Proverbs 13:19 ESV
A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
Proverbs has much to say about fools. It would be easy to assume that when the Bible says ‘fool’, it means ‘stupid’, but that’s not quite accurate. Foolishness, Biblically understood, is a denial of wisdom, a refusal to learn or use wisdom, and because it is a denial of wisdom, it is a denial of God. Thus, in Biblical terms, the fool desires evil and despises virtue because he despises God.
This hatred for God has results. See, different people want different things. Some people want lasagna; some people want pickles; some people want to burn their neighbors alive. For all these people, achieving their desire is a pleasant thing indeed, and the greater the desire, the greater the pleasure.When your child is born, when your father gets home from work, when you understand the slightest hints of the glory of God, you feel great joy, and rightly so. These are things of goodness and beauty, occasions for righteous rejoicing.
Other times, this delight is misdirected. Sin, after all, can be both much anticipated and quite enjoyable. For unregenerate man, in fact, vice, not virtue, brings gladness. Why? Sin, at its core, is rebellion against God, the denial of His sovereignty and the use of the faculties He has granted us to act in a manner contrary to our intended purpose. The man who hates God, therefore, naturally desires to sin, to act against God’s created order.
Fools, as those who hate God, love sin. When a fool (and we are all fools, at one point or another) sees an opportunity to act in sinful way, he turns towards that sin. After all, if he can fulfill his desire to sin, he thinks, he will find pleasure; his hate towards God will reward him with gladness for the evil he has done against Him whom he hates. To an extent this evil man is right. He is fulfilling his desire, and to him this fulfillment is sweet, at least for a time.
If he persists in this path, however his story will have only one end. God damns the foolish. As Psalm 71:18-19 proclaims, speaking to God, “Truly you set them [the wicked] in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors!” In accordance with the justice fo the Almighty, the fool will be judged, will feel the suffering due to his evil deeds and their originating desires. Ultimately, the foolish man sets an ambush for his own life by his foolishness (Proverbs 1:18).
Wherein does this judgment consist?
The first part lies in the sin itself. To analogize slightly, sin is corrosive. It eats away at the sinner, obscuring the image of God in them, twisting them a little more each time. Thus the fool, however much he enjoys the sin itself, must face the consequences it has for his own character. Ultimately, the only true happiness lies in God, and sin is antithetical to that end.
The second part lies in the effects of the sin upon the world. Sins affect other people. Sometimes the effect may seem neutral, even benign, but because sin is contrary to the will of the Creator of the universe, it ultimately leads to destruction, even on this mortal plane. In some cases, obviously, this consequence is more visible than in others, but we can all think of people, famous or familiar, whose sin appeared for a time to bring them joy and yet in the end wrought from out of their victory destruction.
The third part lies in the eternal damnation which our just God visits upon the unrepentant sinner (repentance here meaning not just regret but wholehearted rejection, a miracle possible only through the redeeming work of Christ (Romans 3:10-11)). This last judgment stands head, shoulders, and cosmos above the others in its severity, and yet the judgement is meet: eternal death for eternal treachery.
What, then, is the path which does not lead to death? We have seen the path of the foolish, and it tastes sweet for a while, yet in the end is a path of bitterness. What way is given to us that we might avoid the fate of the foolish?
Isaiah 9:6 proclaims:
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This verse encapsulates our hope. As we proclaim in this Christmas season through our celebration of Emmanuel’s birth, God sent to this sinful earth His Son, Jesus Christ, very God and very man, Who is of one substance with the Father and by Whom all things were made. This Jesus Christ descended to earth, was incarnate, and suffered for us upon the cross, taking the wrath of God (which was due to His people) upon Himself and granting to us His righteousness, which is perfect and without compare. By His grace, we fools, we sinful men, may follow Him, may walk the path of wisdom and righteousness, may one day sing with pure and whole hearts the words of Revelations 4:8, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Amen.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.