Skillful Living 101—17 Foolish Behavior

Everyone is given to foolish behavior at various times in life, that’s just normal. Continuing in foolishness on the other hand, is a very disagreeable way of life that’s not only frowned upon by society, but worse—God is not pleased with incessant foolishness.

Almost all of Proverbs addresses foolish behavior, giving us ways, ideas and instruction on how not to be foolish. Proverbs 17 holds quite a few truths in regard to the fool and gives sound advice on how to step out of unwise behavior.

Essentially the word unwise says it all. Foolish behavior is nothing less than unwise behavior—this is the memo that all of Proverbs is shouting out…“Get Wisdom!”

Verse 10 of Proverbs 17 is quite interesting,

A reproof enters deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred lashes into a [self-confident] fool.

Have you ever heard the saying “Knock some sense into him”? This passage skillfully reiterates the fact that fools can be so hard-headed that not even a hundred whacks will change them.

This is not so with a wise person who possesses discernment and understanding. A person who has Godly wisdom is not prone to offence and can gracefully receive rebuke and correction, be it from the Lord or from a friend. Not only can they receive but they will also seek God on how to change such behavior.

Proverbs 17:12 says,

Better to meet a grizzly robbed of her cubs than a fool hellbent on folly.

This is such a startling description of a fool!

Read the following verses from Proverbs 17 and see what else God says about a fool and their behavior. In these verses we also see that a fool is said to be:  unruly, an evildoer and a liar, one who mocks and gloats, empty-headed, one who repeats a matter (gossips), one who seeks rebellion, rewards evil, a person without a heart for wisdom, devoid of understanding, one who loves transgression and strife, someone with a deceitful heart and perverse tongue, a scoffer, a person who takes bribes, argues with justice, a grief to their father and bitterness to their mother and a fool is said to be a dunce.

Verse 2—“A wise servant takes charge of an unruly child and is honored as one of the family.” (MSG)
Verse 4—“An evildoer gives heed to wicked lips; and a liar listens to a mischievous tongue.” (AMP)
Verse 5—“Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator; gloating over misfortune is a punishable crime.” (MSG)
Verse 7—“Fine or arrogant speech does not befit [an empty-headed] fool—much less do lying lips befit a prince.” (AMP)
Verse 9—“He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends.” (NKJ)
Verse 11—“An evil man seeks only rebellion; therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.” (NKJ)
Verse 13—“Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.” (NKJ)
Verse 15—“He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both an abomination [exceedingly disgusting and hateful] to the Lord.” (AMP)
Verse 16—“Of what use is money in the hand of a [self-confident] fool to buy skillful and godly Wisdom—when he has no understanding or heart for it?” (AMP)
Verse 19—“He who loves transgression loves strife, and he who exalts his gate seeks destruction.”(NKJ)
Verse 20—“He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, and he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.” (NKJ)
Verse 21—“He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy.” (NKJ)
Verse 23—“The wicked take bribes under the table; they show nothing but contempt for justice.” (MSG)
Verse 25—“A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.” (NKJ)
Verse 28—“Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.” (MSG)

Skillful Living Tools

  • Get Wisdom—God is not pleased with incessant foolishness
  • Hate Gossip—a fool listens to a mischievous tongue
  • Don’t gloat—instead pray—a fool gloats over misfortune
  • Cover transgressions and seek love
  • Never reward evil or justify wickedness—or they will be our constant house guest
  • Have a heart for wisdom
  • Love justice and don’t take bribes
  • Train children in Godliness
  • Keep quite—our opinion is not always needed

My hope in writing this entry in the Skillful Living series is to awaken our heart and soul to the seriousness of foolish behavior, therefore assisting us to seek God for help in areas where we might still dabble in foolishness.

Please be encouraged to read all of Proverbs 17 and share with those who need to live skillfully!

Check out the Skillful Living Tool Box (updated weekly) at the top of this page!

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