Archive for May, 2008

Wisdom’s Rewards


A wise man will be the beneficiary of rewards – he will receive honor, wealth and, most importantly, more wisdom:

NAU Proverbs 3:35 The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.

NIV Proverbs 14:24 The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.

NIV Proverbs 9:9 Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.



A wise man values discernment. He will ‘hang’ with other wise men and be on the look out for the foolish and avoid their company:

NIV Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

NIV Proverbs 14:16 A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.

Wise men develop their memory


A wise man strives to remember what he has learned:

NIV Proverbs 10:14 Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.

Developing Wisdom


If a wise man is engaged in an internal war with pride, he must also be developing humility. Proverbs has much to say about developing this valuable quality in your life based on seeking and accepting counsel from others.

A wise man heeds instructions:

NAU Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

NAU Proverbs 8:33 “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it.

NIV Proverbs 21:11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge.

A wise man accepts reproof (being rebuked when at fault):

NIV Proverbs 9:8 Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you.

NIV Proverbs 10:8 The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.

A wise man seeks advice from other wise men:

NIV Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

NIV Proverbs 18:15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.

A Wise Man


Last week we took an abbreviated look at a fool. It was not an exhaustive examination but a brief excursion.

This week we will be more positive and examine the attributes of a wise man from the Book of Proverbs. Again, it will not be exhaustive but focusing on foundational qualities.

The wise man has an internal war with pride:

NIV Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

NIV Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

The wise man recognizes that wisdom does not come from wealth or materialistic success:

NIV Proverbs 28:11 A rich man may be wise in his own eyes, but a poor man who has discernment sees through him.

Responding to Fools


NAU Proverbs 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him.

NIV Proverbs 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.

NKJ Proverbs 26:4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.

NAU Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.

NIV Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.

NKJ Proverbs 26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.

Are you confused? What do you do, answer a fool or don’t answer a fool? I like some of the Jewish offshoots of these two proverbs like “When a wise man talks to a fool, two fools are conversing”, or, “A fool can ask more questions in an hour than ten wise men can answer in a year”. The best to me, though, is “The biggest foolishness of a fool is this: he thinks he’s smart”.

Earlier this week after posting ‘The Foolishness of Atheism’, I received this remark:

You really don’t understand, do you? I’ll give you a starting hint- there are plenty of believers who are fools. G W is a good start.

How do you answer someone who is so far outside of the context? The topic is biblical fools, and a biblical fool is one who is morally deficient. Moral deficiency begins with the rejection of God. So the comment (in the context of The Foolishness of Atheism) is deficient on two fronts – equating followers of Messiah with atheistic and morally deficient fools, and making an unqualified equation between G.W. and fools.

Such a comment also fails the Psalm 74:18 test that we looked at yesterday (One who looks with disfavor upon those with honor and is not afraid to use speech as verbal assault or abuse in an unqualified way against them).

This leads me back to Proverbs 26: 4, 5. To answer or not to answer! If you do not answer you do not run the risk of being a fool yourself, but if you do answer you prevent him from thinking he is smart (Robert Alden, Proverbs). So, I choose not to answer this person directly but will answer him indirectly and encourage all of us to act with more humility and with less foolishness.

The Speech of a Fool


NAU Psalm 74:18 Remember this, O LORD, that the enemy has reviled, And a foolish people has spurned Your name.

NIV Psalm 74:18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O LORD, how foolish people have reviled your name.

NKJ Psalm 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD, And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.

The picture of a fool painted by Scripture keeps getting uglier and uglier. Only a fool would arrogantly assert that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). The fool will continue to manifest himself through contention (Prov 18:6) and hypocrisy (Luke 11:39, 40). With these kinds of characteristics it should be no surprise that blasphemy is a part of the package of a fool.

What does it mean to blaspheme? It means to speak irreverently, or to taunt (i.e. to rebuke with insults). While the verse ascribes the fool with blaspheming (i.e. reproaching, mocking or reviling) God, he is also not adverse to blaspheming peers when spurred on by emotional frustration. He will then manifest his foolishness through illogical statements.

The second half of the verse reinforces this thought. The fool spurns or despises the very Name of God or others in authority. He looks with disfavor upon those with honor – especially God – and is not afraid to use speech as verbal assault or abuse on them.

We live in a foolish society.

The ultimate lesson for followers of Jesus the Christ or Messiah is to control our emotions so that we do not use our speech irreverently or abusively toward another.

The lesson to the biblical fool – the one who rejects the reality of God – is to stop and consider how thin is the ice you are standing upon, and rather than verbally mocking the One who created you, from whom you are separated by sin, instead humble yourself before your Creator and accept the provision of His Savior.