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Proverbs 26:3-5 ~~~ Jeremiah 42:1-44:23

To the Chief Musician. [A Psalm] of David. THE [empty-headed] fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable deeds; there is none that does good or right. [Rom. 3:10.] (Psalms 14:1 AMP)

Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.
(Psalms 107:17 KJV)

Mike—I believe the answer to your question regarding the text of today’s Proverb can be found in our reading of Jeremiah. A fool is someone who has not submitted themselves to the obedience of God and that submission is not based on what they say, what they appear to be doing but on what is in their heart. Jesus said, O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (Matthew 12:34 KJV). What we speak and how we speak is never limited to what comes out of our mouths. We speak in three ways: words, body and deed; our actions speak louder than our words, our body language as we speak gives BIG hints to what we are saying.

The “leaders” who killed Gedaliah, the leaders who then killed and chased Gedaliah’s assassins, “Johanan son of Kareah and Jezaniah son of Hoshaiah” were all “guerrillas,” rebels. They were not rebels who carried a righteous indignation against the appointed leadership, they were rebels against God and His Word. A fool by his/her very nature and character will not submit to God and that is why the writer of Proverbs states:

Don't answer a fool according to his foolishness, or you'll be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his foolishness, or he'll become wise in his own eyes. (Proverbs 26:4-5 HCSB)

No matter how you answer, a fool he/she will still be a fool and believers are in danger of falling into the same pot as the fool if they associate with him or her. A fool is angry that is why they are rebelling against God and established leadership.

Don't make friends with an angry man, and don't be a companion of a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24-25 HCSB)

Rebellious people, thus fools, can never be trusted. If they rebel against godly leadership, they will rebel against God and if they rebel against God they will rebel against godly leadership. This mode operand can be found in every area of life, in the man or woman who declares to the husband or wife that is not there’s that they will leave their respective spouses if only …, o the person whose change of behavior or lifestyle is predicated on someone or something else changing before they “get it together.”

Fools approached Jeremiah for a Word from God and God humored and tested them. They got their Word and they remained fools. Change is not change until it’s changed. If you are speaking to a “fool”, either you are trying to effect change in the fools life or you are trying to make yourself look good or wise in the eyes of others. Either way your words are wasted. KNOW your audience and know yourself well enough that you operate out of right motives.

Grace and peace,

Thank you Ramona!

Yes, I also found these two proverbs confusing as they seem to advocate opposite actions when dealing with a fool. I thought Ramona's observations with the Jeremiah's reading were keen. And it made me think how much I am like Johanan and the rebels. I can see the office politics and backstabbing and how it makes sense to ally with the worldly power for safety and not the perceived enemy... Yet they received advice to to the opposite. So it would seem the fool is not humble enough to receive the advice, because the fool knows better. I am often like this. So in order to reach a fool like me, often someone has to connect with me somewhere on my foolish level (the 2nd part of the Proverb, like what Jeremiah's doing) and not get caught up in my foolishness (the 1st part of the Proverb, for example- the office politics). Incidentally, isn't this what Jesus did to save us! :) and furthermore what we are trying to do for those that do not yet believe?

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