If you’ve read the last couple of posts, it should be obvious that King Solomon’s definition of a fool differs greatly from our modern day “fool.”
His fool is not the clownish court jester we find in medieval tales, nor is he/she your basic goofball that you see every day.
Wisdom (so far) defines “fools” as people who are overconfident in a belief system that opposes her way and ignores any knowledge to the contrary.
I know that sounds foreign to our Western thinking, but this definition is backed up by the words of the wisest king who ever lived. Solomon also wrote that Wisdom continually cries:
How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.
Fools hate what Wisdom considers to be knowledge.
Why? They are too wrapped up in the “wisdom” of their own minds which would also be known as “man-made wisdom.”
Fools hate the Father’s true wisdom which (or who) guides those who seek the Father’s truth along the path of keeping His Torah.
This dichotomy is first and foremost in the mind of Wisdom as she brazenly declares the superiority of her ways to the ways of those who carelessly walk by, crying out (paraphrasing):
“How long are you idiots going to prefer your ways over mine? How long until you realize what you’ve been handed is a farce? How long are you going to hate me and have pride in what you think you know?”
Yes, Wisdom is a gutsy lady and we will eventually get to her entire message!
Meanwhile, Proverbs is packed with verses that further describe the intended recipients of that message. Let’s dig deeper into the mind of a fool so that we can be sure of who it is we need to avoid as we travel the path of Wisdom.
Once we have this mental image cemented into our minds, we can be confident that we will avoid the snares and manipulations of the strange woman.
The Church is Not a Substitute Temple
Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools [keciyl], for they do not know that they do evil.
As you read and meditate on this passage, it is imperative that you do not equate going “to the house of God” with going to church. The church building is not (and never was) “to the house of God.”
That’s just another association that your Christian culture has taught you.
Side Comment: Have you noticed that a lot of our modern perceptions are modeled off man-made contrivances that run contrary to what the Father says about them? Coming to this realization is key in your pursuit of “the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:5)
“The house of God” was the Temple.
When Solomon wrote the book of Ecclesiastes, the Israelites would bring sacrifices to the Temple at specific times each year in an effort to identify with and draw near to their Creator.
They didn’t go to a local building, sing songs for 20 minutes to an hour (depending on whether you were a “conservative” or “charismatic” Israelite). They didn’t listen to a sermon, feel convicted, answer an altar call and go home to watch football.
. . . and there was no free coffee and donuts in the lobby.
An Israelite did not “go to church” like your typical Westerner “goes to church.” It looked nothing like “church.” In fact, it was a slaughter!
There might have been a jubilant atmosphere, but there was also a lot of blood, knives, bellowing animals and the possibility of dying if you ran afoul of the manifest presence of YHWH.
I’m sure the whole event would seem rather macabre to our 20th-century minds. It certainly wasn’t the sanitized, conjured-up atmosphere you experience today in your local house of worship.
Fools Have a Desire to Draw Near to the Father
Let’s take another look at the verse.
Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
Here, we see Solomon’s warning to everyone that they should not give the kind of sacrifice that a fool would give, ending with the notion that fools have no idea that they are doing evil.
We can safely assume from this verse that fools want to be identified in some way with the God of Israel, otherwise they wouldn’t be going to offer sacrifices in the first place. They would just go about their merry way, serve another god or serve themselves and live a life without the “religious experience.”
But fools want a relationship with the God of Israel . . . on their terms. So, even though they desire to “draw near” to the Father, they never “draw near to hear” what He has to say. They are too consumed by what they have to say (or think, or do).
Fools have a desire to be “spiritual” and will try to look “spiritual” by attempting to do certain “spiritual” practices that those who are perceived as righteous do in public. The problem is that they do not walk – nor do they have any regard for – the path of Wisdom or the building blocks that her path is based upon.
Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, (Why?) that you may keep the law [towrah – H8451] of the LORD your God.
Because the fool does not regard the Torah, his (or her) sacrifices (spiritual practices) become foolishness when held up to the path of Wisdom.
It’s interesting to note here that, whereas the NKJV translates the first part of Ecclesiastes 5:1 as “walk prudently,” the KJV says “keep thy foot.”
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
Both the KJV and the NKJV translations are obvious references to walking and paths.
Another Side Comment: I highly recommend researching the Hebrew word “derek” – usually translated as “path” or “paths.” In my opinion, it is probably the most important word study that you could ever do.
The Stubborn Ignorance of a Fool
A fool’s mindset will deceive them to the point that “they do not know that they do evil.” The possibility that they walk contrary to His ways doesn’t even cross their minds.
The book of Proverbs further advises us:
Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
Can anyone say “stubborn?” How about “hard-hearted?”
Before you enter into any verbal melee with a fool, consider this verse in light of Ecclesiastes 5:1 which says a fool is unwilling to “draw near to hear” anything the Father has to say when he brings a sacrifice.
Just for a moment, think about the privilege of being that close to the manifest presence of the Creator of the universe. If you are that close to the presence of the Creator, and are still more interested in what you have to say and do, you will not listen to what any mortal man (or woman) has to say – unless, of course, they agree with you.
This poses a problem for anyone who would confront a fool. Usually, fools have been walking too long in their own path to be swayed by the truth. As a result, they are often unable and unwilling to understand anything to the contrary, especially when someone disagrees with them.
Understanding His Way
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand [H995 – biyn] his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.
If you are wise, you understand the path that you are walking on. You measure whether or not you are truly walking with the Father by whether or not you are striving to obey His commandments.
Whoever keeps the law [H8451 – towrah] is a discerning [H995 – biyn] son . . .
These two verses, again, show a direct correlation between wisdom, understanding, discernment and obedience to Torah of the Most High. If you have no regard for the original instructions set forth from the beginning, you can have no claim to these positive attributes.
These verses should be a confirmation to those of you who have separated from the lemmings who blindly follow what they hear in the pulpit. It takes guts and determination to do what Abraham did, breaking from the generational madness and choosing to walk a lonelier path.
Not that it really matters, but I applaud you.
You have applied your heart to this kind of understanding (Proverbs 2:2), you’ve cried out for it (Proverbs 2:3) and you will be rewarded for it. (Proverbs 2:5)
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand [H995 – biyn] his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.
Understand that the word “his” in this verse might apply to either “the prudent” or the Father. It is my strong belief that the “his” in this verse refers to the Father and His way as opposed to the prudent and their way.
If the prudent only understood his own way, then it makes this entire verse subjective. Any fool can say “I understand exactly what I’m doing” and claim to have the Father’s wisdom (and many often do).
But, on second thought, if the “his” refers to “the prudent,” it has to be a foregone conclusion that he will be walking on the path of Wisdom (which is one and the same as the Father’s Way), otherwise “the prudent” wouldn’t be “prudent.”
Are we confused yet? Let me try to bring this back around.
Wisdom is found when the prudent understands [H995 – biyn] the way of Wisdom. Fools are deceived by their own foolishness. They actually believe that they are on the right path because of their “experience” and their confidence in what has been passed to them blinds them to His ways.
Because fools do not understand that they are doing evil, they continue on the path they have chosen, headstrong and often mouthy, honestly convinced that their way is His way.
But according to Proverbs 14:8, this mindset is deceitful, and sadly, others are easily drawn into the same web of deceit as they unwittingly heed what has been passed down to them, because the message is comfortable and familiar.
Fools Are Impractical and Unfocused
Proverbs also says this about a fool:
Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
This passage contrasts two available places of focus on your journey to find “the knowledge of God.”
As you continue reading, remember “the fool” and “the understanding” person both want the same prize – “the knowledge of God” – it’s just that the righteous have their eyes set on the Father’s ways and the fool has his/her eyes on their own.
A wise person . . . a person of understanding . . . will have settled this contrast in his/her heart.
A person with understanding will also know that, if you are going to pursue true wisdom, you need to find it at the original source. This Wisdom was obviously in existence during Solomon’s day and he was seeking for it, so it had to be around before he was born.
What did he ask the Father in the beginning of his reign?
Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?
Solomon had a love for the commandments and the fear of the Lord. He had wisdom in his sight.
The fool, however, will be seeking wisdom from any other source than the true source. This “wisdom” will add to and take away from God’s original wisdom given to Moses.
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
This means that any other writing that claims to have spiritual authority must be held up to the light of what God told Moses, and if it adds to or takes away from that revelation, it must be tossed on the trash heap alongside Jonathan Cahn’s “The Harbinger.”
Such “spiritual revelation” comes from “the ends of the earth,” and it takes your focus off of what is important.
I concede that there may be bits and pieces of truth buried in the endless garbage found in these extraneous writings, but it is filtered through the eyes of a fool.
We need to ask ourselves, “Is it really profitable to waste hours and hours of our little time on this earth digging through a dunghill when we know it will not lead us closer to the path of Wisdom?”
Why be a fool wasting time with your eyes on “the ends of the earth,” when you can go straight to the Wisdom found in Torah?
But fools will seek to bypass the Wisdom found in the first half of their Bibles, choosing instead to pursue “the ends of the earth” with a vengeance, leaving “many wounded” (Proverbs 7:26) in their wake.
Like those who seek riches and “that which is not,” (Proverbs 23:5) a fool will always be looking towards that which is undefined and out of reach.
What are the “Ends of the Earth?”
“The ends of the earth” are vast and varied. No matter which way you turn (you have 360 degrees to choose from) it will always point you to an “end of the earth.”
Not only that, “the ends of the earth” could be opposite directions. You could go forward, or backward in your attempt to reach “the ends of the earth.”
And still, once you’ve met the horizon – once you’ve met the original point that you set out for – you soon realize that you didn’t even come close to the goal. There would be another horizon to shoot for – unless, of course, you’re a flat earther, then this whole analogy may seem pointless.
But let’s say that you hold to the typical view of most. If your path points towards “the ends of the earth,” you have to eventually realize that there is no specific direction and no specific stopping point.
Sure, you may meet many people who are sure they know the exact way to get to your destination, but they can’t seem to ever agree. All you are stuck with is this vague sense of following something close to what you’ve been handed, and deep down, you know something is wrong and you just can’t put your finger on it.
This deep sense of foreboding was what led me in my pursuit of Wisdom to study church history and how the interpretation of the Bible changed over time. It’s not as cut and dried as the seminary brainwashed would have you believe.
Here’s what we have so far.
So let’s continue with the itemization of our description of a fool. We’ve determined in our last post that:
- Fools are always right in their own eyes.
- Fools hate knowledge.
- Fools are prideful.
- Fools can speak and operate under a pretense of authority.
Now, we can glean from this post that:
- Fools want to be perceived as “spiritual.”
- Fools want to draw near to God on their own terms.
- Fools have no clue that they are doing evil when they try to be “spiritual.”
- Fools do not want to hear anything that contradicts their way of thinking.
- Fools are constantly in pursuit of the vague and abstract instead of the true path of Wisdom.
Please continue to remind yourself that while these points may have a practical application, Solomon wrote them to warn his son in his pursuit of “the knowledge of God.”
Fools are people on the same quest.
The book of Proverbs offers such a rich description of these fools, but because of our leaders and because we have the image of a court jester in our heads, we’ve completely missed what God thinks a fool looks like.
Thus, we’ve missed the true definition.
There’s still more to come! In the next few posts, I’m going to offer more information on the fool and finally, I will discuss God’s final verdict regarding these people who think they are on the true path towards “the knowledge of God.”