(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
One of the sweet and important themes of Proverbs, it just shows the tenderhearted care of the Lord; Proverbs really tries to help us to see the folly of folly, the foolishness of foolishness. And the reason that that is so important is we all have this problem. Foolishness doesn’t always seem foolish to us.
If you're pulling out your credit card to buy something that you can’t actually afford, with no thought of how you will actually be able to pay this new increase in debt, you're not thinking about how foolish it is! You’re thinking about the excitement of this new possession that you're about to get. If you're lusting after a woman at the mall, let’s say, you're not thinking of the utter danger and foolishness of what you're doing; you're thinking of the beauty that you're looking at and the pleasure that you would fantasize in your mind. We need to be warned, to remember the foolishness of foolishness.
Now here's the problem, foolishness doesn't just live in the grand moments of your life. Foolishness lives in all those little, seemingly inconsequential, mundane moments of your life. The life of a fool isn't built in four moments; the life of a fool is built in ten-thousand little moments. And the life of a wise person isn't built in one or three or five moments, but it’s built in a thousand little teeny moments of life.
So, the Proverbs works to help us to see the dangerousness of foolishness. And what it does is it works to convince you that the fool is not just dumb; foolishness is a moral thing because wisdom is a Godward thing. So, the heart of foolishness is a denial of the Lord; a denial of His presence, His authority, and the wisdom of His way. In fact, Proverbs, in the 14th chapter, basically presents the fool as someone who despises the Lord. There it is.
I think of Psalm 14 that says, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Now, we’re not talking there about philosophical atheism; we’re talking about living in a way that denies God's place in my heart and in my life.
Proverbs 17 is a whole chapter that just unpacks that foolishness is not just a series of stupid choices, but a series of sinful choices; so much so that the fool is so full of himself that he resists rebuke. He resists any thought that he may be a fool; and because of that, the Proverbs says, “Your foolishness will lead you to ruin.” And it depicts that ruling in a multitude of different ways.
So, here's what we need to understand. The fool doesn't just need instruction. Let me say that again, “The fool doesn't just need instruction; he needs heart and life transformation.” We need this instruction because sin reduces all of us to fools!
What is the heart of foolishness? It's a denial of God and at street level wanting my own way. Let me just talk to parents, really quickly. Parents, you ought to read Proverbs and look at the folly of folly because you’re parenting fools. Children come into the world with foolishness in their hearts, the Proverb says. And they need parents who hold God's wisdom before them, parents who do more, who hold the need for rescuing heart transforming grace before your children because your children don't just need protection, they don't just need instruction. Your children, being fools, need radical heart and life transformation. That transformation only comes by the power of God's grace. Hold the need of that grace before your children and watch what God will do!