Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. ~ Proverbs 23:9
Truth and wisdom are privileges, not rights. Fools do not deserve either. Let them believe their own imagination and lies. Truth and wisdom are precious, so do not expose them to ridicule by fools. Because of their choices, fools should be left to confusion in their folly.
Are such words too harsh? Jesus Christ did not think so. When the disciples told Jesus He had offended the Pharisees, He said, “Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt 15:13-14). Amen to that!
Wise men do not waste the precious truth and wisdom of God on fools, for fools will despise their wonderful value and profit. Truth and wisdom are precious gifts, and to neglect or reject them brings just judgment. Just ask Lady Wisdom (Pr 1:20-33)! Wise men also avoid fools because of their wicked influence (Pr 9:6; 13:20; 14:7; 19:27).
Jesus Christ also gave this rule in His Sermon on the Mount: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matt 7:6). Like fools, dogs and pigs have corrupt natures you cannot change – dogs eat their vomit, and pigs wallow in mud (II Pet 2:22; Pr 26:11). They are also violent and dangerous, as Jesus warned, so stay away from them.
Reader, are you wise? Do you know the danger of talking to a fool? You cannot win with words, for he will not listen or change (Pr 27:22). If you engage in debate, you become a fool yourself (Pr 26:4). His foolish and unlearned questions only cause fights (II Tim 2:23). If you give him truth, he will despise it and trample it under his hoofs (Matt 7:6). And he will pervert your words against you (Pr 9:7-8; Matt 7:6). Be wise! Stay away from fools! Do not waste the truth on them. Choose wise men for friends (Ps 119:63).
What is a fool? Every man has some foolishness, but a fool is overcome by it. He has his own ideas; he is confident of them; he is past learning. He would rather talk than listen; he does what he wants regardless of instruction or warning. He does not show the noble spirit of the Bereans to eagerly hear truth and search the scriptures to confirm it (Acts 17:11; Tit 3:10-11). Let him fall in his own ditch and wallow there. Save your breath.
When you perceive a fool – one who does not want to hear, learn, and change – go from him (Pr 14:7). Say enough to shut his haughty mouth and condemn his folly (Pr 26:5), but do not expose precious truth or yourself to his stupid and malicious debating (Pr 26:4). To stoop to his level is to honor his arrogance, risk your own soul, and dishonor the truth.
For peace and safety in your life and family, heed the rules of wisdom. Forsake the foolish and live (Pr 9:6; 19:27). Cast out the scorner, and enjoy the peaceful relief (Pr 22:10). Prune away fools, and your life will blossom. They are evil nuisances that devour the spirit of wise men and degrade the integrity of truth and wisdom. Protect the vitality of your soul and family by avoiding fools and their evil communications (I Cor 15:33).
Unconditional love or friendship is unknown in the Bible. It is a figment of the modern imagination. Men are to be judged by action and character, not mere existence or natural relationships (Ps 119:63; Tit 1:8). Even God does not love His children unconditionally; He loves them because they are in Christ (Ep 1:4-6; 5:25-27). David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, took severe measures to get fools out of his house (Ps 101:1-8; I Kgs 2:5-6).
Jesus is very different from men today. This effeminate, compromising generation presumes all men have a right to truth. They sugarcoat it for fools in their carnal programs of church growth and winning the lost. Conservative ones among them will preach it at full volume on street corners violating the proverb and disturbing the peace. Of course, Matthew 7:6 is not preached, for it condemns their emphasis and philosophy.
Jesus told His apostles to reject listeners who did not love the gospel. He did not suggest altering content, using new methods or programs, to entice them, as false teachers do today to fill stadiums with fools. Jesus said, Shake off the dust of your feet against those people, and I will judge them in the last day (Matt 10:14-15). Instead of making it easy to follow the truth, He made the high cost of discipleship very clear (Luke 14:25-33).
When the apostle Paul tired of the foolish Jews at Antioch, he said, “It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46). This is true Bible evangelism – enduring all things for the elect’s sakes and praying for deliverance from all the rest (II Tim 2:10; II Thess 3:2; Acts 13:48; Jude 1:4).
Contrary to the ignorant opinion of many, Jesus Christ used parables to keep many in His foolish generation from hearing and understanding truth (Matt 13:10-17). Parables are not simple, earthly stories with heavenly meanings to help common people understand truth; they are obscure and difficult sayings to hide the truth from any but the Lord’s own enlightened children. Can you handle this truth, dear reader? Read it! Believe it!
Why do some preach on street corners and in jails? The first are a public nuisance, and the latter chase society’s biggest fools. Are these soldiers of the cross and warriors of the faith? They drag the truth through the mud to those who do not want to hear it. Jesus preached to multitudes that followed Him, not wicked fools who hated Him. He commended visiting saints in jail, not criminals (Matt 25:40). He said nothing to the cursing thief crucified beside Him. Jesus knew the wisdom of Proverbs 23:9 and kept it.
Paul preached in synagogues and at prayer meetings (Acts 16:13; 17:1-2), not jails. The jailor Paul and Silas spoke to was outside the bars, while they were inside the bars (Acts 16:23-24). Now that is a jail ministry! And they waited for him to ask about salvation. They were not sentimentally selling religion to thieves and murderers in their cages. When Paul was a prisoner in Rome, he preached to all who came to him (Acts 28:30-31). Some talk as if he should have rejected his own house and asked to be thrown in the hole.
Many misuse Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” They assume it condemns any judgment. But Jesus in context said to judge some men as dogs and pigs and keep truth from them (Mat 7:6). He wants you to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24). These seven words pertain to private judgment for personal offences, not sins against God. The sense is this: do not judge personal offences harshly or hypocritically. Jesus explained this in the next four verses (Mat 7:2-5). This verse does not at all condemn judging fools.
Truth is available in many places. The natural creation speaks of God’s eternal power and Godhead. Men are without excuse. But when they reject the truth He offers, He darkens their minds and turns them over to perverse thinking and actions, like sodomy and other abominations (Rom 1:18-32). If they do not love the truth, He sends strong delusion to cause them to believe a lie and be damned (II Thess 2:10-12). Read it! Believe it!
Of course, this is not taught in Sunday School. Most churches have rejected the truth of Scripture for fables, and God has justly removed their understanding and given them over to the sentimental smog of their own imaginations. Truth today is every man’s opinion rather than the Word of God (II Tim 4:3-4). God has deceived the prophets, and there is a famine for God’s word (Ezek 14:1-11; Amos 8:11-12). Paul prayed to cure the ignorance of some (Rom 10:1-3), but he told others they could stay ignorant (I Cor 14:38).
Be careful how you receive this proverb and its explanation, for Lady Wisdom only allows a window of time to show your love for truth and wisdom. If you neglect or reject her offer, she will withdraw and neglect or reject you in your great hour of need when you call upon her for help (Pr 1:20-32). Truth and wisdom are serious matters. Lady Wisdom wants you to love her; if you do not, you must love death (Pr 8:17,32-36).
Do you wish to promote truth and wisdom in the earth? Then promote it among those that are wise, God’s saints (I Cor 2:6; I Thess 5:14; Jas 5:19-20). Still not satisfied? Then live a holy life of truth and wisdom and wait for men to ask a reason of the hope that makes you different (Pr 22:20-21; I Pet 3:15). Show the world a godly life, and wait for God to convict them. Any so-called conversion without God’s regeneration first is an illusion.
Dear reader, have you forsaken the foolish and found refuge in a church where only His Word has authority (II Thess 3:6)? Have you sought the old paths and the good way (Jer 6:16)? Have you forsaken all fools, including those who use pulpits on Sundays? Do you want to worship the Jesus Christ of the Bible, or the effeminate, longhaired hippie of Bible storybooks (II Cor 11:3-4)? The mystery of godliness in Christ Jesus is truly great (I Tim 3:16), but it is only for those who have a holy desire for it (Rom 1:8-15; 15:31).