The Heart of the Wise and the Fool
• A man of understanding vs. the fool
• Wisdom vs. that which is a fool (usually – folly)
• Resting vs. making it known
1. Him that hath understanding…
a. Understanding: to discern; understand; consider; to perceive; to have insight.
b. This term does not emphasize a man’s great intellect, but rather his discernment… his ability to distinguish… discern… a man with insight…
c. This capacity is quite different than the capacity to merely store large amounts of data in one’s head.
d. This capacity is in fact even MORE valuable… because this man understands HOW to USE that data in a wise manner… how to put all the facts together and the discernment to know what to make of it all.
2. Wisdom RESTS in his heart…
a. Rests: preserved in quietness for use; to rest, settle down; to be in repose; be quiet; settle; remain, i.e., leave in a place for any period of time, (Gen. 8:4 – the ark rested on Mt. Ararat).
b. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament: REST not only absence of movement but being settled in a particular place (whether concrete or abstract) with overtones of finality.
c. Wisdom has settled down and remains there; it’s at home there; resting comfortably… with no thought of leaving…
d. Wisdom is seated comfortably in the heart of a discerning man… it is at home… resting…
• It is preserved in quietness there for use when needed.
• It is not loud and showy and put on display for all to see. It is preserved in quietness for use when needed.
• This implies that the truly discerning man POSSESSES much more wisdom than he makes known.
• Note that his wisdom is not just swimming about in his head… (as Matthew Henry put it!) but is resting in his heart.
• There are a lot of smart people with many isolated pieces of valuable information swimming about in their heads… but that does NOT mean they also possess the wisdom to know HOW to use it properly… or the tactfulness to make it helpful to others.
e. A truly wise man is modest about his wisdom. He hides it, rather than shows it off.
• He might be quite quiet about his wisdom. He may not speak out often. He may be a man of few words. He waits for just the right time.
• But when he DOES speak: out comes a jewel of wisdom!
• That jewel was resting comfortably in his heart all along… but he felt no compulsion to blurt it out until the proper time.
f. He is a DISCERNING man. He not only has jewels of wisdom… but he also has the discernment to know WHEN to speak up… and when to be quiet!
g. Too often men have either one or the other quality.
• Some men have lots of helpful words of wisdom… but lack the tactfulness and discernment to know what to speak and when to be quiet.
• Others may be quite tactful and considerate and modest… but they don’t HAVE any jewels to share.
h. You reap what you sow is truly a jewel thought. That concept is repeated in many ways in Proverbs.
• But there is a time to share that truth and a time NOT to share that truth.
• When a brother comes you to for advice and he is considering going into partnership with an unbeliever… or marrying an unsaved girl… you may want to warn him with that jewel… you will reap an evil harvest if you do!
• But when a teenager went out and got drunk and totaled his car and you are visiting him in ICU… as they are about to amputate his leg… that’s NOT the time to share that jewel: you reap what you sow.
• A discerning man will keep that jewel in his heart at that point.
• Words of knowledge and wisdom can be quite hurtful if not handled with discernment.
• That’s why the two need to go together… (Jewels of wisdom AND the discernment to know HOW to use them)…
• Together they are powerful and helpful. Separately, they can be hurtful and dangerous.
• I see things that believers need to know… I see areas in the lives of others that could use some adjustments; (Language; attitudes; dress; music; etc.)
• But I also pray for the DISCERNMENT to know when, how, where, and under what circumstances to offer help or advice.
• There is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven.
3. Prov. 29:11 – A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
4. The point of contrast here is primarily between what a discerning man does with that which is in his heart… and what a fool does with that which is in his heart.
a. The man of understanding allows his wisdom to rest and remain in his heart.
b. The fool on the other hand makes known whatever is on his heart…
5. The fool lacks:
c. Self control…
e. A proper sense of timing…
6. He lacks modesty to hide wisdom in his heart…
a. Instead, if a thought comes to his mind, he blurts it out…
b. If he has a word of wisdom, he shows it off… he displays it for everyone to see and hear.
c. Thus, when he shows off his jewels of wisdom, it is not so much to help others, but to exalt himself.
7. He lacks the discernment to know HOW to use wisdom properly.
a. And yes, even a fool can have words of wisdom.
b. A fool could memorize the book of Proverbs… and have all that information floating about in his head.
c. The fool may have some good information about appropriate dress… but lacks the discernment to know HOW to use it properly…
d. So he walks up to a near total stranger and begins criticizing his appearance… and while what he said may be accurate… he has no concept of appropriate human relationships… and how to get along with people… and how to minister to people.
e. If a total stranger walked up to me and told me that my clothes didn’t match, I would think him to be rude. But my wife tells me things don’t match all the time… and I know that it is for my good. She’s earned the right to criticize me. A total stranger hasn’t.
f. The fool lacks the discernment to know how to put the good information he has to good use.
g. Would you sit at a sidewalk café and make comments about all the people passing by… to their face? (Hey lady, you’re skirt is too short! Hey buddy, those tattoos on your arm and the metal hanging off your tongue is not all that flattering. That man’s body might be found in an alley the next day. A wise man may see people walk by and draw the same conclusions… but he has the discernment to keep it in his heart.
h. Even in the local church, we need to use discernment in ministering one to another.
• You may have some gems of wisdom… but please, use tactfulness, grace, courtesy, kindness, and discretion in sharing it!
• It’s not always the best idea to walk up to a near total stranger in the local church and say, “Hey, your skirt’s too short” or “your kids are out of control” or “you shouldn’t use that version of the Bible”…
• You may have the best of intentions, but good words and good intentions are not enough.
• In addition, we need discretion and discernment.
• Build up a relationship with that person so that they know you, trust you, and respect your opinion. THEN share with them! It is much more likely to be well received that way.
• The fool blurts out whatever is in his heart without giving it much thought…
» Without thinking about the MANNER in which he says it… the spirit…
» Without thinking about the way it will be received…
» Without the people skills to know HOW to approach a person about such an issue.
» Without thinking about whether this is the time or the setting to bring it up.
» Without thinking about whether that believer is mature enough to handle what you are about to share…
» A man of understanding allows those words of wisdom to REST in his heart… and doesn’t bring them out until just the right time.
i. Prov. 12:23 – A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
• There is a time to conceal knowledge.
• WAIT until the right time.
j. Prov. 15:2 – The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
• The fool utters all his mind.
• He may have some good points to make… but he demonstrates his folly by blurting it all out… and the most inappropriate time or setting.
PRAY for God to open our eyes that we might see gems of knowledge and understanding in His Word.
PRAY for the wisdom to be able to use those words of knowledge in a way that edifies others and glorifies God.