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Proverbs 26

Posted by Rob Markley on

Proverbs Daily Devotionals
Proverbs 26
Rob Markley, Pastor of Technical Arts

Do you remember Mr. T?  Why don’t you take a quick moment, and check out his picture here. It’s okay, I’ll wait…

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Okay great, you’re back.  Growing up in the 1980’s, you couldn’t get away from Mr. T.  He was everywhere.  He had starring roles in the A-Team and Rocky III.  He wrestled with Hulk Hogan in Wrestlemania 1 and 2.  He appeared on so many sitcoms, I can’t even remember them all.  I will always remember how he looked, just like the picture in the link above: decked out in oversized gold chains and rings so big that he couldn’t close his hands to make a fist.  And of course, there was that catchphrase: “I Pity The Fool.”  I can’t tell you how many times I uttered those words when playing with my childhood friends.

For such a simple phrase, it has more depth than we realize.  We love to point out each other’s foolishness, each other’s folly.  No one wants to BE the fool, we want to judge the fool.  But there’s no escaping it, we’re all foolish.  Although none of us want to admit it, we’re all fools.

Take a look at Proverbs 26.  In the first 12 verses, the word ‘fool’ is used 11 times!  Solomon is taking extra care to tell us to steer clear of fools.  Read verse 4 & 5:

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you yourself will be just like him.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

He goes on in verses 7 and 9 to give us more reason to pity the fools in our lives:

Like the useless legs of one who is lame
is a proverb in the mouth of a fool.
Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for them.

This seems pretty simple: avoid the fool.  True, if we can avoid fools, things will go better for us.  I’m a little surprised Solomon had to tell us this in the first place.  But what if he’s not telling us so that we can avoid other fools?  What if he’s showing us how bad it can be for those who act foolishly?  What if he’s trying to make it look so bad for the fools that we want to shut down everything in our life that could bring us this same fate?  What if Solomon is working out an ancient Scared Straight program? 

I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced.  I want nothing to do with fools and foolish behavior.  The only problem is, I can’t help making stupid mistakes in life.  I say things I wish I could take back, and do things I regret.  And I know I’m not alone in this.  That’s part of what binds us together: we are fools.

But there is One who loved us, even in our foolishness.  That’s the beauty of the Gospel: that while we were yet sinners (fools), Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).  Think about that for a minute, I mean really think about it. Jesus knew we were fools.  He knew that no matter what happened, we’d keep saying dumb things and making stupid mistakes.  And knowing this, He chose to lay down His life for us.  That’s amazing!  I’m so thankful for the words of Solomon, which show me that I can’t get away from my foolishness.  That reminder drives me back to Jesus, who welcomes a fool like me.