Word of the Week: Fool

FoolD. L. Moody was a famous19th century preacher known for his evangelistic campaigns, which attracted large crowds.  These meetings were often attended by hecklers who were in violent disagreement with his teaching.

In the final service of one meeting, an usher handed Moody a note as he approached the lectern. It was from an atheist who had been giving Mr. Moody a great deal of trouble. The evangelist, however, supposed that is was an announcement, so he quieted the large audience and prepared to read it. Opening the folded piece of paper he found scrawled in large print only one word: “Fool!” The colorful preacher was equal to the occasion. He looked around the audience and said….

“I have just been handed a memo which contains the single word – ‘Fool’. This is most unusual. I’ve often heard of those who have written letters and forgotten to sign their names, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of anyone who signed his name and then forgot to write the letter!”

Taking advantage of the unique situation, Moody promptly changed his sermon text to Psalm 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God!”

Since today is April 1st and identified as “April Fools Day,” the word of the week is “Fool.”

We ought not to take the use of this word lightly.  Jesus, in the Mountain Message, warns against using the word “fool” in a pejorative and profane manner to denigrate and defame the character of another person (Matt 5:22).

Yet, God, in His Word, clearly refers to some people as fools.  Saul who sinned against David by his suspicion, anger, and jealousy admitted, Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly.”  (1 Sam 26:1).  Sixty-eight times the Bible speaks of ways in which we may we guilty of “playing the fool.”

Consider these ten from the wisdom of the book of Proverbs.

“Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, And whoever spreads slander is a fool.” (10:18)

“The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall.” (10:8)

 “A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom.” (10:23)

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,  But he who heeds counsel is wise” (12:15)

 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,  but a fool flaunts his folly. (13:16)

“A wise man fears the Lord and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.” (14:16)

“A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.” (15:5)

“A fool finds no pleasure in understanding But delights in airing his own opinions.” (18:12)

 “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” (26:11)

I’m sure as we consider this list, there are times when we’ve all behaved foolishly.  But as Jim Fiebig says, “You are not a fool just because you have done something foolish–only if the folly of it escapes you.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

8 Comments

Filed under Word of the Week

8 responses to “Word of the Week: Fool

  1. Billie

    You are so well read – Amazing that you have so many examples for all your thoughtful daily lesson. Enjoy and look forward to daily.

  2. Sandra Jo of Pine Bluff, AR

    I looked up Matt.5:22 above and read thru vs. 23-24. Those verses got me! What can a Christian do additionally when a wrong is supposedly corrected, but the person who initiated the verbal disciplining will not accept the apology and correction? Do I continue trying to reconcile to this brother as a peacemaker so my “gifts at the altar” are acceptable to my God?

  3. I enjoyed your post immensely. I saw your post in UBC.

  4. Amy

    Ken,
    I try to memorize as many of these verses as possible so I can advise my children against being fools . . . I’m only partly kidding! But you know, listening to the counsel of elders, working hard, self-control, being good, etc., are all good things for a parent to teach their children. Especially relevant is “A fool spurns his father’s discipline, but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.” (15:5) I love reading your blog and your pointing out God’s word is always an encouragement to me.

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