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                         "THE BOOK OF PROVERBS"

                         The Folly Of The Fool

INTRODUCTION

1. The goal of Proverbs is to impart wisdom...
   a. To know wisdom and instruction - Pr 1:1-2
   b. To receive the instruction of wisdom - Pr 1:3

2. One way to learn about something is to consider its opposite...
   a. Want to understand what is wisdom?  Then know what is folly!
   b. Want to be wise?  Then don't be a fool!

[In studying the wisdom of Proverbs, then, we learn much about "The
Folly Of The Fool."  Exactly what is a fool...?]

I. THE FOOL DEFINED

   A. THE HEBREW WORD...
      1. 'eviyl; it appears primarily in wisdom literature - Vine's
      2. An adjective meaning foolish in the sense of one who hates
         wisdom and walks in folly, despising wisdom and morality - TCWD
      -- A fool thus despises wisdom and walks in folly

   B. DEFINED FURTHER...
      1. The word is used in Scripture with respect to moral more than
         to intellectual deficiencies - Unger's Bible Dictionary, p. 375
      2. The 'fool' is not so much lacking in mental powers, as one who
         misuses them... - ibid.
      3. In Scripture the 'fool'...is the person who casts off the fear
         of God, and thinks and acts as if he could safely disregard the
         eternal principles of God's righteousness - ibid.
      -- A fool thus chooses to disregard God and His wisdom

[To help us to further understand "The Folly Of The Fool," let's now
consider...]

II. THE FOOL DESCRIBED

   A. ONE WHO TRUSTS IN HIMSELF...
      1. In his own eyes, he can do no wrong - Pr 12:15
      2. Foolishly, he trusts in his own heart - Pr 28:26
      -- Conversely, we should trust in the Lord, not lean on our own
         understanding - Pr 3:5-6

   B. ONE WHO IS DEAF TO INSTRUCTION...
      1. Fools despise wisdom and instruction - Pr 1:7
      2. Even the instruction from one's father - Pr 15:5
      3. Thus fools die for lack of wisdom - Pr 10:21
      4. A fool cares only to tell others what he knows - Pr 18:2
      5. For a fool thinks he knows every thing - Pr 18:13
      6. What fools know is soon known by all - Pr 14:33
      7. Their foolishness becomes apparent to all - Pr 12:23; 13:16
      -- Therefore we waste energy in trying to share wisdom with a fool
         - Pr 23:9

   C. ONE WHO CANNOT BE DISCIPLINED...
      1. Fools are destined for much punishment - Pr 19:29, 26:3
      2. Yet they are unlikely to learn from attempts to correct them
         - Pr 17:10
      3. Such hatred of correction is the height of folly - Pr 12:1
      -- Trying to correct a fool is folly within itself - Pr 16:22

   D. ONE WHO IS IMPULSIVE...
      1. A fool is one who vents all his feelings - Pr 29:11
      2. His wrath is soon known - Pr 12:16
      -- His impulsiveness makes his folly worse - Pr 14:29

   E. ONE WHO COMMITS EVIL...
      1. Evil is like sport to a fool - Pr 10:23
      2. They even make fun of sin - Pr 14:9
      -- Thus it is difficult to get fools to depart from evil - Pro
         14:16

   F. ONE WHO IS VIRTUALLY UNCHANGEABLE...
      1. Despite the most extreme efforts to rehabilitate him - Pro
         27:22
      2. Because he considers it an abomination to depart from evil
         - Pr 13:19
      -- Truly a fool is like a dog that returns to his own vomit - Pro
         26:11

CONCLUSION

1. In summary, then, a fool is a person who...
   a. Trusts in himself
   b. Is deaf to instruction
   c. Cannot be disciplined
   d. Is impulsive
   e. Commits evil
   f. Is virtually unchangeable

2. Reinforcing these qualities of a fool...
   a. Let's now read Pr 26:1-12
   b. Where we find several observations about fools and their folly

Hopefully, such observations and warnings about "The Folly Of The Fool"
will encourage us to choose an alternative path in life; especially when
we consider the final contrast between the wise and the fools:

   "The wise shall inherit glory, But shame shall be the legacy of
   fools."
                                                      - Pr 3:35

What shall we inherit?  What shall be our legacy?  It depends on our
willingness to listen to God...
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