Proverbs 17:24

The Eyes of a Fool

24a Wisdom is before him that hath understanding

1. The man of understanding has wisdom before him.

a. This book of wisdom begins with several chapters speaking of Lady Wisdom calling out to all who would hear her voice. (Prov. 1:20-23)

b. This man listens… his eyes and ears turn to her.

c. He focuses on wisdom; He concentrates on wisdom

d. Wherever he looks, and at whatever he sees, he sees it through the eyes of wisdom.

e. Wisdom is ever before him… like frontlets before his eyes.

f. Therefore, wisdom is always AVAILABLE to him.

g. It is available because he KNOWS God… and KNOWS God’s Word. He hides God’s word in his heart.

h. Therefore, wisdom is right before his eyes everywhere he looks.

2. Wisdom is a matter of the heart, not the head.

a. Prov. 2:10 – First wisdom enters the heart… not just the head.

b. Prov. 14:33 – Then wisdom RESTS in the heart… (rest = to settle; pause; repose; to settle down; be at rest.)

c. In the heart of a man of understanding, wisdom enters and then settles down…

d. For this man, wisdom is before his eyes because it is residing and resting in his heart.

e. A man of understanding is wise because his heart LISTENS to Lady Wisdom calling. He listens and responds.

f. Fools don’t listen… but he does.

g. This is not a matter of intelligence, but a matter of the heart.

h. A man’s eyes look at (focus upon) that which his heart WANTS to look at… focus on…

i. His heart is in tune with God; therefore, he listens to Lady Wisdom.

j. He is open for God’s guidance and instruction. He is willing to let God’s Word control his choices.

k. Thus, he FOCUSES on wisdom. It is constantly before his eyes… because it is residing in his heart. It affects everything he does.

3. He sees wisdom and applies wisdom by making wise choices.

a. Of course he is AWARE that other options are available… many of which are foolish.

b. However, a man of understanding THINKS about the consequences of those options… of making foolish decisions.

c. Hence, a man of understanding keeps WISDOM before his eyes at all times.

d. That wisdom filters out foolish decisions… and predisposes him into making wise choices.

e. Whatever set of circumstances comes his way he views it all through the lens of wisdom.

f. Wisdom is constantly before his eyes.

4. The man with SPIRITUAL understanding is focused on one thing: Christ… in whom dwells all wisdom!

a. Col. 2:3 – all wisdom is in Him.

b. Col. 1:18 – He is to have all preeminence.

c. Heb. 12:2 – Looking unto Jesus…

d. II Chron. 20:12 – “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”
• A man of understanding doesn’t always have all the answers.
• But his eyes know where to look for guidance!

e. The man with spiritual understanding keeps his eyes on things above. His affections are on things above.

f. This man is focused… in mind and heart… not double minded… not looking in all directions…

g. His eye is single and his whole body will be full of light.

h. This man will have wisdom from God before his eyes at all times…

i. He will be ready to apply spiritual wisdom to every set of circumstances that may arise.

j. It is not the eye gate that guides us, but the heart. That’s why it’s so important that our hearts be under the control of the Holy Spirit.

24b But the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.

1. In contrast to the man of understanding stands the fool.

a. He is anything BUT focused!

b. His eyes are wandering all over the place!

c. His eyes wander from one thing to the next… and he never sees wisdom.

d. He doesn’t pay attention to anything long enough to see wisdom.

e. His eyes are in the ends of the earth because his heart is not fixed… not stable… not steadfast… but wandering.

2. Lady Wisdom is calling out to him too, but he is unwilling to pay attention, focus, listen, or to change. (Prov. 1:20-23)

a. Her message is TURN at my reproof! (vs.23)

b. Very often Lady Wisdom says, “Change! You’re going in the wrong direction! Stop and think! Repent!” And the fool doesn’t want to hear that.

c. Once it is understood that the words of Lady Wisdom might require an inward change… submission… repentance… obedience… he stops listening… he stops looking in that direction…

d. His eyes are elsewhere… ANYWHERE else… in the ends of the earth!

e. Once the message of wisdom starts digging deep into the heart… and calling for repentance… he becomes uncomfortable and doesn’t want anyone probing in his heart.

f. Darkness hates the light… and runs away from the light. When a person chooses to live in darkness, his eyes become acclimated to darkness, and light hurts his eyes. His decision to walk in darkness predisposes him to turn away from the light.

g. Prov. 14:6 – “A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth.”
• The fool who scorns words of wisdom… will SEEK wisdom when he needs it… and his eyes will look unto the ends of the earth… but will not find it.
• Prov. 1:24, 25, 28 – Lady Wisdom STOPS calling after a while…
• You can only ignore the voice of Lady Wisdom for so long…
• As time goes on, and there is no response to her voice, it begins to fade away… the voice of wisdom becomes faint and distant…
• Then the fool doesn’t even know WHAT direction to look in…
• He becomes less and less sensitive to wisdom… deaf and blind… and increasingly foolish.

3. Have you ever known a person that continually flits about from one thing to the next?

a. They take up the piano for a few months and quit; then it’s scuba diving and quit; then it’s golf; then it’s art lessons for a few months.

b. In their career, they go from the medical field, to a plumber, then they are interested in law, then it’s broadcasting, then on to some other career.

c. This fool is unsettled, unfocused, distracted, without direction, aimless, undisciplined in mind and heart… he looses interest easily… he ends up wandering from one thing to the next.

d. He can’t fix his mind on anything, and therefore he is unable to pursue anything with any diligence, purpose, or steadfastness.

e. He would rather mindlessly watch the clouds and dream…

f. He never makes any headway.

4. Men do this in the spiritual realm too.

a. They flit from one doctrine to the next…

b. They go from one church to another…

c. They dabble in this theory for a while… then in another…

d. Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth… because deep down inside they don’t really WANT the truth. It’s a matter of the heart.

e. They would rather debate foolish and unlearned questions that do gender strife…

f. Like the Greeks in Acts 17, they always want to hear some new thing… and never become resolved on anything.

g. They heap to themselves teachers… because they have itching ears… always wanting to hear something new and different.

h. Many years go by—and they are still not sure about what they believe… eternal security… whether they are dispensational or Covenant… whether the Bible has errors in history or not… whether tongues are for today or not…

i. Flitting is much easier and more fun than settling down and digging in roots… and becoming fruitful.

5. Phil. 3:13 – What a contrast to a man of wisdom—like Paul. This ONE THING I do… with his eyes focused on Christ alone… he pressed toward the mark.

a. He was determined NOT to be distracted.

b. Paul’s eyes were not wandering all over creation. He was focused on Christ.