Proverbs 27:22 “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.”
I took a trip to Israel a few years ago and along the way we visited a man who taught us how to make classic bread using a grinding mill. The process of placing kernels of wheat in the stones and grinding it into the flour necessary for producing the bread, coupled with a little oil and seasoning produced the final product which was surprisingly good. I think about this grind when I read Proverbs and how God deals with fools.
What is it about a fools that makes them such difficult people to deal with?
Attributes of a Fool
When considering the qualifications for a fool, the list is worth taking note of regarding a self-evaluation for how I respond to God. I certainly don’t want to be counted as a fool, although I know I have acted foolishly many times in life, I don’t want to be so oblivious to my condition that I miss the opportunity to become wise.
When reviewing fools, the list is quite shameful.
- The fool says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1). Mind you, the fool may claim he knows God and may have even make up a god for his own liking, but when examined by God, his heart says otherwise. Atheists comprise this group of fools as well as every idolatrous worshipper of man made god’s on earth. The evidence for false religion all points to their faith being a travesty of delusion, when examining the evidence, their god’s all fall short for qualification and yet they refuse to change their allegiances for purposes that vary from tradition to familial ties. When they stand before God, they will see how foolish it was to trust in these fake belief systems for there is One Judge who will hold mankind responsible for their unbelief.
The Lord will remember, He knows the hearts and minds of all those who have rejected His awesome love that was portrayed upon the cross by Jesus the Messiah.
- Fools cannot be corrected(Proverbs 16:22). Have you ever tried arguing with a fool? It can be an exercise in futility. Fools are bent on holding their position, regardless of how much evidence points at their position being incorrect. They will typically lie, exaggerate truth, or even make up data that cannot be backed up just to try and prove themselves correct. No amount of reasoning will convince a fool, no evidence is enough to persuade them into considering an alternative conclusion, and a fool will continue their pursuit until it leads to their ruin…..when they conclude their path was wrong, they find ways to blame others for the poor outcome since it can never be that they were wrong.
- Fools do not deserve honor(Proverbs 26:8). When a fool is exalted the ones doing the honoring are usually in the same camp. Want to see fools honoring fools? Watch the Academy Awards show and see the Hollywood system that promotes godlessness and worldly values lift each other up on podiums and sing each other’s praises. There are many examples in this world of fools honoring fools, in politics, in education, and in the arts, the examples are seemingly endless. Why is honor not befitting a fool? True honor is given for nobility and that is reflective of righteousness. The righteous do not exalt themselves, that is what the Lord will do in the last days. When all we know comes to a conclusion, when the curse is cast away and the Lord reigns on earth, He will exalt His people to a place along with Him for eternity.
- Fools continue to repeat the same errors over and over again(Proverbs 23:35). They don’t learn from mistakes. If you ask them why they continue to repeat the same behavior even though it ends in misery they will often say, “I don’t know”. They can’t understand what leads to the trouble and since they spurn reproof, they choose their own understanding to guide them and it continually leads them astray. The ultimate mistake in life is to disregard the grace of God. The Spirit of God calls all people to repentance and yet because of their hard hearts and deaf ears, the call goes unheeded. As it says in Proverbs, the drunk awakes, only to look for the bottle once more. The man who has lost his wife and grieved his family, continues to embrace womanizing or porn to satisfy his need for self-fulfillment.
- Fools bring shame within their family(Proverbs 10:1). To watch a son or daughter progress into foolishness is like watching a terrible accident in slow motion. The people around them see the trouble coming but their counsel is not even considered. When a parent is asked concerning a wayward child, it only is with regret and shame they have to mention the exploits of their offspring. People shake their heads, feel bad for them but they know it is a path of trouble that lays ahead.
God’s Grinding Tools
When we see how God deals with a fool, we see His love being expressed through trial and hardship. The intent is to turn a fool from his ways that they might find the true life that is in Him.
A fool may cry out to God in the midst of trouble, only to blame God for not considering his position. Sin carries a weight with it’s holder, trouble is at every intersection of life and in its end is death. The Lord might allow the sin to progress to a point of utter devastation, hoping the fool recognizes there is no where else to look but up.
1 Timothy 5:24 “Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later.”
The path of the fool is one that should be avoided at all cost. The only way to get off this path is by way of the wise. Jesus said it best when He told His disciples...”I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.”John 14:6
To know the path of peace is to know Jesus. You may have been through God’s grinding wheel of correction and if your hard heart became tender then you were made into the bread that gives life. Jesus is our life now. He gave of Himself that we we might be restored from a state of hopelessness to a position of honor.
Learn from your past mistakes and allow God to continue to grow you wiser in Him. Your life will be the better for it and so it will also be for those who know you.