The Fool

By Not Known

The ‘fool‘ has a mixed history. In ancient royal courts the fool was an insightful outsider who made penetrating comments. For some, the fool is a playful person who wastes his time and that of others. For others, a fool is a person of low mental ability.

The Bible’s fool is something different. He is a person who denies God. The classic definition is in Psalm 14:1a:

The fool says in his heart, "There is no God".

This is not quite the same as the intellectual denial of God by the atheist. It is a wilful suppression of the knowledge of God in the inner parts.

As always, character and actions follow commitment. And so, we read how the fool’s denial of God in his heart translates into God-denying and God-defying actions:

They are corrupt, their deeds are vile;
there is no one who does good.
(Ps 14:1 b)

Much of the book of Proverbs traces out the practical details that follows as the fool lives an ill-disciplined, unproductive and unsatisfying life. (You may use a concordance to trace this theme in Proverbs.)

The Biblical fool is set in contrast by the wise and learned person. This is not a person who devours books and knows more than anyone else. Rather, the wise person is someone who begins life with the deepest reverence for God (Pro 1:7). Once again, Proverbs traces out the practical effects of this.

Seen in this way Biblical folly/wisdom is more than having an apt collection of little sayings to guide us in this or that situation. Rather, it is a matter of the ‘two ways’ that the whole Bible puts before us, that Jesus specifically teaches and that the gospel holds on offer.

Take time to examine the deep roots of your actions in your underlying character and your most basic life commitments. What do your actions reveal: a life that denies God and lives consistently with that denial? Or a life that begins with God and lives with him?