Readers: I’m still open to adding a few to the daily Proverbs contemplation. Get in touch at doug (at) doughibbard.com
Proverbs 26 opens with 12 verses about fools. Then Solomon moves on to sluggards, madmen, and gossips. So, the rest of the chapter deals with fools as well. Just different sorts of fools.
The difficulty, I think, that we have with this passage is that fools tend to appear successful. Why would you have to warn not to honor a fool if all a fool could do is fail? Why point out the danger in hiring fools?
Quite simply, because fools can manage to look good, nay even effective, and still be fools. Consider, for example, that November 26, 1095, Pope Urban II preached the sermon that kicked off the Crusades.
Remarkably effective sermon—yet astoundingly foolish! Consider the difficulties and atrocities that followed it. Consider the results. Yet here was an effective sermon.
We must take the warnings in Proverbs about fools seriously. The fool manages to obtain political office. I think this is nearly unavoidable in a republic: there will always be a few fools in the Legislatures, Congresses, and Administrations of this nation. There will be fools in the Judicial Branch.
This is actually the purpose of separation of powers in the government, and why it is supposed to be possible to gridlock the operation. It prevents fools from doing foolish things without restraint.
However, of greater concern to me is the number of fools within the pulpits of our churches. Mind you, I think some allegedly Christian groups have become so distant from Scripture that the fool is the norm, rather than the exception.
Yet within Evangelical circles, especially Baptist circles, we should be on our guard. Right now, the Fool is the exception. The typical minister may be tired, may not be exciting, but rarely is he a fool.
But we let the Fool come in, preach to big crowds, write books. He writes books, holds conferences, and draws a bigger and bigger influence circle. Yet he wounds, and damages, and harms, and destroys. Because he is a fool, not a wise man.
My fellow Believers, we must recapture our defense against the Fool. Stop buying. Stop listening. Stop honoring the partial good—realize that a V-8 engine that misses on 4 cylinders needs fixed, not used for the half-power it gives.
And stop suffering fools so readily.