Wise or Fool?

The Proverbs of Solomon have a wonderful way of bringing to our attention great truths in concise and humbling terms. It is also the case that the wisdom from Proverbs comes from single verses with multiple lessons. Take for instance, Proverbs 17:10. “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man Than a hundred blows on a fool.” Basically, a foolish man is intentionally slow in getting a point or refuses to see truth altogether, whereas a wise man picks things up quickly to his benefit. This adage also teaches us:

[1] That rebuke or correction is received effectively by those that are wise, not just tolerated or endured. In other words, if we are to be classified as “wise,” we must be willing to submit to chastisement and profit from it. “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” (Proverbs 13:1).

[2] One should, in order to train others, invest time in those who are receptive. Teaching a fool is a poor investment of time, but training the wise will be rewarding. Jesus told his disciples, “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet” (Matthew 10:14). Not only should we not waste our time teaching a fool, we need to be able to correctly identify one.

3] If a person is not willing to receive correction or rebuke, that person is a fool, not because we think so, but because the Bible says so! To disdain Divine discipline is to reject God, since wisdom that is from above is not of this world. Further “…if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Hebrews 12:8).

[4] Even “a hundred blows” may not be effective for the fool. This is a hard truth: Some people you just cannot reach! There are too many sincere seekers of God in this world for us to be wasting our time “playing policeman” with rebellious religionists. “Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11). We must invest time wisely as good stewards of God.

This rebuke is relevant today. We must ask ourselves the question, “How well do I take correction?” Into what category do we fit: Wise or Fool?