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 considering in regards to how we should 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 the qualifications of a fool, the heritage of one who lives their life in this manner is one of shame and regret.
*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 a faith founded in delusion. When examining the evidence for God, the gods of fools fall short and yet the fool refuses to change his allegiances for purposes that vary from tradition to familial ties. When the fool stands before God, he will see how foolish it was to trust in these fake belief systems. There is One Judge who will hold mankind responsible for all false belief, the evidence presents itself, the fool chooses to disregard it.
Psalm 74:18 “Remember how the enemy has mocked You, O LORD, how a foolish people has spurned Your name.”
The Lord does not forget….He knows the hearts and minds of all who have rejected His love, a 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 as they 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 by God and is reflective of righteousness. The righteous do not exalt themselves, it is the Lord who will do that in the last days. When the Earth comes to it’s conclusion, when the curse is cast away and the Lord reigns on a new earth, He will exalt His people to a place along with Him for eternity.
Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly.”
*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 to divorce and grieves for his family, continues to embrace womanizing and 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. If a parent is asked about a foolish child, it only is with regret and shame they have to mention the path their kids have taken. People shake their heads, feel bad for them but they know it is a path of trouble that lays ahead.
God’s Grinding Tool
Luke 20:18 “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
The stone that the builders rejected is the chief cornerstone for all who believe. The Rock of Christ Jesus becomes the very foundation by which a house of faith is built. For the fool, the rock becomes a point of stumbling. Not only does Christ become a position of offense to the fool, but it is that very Rock that will crush the fool in judgement.
When we see how God deals with a fool, we see His love being expressed through trial and hardship. When God allows the fool to follow his folly, He is allowing that person to discover the error of his ways, in hopes that they might find the true life that is in Him. God’s love doesn’t diminish because the fool has gone his own way, He is patient with him and preserves his life for a season.
A fool may cry out to God in the midst of trouble, only to blame God for not considering his low position. Sin carries a burden of weight with it’s holder, trouble is at every intersection of life and 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 Cross. 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
The fool must die to his old life and allow Christ to make him new.
1 Corinthians 1:26-31 “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
The grinding of the fool is the impossible task of striving to achieve true happiness apart from Christ. The road is just too difficult, the mountains are too steep, and the valleys are full of danger. The fool tries with all his might to accomplish what only God can provide and it is Jesus that he can’t get past. The fool might try to lie, cheat, and steal his way into being satisfied with what he has gained, but in the end he will find his way lead only to death.
It is only by following after Christ that the wayward pilgrim finds the strength, power, and supply to succeed. The Lord protects His people, He moves mountains that stand in the way, and He heals them from the scourge of sin.
The wise know the path of peace is found only in Jesus. You too may have been through God’s grinding wheel of correction at one time and then your hard heart became tender when you were brought into the life that is only found at the feet of the Savior.
Learning from past mistakes takes humility and as God continues to grow His people in wisdom they will find that His way is secure and has a future.