The Simple, The Scorner, and The Fool you will meet often throughout the book of Proverbs. In the twelve years that I have read through Proverbs I thought that these people were one in the same just called by different names. But, after reading a book commentary on Proverbs by Warren Wiersbe I realized that they are three separate categories of individuals. My thoughts then turned to “Why doesn’t the Bible talk about just the righteous?” and “Why does God teach us the ways of the ungodly?” Throughout most of Proverbs the ways of the righteous are compared to the ways of the wicked. God teaches us both characteristics, side by side, so we can make a comparison within our own lives. I like to think of them as”mirror” verses. Which part of the verse reflects who I am on the inside? Let’s look at the characteristics of these three types of ungodly people.
First, we meet the simple. The simple are naïve. They believe anything that is told to them. They don’t research the truth before acting upon it. They cannot discriminate between truth and lies. They "go where the wind blows them”. Because the simple do not take a stand for anything, they fall for everything. I like to think of them as gullible. “People everywhere enjoy believing things they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know.” Brooks Atkinson. “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thoughts to his step” (Proverbs 14: 15). According to the simple, whatever may make you “feel good” is truth for you. There is no absolute truth according to the simple. How sad because Proverbs 1:32 says “For the turning away (waywardness) of the simple shall slay them.”
Secondly, we meet the Scorner a.k.a the Mocker. Scorners are the “know-it –alls”. Scorners are puffed up with pride. “Proud and haughty scorners is his name” (Proverbs 21:24). “Scorners can’t find wisdom even if they seek for it (14:6) because learning God’s truth demands a humble mind and an obedient will.” Wiersbe. When you try to teach the scorner the ways of God they will not heed it. You are just wasting your time. It can be compared to throwing pearls before swine or as my friend likes to put it: “It’s like putting lipstick on a pig.” How true!
Thirdly, met meet the Fool. Throughout Proverbs three different Hebrew words are translated “fool”. They are 1)kesyl – the dull stupid fool who is stubborn, 2)ewiyl – a corrupt fool who is unreasonable and morally corrupt, and 3)nabal – fool who is like a stubborn animal and brutish. Fools will not learn from God’s Word (1:7). They also cannot control their speech. “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness” (15: 2). Fools may do a lot of talking but never accomplish what they talk about. They spread lies and slander and do not bring honor to their parents or God. Fools do not control their temper (12:16). “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (29:11). Fools are proud and self-reliant. Their confidence lies within themselves (28:26). They will meddle and argue with others about their own “rightness”. They tend to create problems and bring sorrows to others. They do not use their money wisely (21: 20); neither can they be given responsibilities (26:1). Fools do not learn from their mistakes but goes right back to the same old mess. They are likened to a dog going right back to its vomit (26: 11). Wise people learn from their mistakes but the fool does not.
These terrible trios will die at their appointed time just as the wise will also die, however, they will die without instruction. “The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools” (Proverbs 3:5). The only fools who are “wise fools” are those that have put their faith, hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians are considered “fools” to the world for Christ’s sake when they become born- again believers but that is the wisest decision anyone can make. (1 Corinthians 4:10). When it is our time to die, whose fool will YOU be?
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. (Proverbs 19:20)
Dear Father, It is my prayer this morning that you keep my feet on the path of the righteous. Lord I pray to I always listen to advice, to godly counsel. It is my prayer this morning to always accept and learn from your loving discipline because I know that You chastise those whom belong to You and whom You love. Teach me Lord so that I too may be counted among the wise.