PLAYING THE FOOL “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.” Proverbs 27:22 NKJVThe word “fool” appears 40 times in the book of Proverbs (ESV translation). It’s often defined as: one who is obstinate, rebellious, self-willed, self-confident, will not receive instruction, or learn from their mistakes, talks too much, slanders others, is proud of their sin, repeats the same mistakes, does not obey the commands of God and ultimately lacks the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom.
I could tag a few people for an illustration, but that would be unkind. King James uses the term to “bray” – To pound wheat in a mortar with a pestle, in order to free the wheat from its husks and impurities. The process of separating the husks from the corn by the use of pestle and mortar is a much more involved and intricate process of pounding than threshing; hence the proverb expresses the idea that the most elaborate pains are wasted on the incorrigible fool. His foolishness will not depart from him.
An obstinate, self-willed, unprincipled man cannot be reformed by any means; his folly has become a second nature, and is not to be eliminated by any teaching, discipline, or severity. “The folly and wickedness of some men are so incurable, that though unto reproofs, and chidings, and threatenings, you should add stripes and blows, they would not grow a whit the wiser or better for it.” Benson Commentary What then do we do with the fool?
I believe it is my job to watch over my sister in Christ and help her in her Christian walk. I will walk with you, guide you, instruct you in the right paths, lift you up when you fall. I will be long suffering and patient, but if I see that you continually do the same thing over and over and return to your vomit; I’m washing my hands. I am not wasting my oil on the fool.
Wisdom cries out that even beating the fool multiple times will not bring forth any kind of instruction. They will not learn. Folly has become their second nature. Don’t waste your oil. Oil is precious and costly. I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen this proverb come to fruition. God’s Word is true.
Why don’t you believe the Word? Why do you think you can change or help someone who constantly plays the fool? Maybe you have a god-complex? Maybe you are a rescuer? The above tells us that the fool cannot be rescued, his obstinance and self-will dictate foolishness of him. Besides, it’s not your job to rescue- it’s Jesus job.
As Oswald Chambers likes to say, we play at being “amateur providences”. Lead them to Jesus. Tell them what the Word declares. They have the choice to either crucify their flesh and obey the Word, or foolishly disobey and fall into disrepair. Stop banging your head against the wall. Most assuredly, pray for the fool. Perhaps one day they will see their sin and repent. But don’t get caught up in the trap of instructing him. It’s to no avail. Wash your hands, dust your feet and move on to the obedient sheep who need and want your oil and won’t bite you when you instruct them. #runyourrace
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