The following are sermon notes from Proverbs: The Fool. This is an eight week topical study of the book of Proverbs. To read more about this series, including the introduction, resources and listen to audio content click here.
Fools are not hard to come by. All you need to do is hang out with a bunch of 20-something dudes after mid-night. There are even websites devoted to the wholesome entertainment that is laughing at fools. One website called The Darwin Awards chronicles each year’s stupidest deaths. The well-known Fail Blog is full of pictures and movies showing the follies of fools.
The word ‘fool’ is used roughly 77 times in the English Bible. Of those 77 instances, 43 of them occur in the book of Proverbs (thats 56% of all occurrences). In the book of Proverbs the fool and the wise are often juxtaposed using vivid language and satirical comedy. In relation to the fool we will take a look at three aspects of who they are and what they do 1) The Fool and his Mouth, 2) The Fool and his Folly and 3) The Fool and his Fruit.
THE FOOL AND HIS MOUTH:
Of the 43 appearances of the word fool in the book of Proverbs 35% of those are in relation to the fool’s speech, tongue or words. The following are the references that relate to the fool’s mouth:
- The fool babbles his way to ruin (Proverbs 10:8; Proverbs 10:10)
- The mouth of the fool brings ruin (Proverbs 10:14)
- Fools lie (Proverbs 10:18)
- The fool’s words bring him discipline (Proverbs 14:3)
- Fools are loud and always speak their mind (Proverbs 17:28)
- A fool does not enjoy learning, but loves to share his opinion (Proverbs 18:32)
- A fool’s words gets him into fights (Proverbs 18:6)
- A fool’s words cause destruction and are a snare (Proverbs 18:7)
- It is better to be poor and have integrity than it is to be a fool in what you say (Proverbs 19:1)
- Fools are quarrelsome (Proverbs 20:3)
- A fool is quiet when he should speak up (Proverbs 24:7)
- Fool’s cannot safely carry messages (Proverbs 26:6)
- A fool tries to loudly disguise his stupidity when arguing with someone wise (Proverbs 29:9)
- A fool always vents his feelings (Proverbs 29:11)
- Fools speak hastily (Proverbs 29:20)
THE FOOL AND HIS ACTIONS:
It is not only that the fool says stupid things, but also does stupid things:
- He says stupid things (See above)
- He makes the same mistakes over and over (Proverbs 26:11) “like a dog to it’s vomit”
- He laughs at sin (Proverbs 10:23)
- His actions are reckless and careless (Proverbs 14:16)
- He tries to purchase wisdom (Proverbs 17:16)
- He focuses on unattainable things (Proverbs 17:24)
- The fool despises good sense (Proverbs 23:9)
- The fool believes he is wise (Proverbs 26:12)
- Fools fake eloquent speech (Proverbs 17:7)
- Fools do not listen to others’ advice (Proverbs 12:15; 15:5)
- Fools do not understand rebukes (Proverbs 17:10)
THE FOOL AND HIS FRUIT:
From what the fool says and does there is fruit. There are two kinds of trees. Trees with good fruit and trees with bad fruit. It’s not hard to figure our the fruit that a fool produces:
- Destruction and ruin (Proverbs 10:8; 10:14; 18:7; 26:10; 27:3)
- Fighting (Proverbs 18:6)
- Quarrels (Proverbs 20:3; 29:9)
- Sorrow (Proverbs 17:21)
- Folly (Proverbs 13:16; 17:12; 26:4-5; 26:11)
THE GREATEST FOOL OF ALL:
The greatest fool of all is God. The gospel is extreme foolishness to us.
“Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:20-24).
The gospel is absolute foolishness to those that don’t believe. The world believes Christianity and Christians to be the foolish of all who walk the earth. That we would worship a God that was numbered with criminals and died the death of deaths. That we would take a symbol of torture and adorn our necks, homes and churches with it. That we would believe in a God that saves those that are His enemies. That Christ would become that which fought against His love and goodness. That is foolishness, made wisdom.
To the world God is a fool and so are we.
WHAT TO DO:
- Do not be around a fool (Proverbs 14:7). Hanging around a fool just makes you look and act foolishly. Run away. Stay away. Just don’t be around one!
- Embrace the foolishness of the Gospel. Do not be ashamed of the fact that the world sneers and scoffs at you. Embrace the foolish and watch the foolishness of the Gospel shame those who think they are wise.
- Don’t be a fool. You’ve now seen what a fool says, does and produces. You can avoid it. Don’t be a fool. Furthermore, just by looking at the lists above you will know that you are foolish. Repent of your foolish ways.