Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
You have known fools. They bounce from one thing to another. They are excited with this and then that. They are always seeking happiness and success, which they never find. They love new things. They cannot focus on important matters. They are easily distracted from their duties like children. They look in strange places for answers. They dream. They talk a lot. They are not content. They are fickle, unsettled, and easily confused.
But a wise man is very different. He has understanding as the guide and rule of his conduct. He is focused on all aspects of life with the resolute purpose of keeping God’s commandments. He has not forgotten what he was taught, nor is he ignorant of the Scriptures. He searches the Bible for knowledge and wisdom, and he proves all things by it (Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21). He is content with life and confident in most any dilemma.
Fools are often scorners – resenting correction and instruction – so they learn very little (Pr 14:6). A fool is so thrilled with foolishness that he avoids wisdom and understanding (Pr 15:14). A fool is so lazy that he never applies the diligence it takes to acquire wisdom, for he would rather enjoy and tell his own thoughts (Pr 18:1-2). Fools are often arrogant, which makes it impossible for them to identify and learn wisdom (Pr 26:12).
Wise men do not daydream or speculate. They would rather muse than be amused (Ps 143:5). They prefer meditation over imagination, instruction over recreation, and self-examination over self-actualization. They want truth, and they define it as God’s certain words in the Bible (Pr 22:17-21). They have no regard for man’s opinions (Ps 119:98-100). They do not have to look for wisdom, because they know it (Pr 14:6). They have it hid in their hearts (Ps 119:11,128), and they meditate on it day and night (Ps 1:3).
You arrived on earth knowing nothing. You are here a short time, and your whole duty is to fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl 12:13-14). Your flesh, the sinfully depraved part of your being, sees with the lust of the eyes (I John 2:15-17). Satan and the world offer many things to see (Luke 4:5-7). The fool gives in to his lusts and wastes his life chasing illusions. But David prayed to be saved from looking at vanity (Ps 119:37)!
It is foolish to spend your life craving something better, while you race toward something bitter – death! Godliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim 6:6). You cannot beat this simple rule for a successful life. Godliness is living prudently with wisdom as your great pursuit (Pr 4:5-9; 8:17). Contentment is appreciation for God being your friend and trusting Him for the things you have as being best (Heb 13:5-6). But fools must dream!
The fool is always seeking greener pastures near and far. His mind is an open sieve, receiving much froth from vain ideas and retaining nothing of value. Solomon warned of the vanity and vexation of a wandering desire (Eccl 6:9). But the fool would rather study U.N. politics, Ben Spock child training hallucinations, practice yoga, or watch lifestyles of the rich and famous on television than apply God’s word to the salvation of his family.
The fool’s mantra is, “I live life with an open mind.” His mind is so open that anything can fly in and nothing of value will stay. The world sends a steady stream of advertising, fads, public opinion, peer pressure, questions, and other forms of manipulation to bend his mind to the will of Satan, who grins with wicked glee at his foolish mantra that gives the father of lies entrance to his soul. Seal your mind with God’s word (Ps 119:128)!
There are important goals for life, and there are foolish wastes of life. Knowledge is better than ignorance, wisdom than folly, righteousness than wickedness, heaven than hell, and God than man. While Martha was worried about distracting details, Mary knew the one thing needful for her life was hearing instruction from the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 10:38-42). Reader, how would the Saviour classify you? Like Martha? Or Mary?
In order to save you from yourself and your wandering desire, the Lord of heaven has called, prepared, and sent men to be pastors and teachers (Ps 68:18; Eccl 12:8-14; Jer 3:15; Mal 2:7; Eph 4:8-12; II Tim 3:16-17). What is their job? Not social work! Not administration! Not weddings and funerals! Not monasteries! Not stuffy theological work! Their job is to keep your eyes in your head and your heart in the truth: they will perfect you from being tossed to and fro like the fool (Eph 4:13-14; Col 1:28-29).
Have you searched for one of these men? Can you submit to his instruction about the true priorities of life? If you can, you will be full of understanding, and wisdom is directly before you. He will reject foolish and unlearned questions, for he wants you settled in the faith once delivered to the saints. He will work with the Spirit of God to conform your every imagination and thought to the inspired and infallible words of God (II Cor 10:4-6).
But can you stay focused for the one or two hours a week of his instruction? Most cannot. Jesus Christ described them as wayside hearers. The preaching finds no lodging place in their unprepared minds and hearts, and the devil quickly takes it away. They leave every church assembly more ignorant than before. Literally! Read it (Luke 8:12,18)!
Because fools dislike insistence on correction, instruction, reproofs, and warnings, they look for flattering teachers. They want teachers to entertain them with fables and help them explore the cesspools of human imagination and education (Is 30:8-11; I Tim 6:3-5,20-21; II Tim 4:3-4). Oh, how they love such junk! Teach me more, they cry! But God has promised to send them strong delusion to believe a lie (II Thess 2:9-12; II Tim 3:6-7).
Reader, you have a choice. It is a serious choice. You are reading one of many offers of wisdom in the Bible. God has again approached you with His word to make you wise. It is right in front of you, if you have an understanding heart. It is disgusting, if your eyes prefer the ends of the earth. Eliminate any distractions and seek wisdom (Pr 4:7; 18:1).