Wisdom and Folly Contrasted Again
The Wise Man
1. He has understanding.
a. “Him that hath understanding…”—the first description of the wise man in this context.
b. He HAS it… he possesses it… it belongs to him.
c. How did this man obtain his wisdom and understanding? He listened… he paid attention…(Prov. 1:5)
• O, if only we would listen better!
• I know it’s hard to pay attention during a long class… or a long sermon… it’s easy to tune the teacher out.
• But what increase would be ours if we would try.
• Try this sometime: listen to a sermon or Sunday school class in person… and then play a tape of it later and see if you hear something new!
• A wise husband will hear his wife—really listen! A Wise wife will do the same… and wise children will pay attention when their parents speak…
• Prov. 9:9 – he takes instruction and increases in wisdom.
• When Solomon speaks of the wisdom of man who has understanding, he doesn’t mean that the wise man was BORN with this wisdom. He got it the old fashioned way!
2. He speaks Wisdom.
a. He IS wise, and since he has wisdom in his heart, it comes out of his mouth.
b. Wise lips are the fruit of an understanding heart.
c. Matt. 12:34-35 – What’s in his heart will eventually come out. Hypocrites are good at covering it up for a while…
d. Prov. 17:28 – that’s why a fool can appear to be wise if he keeps his mouth shut… but as soon as he opens it, he exposes himself to be a fool.
e. But when a wise man speaks, wisdom comes out!
• If wisdom is found in the lips of wise men, then seek out wise men! Listen when they speak!
• If you want wisdom, go to a wise man for counsel!
3. He lays up knowledge.
a. Lays up = to hide, treasure, treasure or store up
b. The wise person VALUES knowledge. He stores it up like a greedy man would store up treasure. This IS his treasure!
c. The truly wise man realizes his limitations.
• He realizes how much he doesn’t know… and seeks to gain ground.
• The fool thinks he knows it all already!
d. This is a good proof text to promote continuing education.
• When your child asks, “Why do I have to go to school?” Why should I go to college?
» The Biblical answer is found here! Wise men lay up knowledge.
» Not just so you can make more money!
» But it is not just GOING to school. One could go to school and not treasure knowledge… not give much attention to laying it up!
e. The same thing is true of spiritual knowledge.
• It is good to lay up spiritual knowledge.
• It is also possible to come to church faithfully, and not TREASURE spiritual knowledge… not store it up… to allow it to go in one ear and out the other. That happens all too often.
f. It is God’s will that we all lay up knowledge.
• We are COMMANDED to grow in the knowledge of Christ. (II Pet. 3:18)
• Paul prayed that believers would increase in the knowledge of God… (Col. 1:10)
• What we learn from God’s Word should not simply be laid up in the sense of being stored away in a dusty old attic. It implies treasuring it away… keeping it… valuing it… making sure it is not lost!
g. Ecc. 12:9-10 – Solomon says of himself, “BECAUSE the preacher was wise, he SOUGHT OUT and set in order many proverbs.
• Because he had wisdom, he sought for more…
• He sought to lay up many proverbs for future use… his and ours. Aren’t you glad he did?!
• The wise man lays up wisdom so he will have it when he needs it!
• He also lays it up and sometimes records it in print so that others can benefit from his wisdom too!
• Parents: read books on childrearing… you never know when some of that material might come in handy!
• Church members: read books on church history—
• Musicians: keep on studying your instrument…
• Students: keep on learning your algebra—even though you may see no need for it today.
• Christian: keep on reading the WHOLE counsel of God—even those portions you feel are not so relevant to your life today… it may be tomorrow!
1. He is void of understanding. (vs. 13c)
a. What the wise man has, the fool lacks: understanding.
b. The fool can’t cry, “Unfair.” How did the wise man obtain his wisdom? A wise man will hear. A fool refuses to hear… to learn… to pay attention.
2. A rod is for his back. (vs. 13)
a. God says this is what the fool deserves: corporal punishment.
• Our culture and society balks at such a thought.
• Remember the bad press given to Korea for “caning” the American caught selling drugs?!
b. Prov. 26:3 – Just as you would use an instrument to force a stubborn animal into submission, a fool needs a rod… you’ve got to whip a donkey to get him to move in the right direction!
c. Ps. 32:9 – don’t be like a mule! Like the fool, the mule has no understanding either!
d. Prov. 22:15 – The rod needs to be applied to children to drive out their folly before it becomes too deeply ingrained.
• Young people: thank God for parents who discipline you… you may not like it now, but it will drive folly from you… and benefit you the rest of your life!
• But the one who does not have his folly driven from him will suffer the rest of his life… one way or another.
e. Matthew Henry: “He exposes himself to the lashes of his own conscience, to the scourges of the tongue, to the censures of the magistrate, and to the righteous judgments of God.”
3. His mouth is his destruction.
a. Prov. 13:3 – He opens his mouth wide and suffers for it!
b. Prov. 18:7 – Solomon repeats this theme! A fool’s mouth is his destruction… his undoing!
c. His mouth may well be the undoing and destruction of others too.
• Foolish persons have ruined families with their mouths… spreading slander and lies.
• Foolish persons have ruined churches… brought destruction upon the work of God because of their vicious gossip…