Reverend Henry Ward Beecher, a clergyman in the late 1800’s, is said to have entered Plymouth Church one Sunday morning, only to find that a letter addressed to him had been left on the pulpit. He opened it and read the single word “Fool.” Quietly, and with great seriousness, he told the congregation about the letter and then said, “I have known many an instance of a man writing a letter and forgetting to sign his name, but this is the only instance I have ever known of a man signing his name but forgetting to write the letter.” I wondered if the Bible had anything to say about fools and foolishness, and was amazed to find 49 references. For example:
- “Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
- “A fool’s heart blurts out folly” (Proverbs 12:23).
The greatest folly that fools blurt out is found in the first verse of Psalm 14 and again in Psalm 53, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”
It seems to me that the opposite of foolishness is wisdom. Here’s just a bit of what the Bible says about wisdom.
- “Reverence for the Lord is the foundation of true wisdom. The rewards of wisdom come to all who obey him” (Psalm 111:10 NLT).
- “To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper (Proverbs 19:8 NLT).
These verses make me want to be a wise person. The question is, how do we get wisdom instead of becoming fools? James 1:5 tells us that if we are lacking wisdom we should ask God to supply it, because he gives generously to all. He’s already given us his wisdom in his Word, the Bible. How foolish we are when we don’t read it!
How will we recognize Godly wisdom when we get it? James 3:17 (NLT) says, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.” Those are real goals to hold up for our lives. If we want to be wise, we must be:
- peace loving
- full of good deeds
Of course, we can’t be all those things on our own. We are told by 1 Corinthians 1:24 that, “to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Our only hope for Biblical wisdom lies in our relationship with God through Christ. When we’re seeking wisdom, we’re really seeking to be like Christ. To do that, we have to know him. To know him we must read his Word (his wise instructions) and do what we find there, thus living wisely.
Let’s not be foolish! Let’s get wisdom by following Christ.