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Archive for the ‘fools’ Category

With or Without God

In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.- Judges 17:6; 21:25

Which way will we go? Will we go with God or go out on our own? Which way will we go? Will we stick with God or strike out on our own pathways? Which way will we go?

 

The Bible speaks of instances where the children of Israel lost their way and lost sight of God as their source and supplier, the sustenance of their very existence. In fact, the Bible assesses and addresses such attitudes as foolishness (Proverbs 21:2; 30:12). The prophet Isaiah simply said: All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him (Isaiah 53:6, NASB). The tendency to go out our own rather than going on with God results in us living wayward lives that are out of the very will of God Almighty.

 

When we go out on our own, we go in our own strength. The blessing of God is not with us. We find ourselves operating in our own strength and essentially gaining no ground. We experience detours, delays, doubt, drought, and even disaster and destruction. We take shortcuts and end up stumbling, straying and even struggling.

 

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.- Psalm 23:1 (NIV)

 

Let God lead you. Position yourself as one led by the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14). Follow Him as one leading you to green pastures and still waters. Simply let Him lead you and follow in obedience.

 

Which way will we go?

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The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
-Proverbs 15:2 (NIV)
The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life,
but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.
-Proverbs 15:4 (NIV)

The Word provides a contrast between the wicked and the wise when it comes to conversation. Each conducts himself in a vastly different way. The wise and the wicked conduct themselves differently, especially when it comes to how they use their words. According to Proverbs 15, the conduct of the wise leads to one taking “the path of the upright” (verse 19).

  • You have to remain composed
  • You have to resist confrontation

Your conduct in conversation will reveal your character. You can turn people off or away by the way you speak to people. Think about how you say things to others. Even what you say can lose its message and meaning when you are not conscious of how you conduct yourself in conversation.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. – Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

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Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.- Proverbs 26:4 (NIV)
 
Yes, it is true that Jesus said that we are not to call our brother a fool. The caveat to that teaching is a study of context that speaks about the anger in which we use such words rather than simply inserting some euphemism that says what we meant in code. Jesus was teaching about judgment and anger in Matthew 5:22. However, the Proverbs are clear about identifying the foolish actions that separate the fool from the wise and prudent. Obviously, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, we see it as a duck. If it acts foolish and sounds foolish… It is what it is.
 
The words of Solomon teach us that fools act differently. In fact, Solomon teaches us through Proverbs that a fool is wise in his own eyes. Answering a fool according to his folly requires you to get on that fool’s level. In other words, what you are doing is addressing the fool by the same foolish ways that he uses. I picture it like this: a wise man and a fool get into a verbal argument, hurling insults at one another and calling each other fools. How do you identify the wise man from the fool? Exactly! The precise problem is what it projects to others, especially the fool himself. You just justified his argument to some degree by what you did in response to him. Such actions on our part kill the power of our witness.
 
With those who choose to go about things foolishly, I say simply show them another way by example. If they are foolish, they’ll keep doing what they’ve always done just for the sake of it. If they have any degree of common sense, they’ll see how you go about things differently and at least inquire of what makes you different. Keep in mind that you can win someone over by killing them with kindness, showering and smothering them with lovingkindness. Catch more flies with the sweet honey of your lips rather than poisoning them with the venomous vinegar.

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