledge, and we must not slander another person.

Third, we must exercise self control over our anger and actions. Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control,” (NIV). We must not plan evil or revenge. Proverbs 30:32 says, “If you have played the fool and exalted yourself, or if you have planned evil, clap your hand over your mouth!” (NIV)

We all have to be careful not to play the part of the fool. It is in our nature to be foolish, to be obstinate at times, to act with anger and irrationality, to speak ugly words to hurt others, and even to do evil. But believers have a new nature that they are to put on like a new set of clothing. Romans 13:13-14 says, “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature,” (NIV).

Lessons to live by:

  • Foolishness starts in childhood. Whether we use corporal punishment or let children experience unhappy consequences for their actions, or a combination of the two, we must discipline them to prevent them from becoming fools and harming themselves and others.
  • When dealing with foolish adults, don’t be drawn down to their level. Confront them with their own words, and if they will not listen, let them experience life’s unhappy consequences. Do not deliver them from their foolish actions.
  • Fools who seek to repent should learn to fear the Lord and walk in his ways (more...); they should learn to listen to God’s Word and others who are wise, reserving judgment and seeking understanding; they should exercise self control over their anger and actions and put on a new set of spiritual clothes, those of Jesus Christ.

Today’s Bible memory verses:

Romans 13:13-14 “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (NIV)

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