Proverbs 26: King James Bible
Fool and his Folly – Daily Devotion of Proverbs chapter twenty six, Verses 3-5
3 A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back. 4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
Daily Inspiration from These Verses – Fool and his Folly
Have you ever been burned by trying to fight fire with fire (figuratively speaking)? Ever been in a confrontation with someone, and though you’re in the right, you wind up getting just as down and dirty as your opponent? When that happens, being in the right doesn’t seem to matter that much anymore.
In the three pieces of scripture above, the Lord is teaching us that you can’t always treat everything in one way. When being in the circumstance that you might need to deal with a fool and his folly, there is a method available described above, that help us to correct a fool.
In verse three, we’re given the method. Verse 4 four tells us what not to do, while verse five gives us the reasoning behind correcting a fool. Let’s take a look at what the Lord is telling us to do about the fool and his folly.
The whip, the bridle, and the rod, are all tools used to correct and manipulate the course and motivation of the recipient. Above we see the whip for the horse, bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back. Now, if all of you who are not fools would be so kind, as to head to your local sports center to purchase a baseball bat…
That’s kind of what we think of when we read about the “rod for the fool’s back” part, isn’t it? Actually striking someone. Well we can’t do that, and the Lord knew it when he incorporated this into his Word.
Interesting that the rod is mentioned throughout the Word as a tool not only to correct a fool, but children as well. A fool and his folly can be every bit of a whirlwind as a wild donkey or horse. Without direction and purpose, they’d be all over the place. And they are; more often than not spiritually.
Instead of focusing on the tool, let’s look at the reasons behind using it. To correct, to keep out of trouble, to guide, to teach, and to chasten. Well wait a second, doesn’t the Lord only chasten those he loves? Isn’t chastening something that a father does to his sons for their good?
The Lord gives us a bold reason to correct a fool in verse five, and it is an example of his hope. That would be to prevent them to become wise in their own conceit. We’ll find out later on in the chapter, that there’s little hope for those who are wise in their own conceit in verse 12.
The Father is looking out for the fool, but at times opts to do this through his children. When this happens, we can’t become the fool ourselves, but must be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Use wisdom, understanding, and knowledge as your rod, rather than sinking down and taking hold of all the temptations that present themselves to act out in the flesh, rather than the spirit.
Our dealings with a fool should always wind up with the fool better for it, not worse. Though the fool says in his heart that there is no God, that doesn’t mean that will always be the case person to person. If we continuously direct the fool in the right direction, coupled with prayer and the tools we’re given by the Father, there is hope!
And the fact that there is hope for the fool should speak volumes to us when we get bitter with the fool and his folly, Godlessness, strife, and arguments. After all, it is the Father that they are denying, not us. And he still loves them enough to have died for them.
They just might need to see some Christ in us, the hope of glory, in order for this to bring them into the family of the Lord. For some, it is the reverse that has driven them away from the Lord in the first place.
Make no mistake, we are being watched and observed by others. What kind of example are we?
Related New Testament Scripture
Romans 1: King James Bible
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things.
1 Corinthians 3: King James Bible
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
1 Corinthians 11: King James Bible
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
Hebrews 12: King James Bible
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
2 Timothy 3: King James Bible
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. 9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as their’s also was.
Thank you for these verses of instruction, and also thank you for opening our eyes even further, of your love for your creation. Help us to be good stewards of your Word, your Spirit, and your name, so that we do not become a deceitful example of what it is to be your child. For those of us who need aid in this area, please grant it. Help us to reach all who you foreknow will call upon your name for salvation, and to not fall into the temptation of behaving as the Godless. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
Have you ever wound up caught in the mess of a fool and his folly, rather than attempting to influence their direction by the Lord’s instruction?