Characteristics of a Fool

September 26, 2012

Characteristics of a Fool

Psalms 92:5-6
O LORD, how great are thy works! [and] thy thoughts are very deep. A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.

We have characterized wisdom, perhaps it is a good time to look at the opposite side of the coin and look at the characteristics of a fool. While it is likely the true fool would not spend their time reading this, let alone taking it to heart, it might speak to the wise. Part of getting wisdom is realizing and correcting our own follies and the error of our ways. While in viewing these characteristics we might be prone to judge some that we may think fit this category, it will probably be far more profitable for us to judge and correct our own hearts where we see some of the characteristic active in us.
One of the first characteristics of a fool is seen in Psalms 14:1 and 53:1, “The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good.” He is in denial of God and His salvation. A fool can be defined as being pretty much full of themselves, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” They are not one to listen to advice, counsel or the admonition of others. Proverbs 15:5 tells us the root of where foolishness begins, “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.” Proverbs 17:10 says, “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.” They never learned to receive and heed correction as child. Their nature is stubborn and rebellious. They are a god and an authority unto themselves.
Proverbs 13:6 talks about how most people rationalize and come to conclusions based on facts and evidence, not so the fool. “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” Ecclesiastes 2:14 says that the “The wise man has eyes in his head, while the fool walks in the darkness.” There is spiritual and moral ignorance and darkness that is prevalent in their lives. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.” Proverbs 13:6 tells us, “Every prudent [man] dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open [his] folly.” From these observations it is clear that fools are presumptuous, impetuous, not stopping to consider all the factors in making decisions, poor decision makers and ruled by their own thoughts and opinions which they value above sound judgement, wisdom and instruction. “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)” They are arrogant, proud, boastful, full of themselves, lacking understanding, discernment and wise in their own eyes.
Ecclesiastes 10:3 tells us, “Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is.” He is characterized by ignorance and stupidity revealed in actions.
The fool is what we would term the troublemaker, always stirring up strife and contention. Proverbs 10:23 says, “[It is] as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.” Proverbs 14:16 says, “A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” The thing about a fool is that there is no reasoning with them as with a rational person, whose mind is open. Proverbs 23:9 says, “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” “If a wise man goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. (Proverbs 29:9)” “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. (Proverbs 26:4)” The only time that a fool is thought to be wise is when he keeps his mouth shut. “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:28)” Like the saying goes, “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The character of the heart of a fool is readily seen through his words and subsequent actions. Normally the fool has little regard for what he says or how it will affect those around him. Ecclesiastes 10:14 says, “and the fool multiplies words. No one knows what is coming- who can tell him what will happen after him?” The fool likes to hear himself ramble and spout off, but has no soundness in his words, neither does he govern his emotions or anger and is noted for his lack of self control. “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. (Proverbs 29:11)” Isaiah 32:6 says, “For the fool speaks folly, his mind is busy with evil: He practices ungodliness and spreads error concerning the LORD; the hungry he leaves empty and from the thirsty he withholds water.” The fool is set in his ways and will always return to his perverse nature. “As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his folly. (Proverbs 26:11)” The fool will not remain in a right path, but will go back to the folly and the error of his ways.
The fool is the counter part of the wise man. By his folly we better see wisdom, just as we wouldn’t recognize light without darkness. “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. (Ecclesastes 10:2).” Wisdom takes the high road, but fools will always take the low road. Wisdom is characterized in the godly and the spiritual man, the fool is seen to be sensual, devilish and perverse.
Perhaps in summary Proverbs 28:26 says it best, “He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.” What and whom we trust in says a lot about how wise or foolish we are. We have all grown up in degrees of foolishness, but our wisdom, our safety and our security are realized in our trust and obedience to God’s Word and His ways.

Blessings,
kent

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