I was sitting in a restaurant having lunch in mixed company when someone asked, “What is your candid opinion of our current president.” I paused for a moment and then replied, “He is smart and very persuasive, but he is also a fool”. Reaction was swift. “Don‘t you think that is rather harsh? How disrespectful. You must be tea party or a right wing conservative republican.” Honestly, my response to the question was not politically motivated. Observant scrutiny over an extended period of time has shaped my view. The President and for that matter many of the political and social elite of our day behave foolishly. I did try to clarify my position. But when things went from bad to worse, I politely changed the subject.
Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. – Plato
Let me explain. I read the Bible. In its pages I have discovered many things. I encountered the real Jesus by reading the scriptures (not the one so often presented by structured religion). He is a remarkable teacher. Through Him, I found the path to a genuine life – now and forever. Over many years of study, I also came to understand the true meaning of the word fool.
In the Old Testament Book of Jeremiah, the prophet laments over the condition of his people and the great nation that he loved. Through tears he said,
19”My heart, my heart I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries. 20 Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed. 21 How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war? (Jeremiah 4:19-21 TLB)
Jeremiah recognized the negative spiritual and social changes of his day and the destructive consequences those changes were bringing down upon the land. And so he asks of God,
21”How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?”
The Lord gives no direct answer to his question. Instead God states the cause of Judah’s calamity,
22 “My people are foolish and do not know me,” says the Lord. “They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!” (Jeremiah 4:22 – TLB)
The people of Jeremiah‘s times had effectively become deniers of the one true God. They had sown wind and now they were reaping the whirlwind. But here‘s the troubling part, this rejection of God and His ways is happening in our time too – right now – all over the world. If you don‘t believe me, just look with discernment at modern politics, entertainment and popular culture. They are swarming with fools who do not know God. And even those who profess to “believe in God” often act like “stupid children who have no understanding. …no idea how to do right!”
31”It is a fearful (formidable and terrible) thing to incur the divine penalties and be cast into the hands of the living God!” – Hebrews 10:31
Decades of ignoring God has accelerated our societal downward spiral. As human acts of wickedness, deception and defiance accumulate, the truth is hidden or distorted. Even so, whenever sincere men and women open their eyes and look around, they can find God. There is this God imprint on every human soul and each atom of creation reflects His reality. Hence, no human being has a legitimate excuse for denying God. The New Testament Apostolic writer Paul expressed it this way,
18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, evil men who push the truth away from themselves. 19 For the truth about God is known to them instinctively; God has put this knowledge in their hearts. 20 Since earliest times men have seen the earth and sky and all God made, and have known of his existence and great eternal power. So they will have no excuse when they stand before God at Judgment Day. 21 Yes, they knew about him all right, but they wouldn‘t admit it or worship him or even thank him for all his daily care. And after a while they began to think up silly ideas of what God was like and what he wanted them to do. The result was that their foolish minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming themselves to be wise without God, they became utter fools instead. (Romans 1:18-22 – TLB)
Foolish minds filled with darkness? Men and women who think up silly ideas of what God is like and what he wants them to do? Yes, that is what Paul said. “Claiming to be wise without God, they became utter fools instead.” No wonder the Psalmist declared,
53 “Only a fool would say to himself, “There is no God.” And why does he say it? Because of his wicked heart, his dark and evil deeds. His life is corroded with sin.” (Psalm 53:1 – TLB)
You‘ll find these fools among politicians, universities professors, Hollywood superstars, even friends and family. Because of a conscience corroded by sin, they cannot separate right from wrong. Some may feign Spirituality, and even speak of God with platitudes, but their foolish hearts are far from Him. Consequently, by their actions they proclaim “I do not know God”. Thus, they are fools. I was once that kind of fool. But God, in His amazing Grace, opened my foolish eyes and let me see the wretched man that I am without Him. And even though I still may act foolishly on occasion, I am not a fool. I know God. I know the liberator Jesus Christ. I know that His absolute truth trumps all of the wisdom of mankind. Of course, it‘s your right to disagree with me. Call me crazy if it will make you feel any better. Laugh in my face. But, I will not argue the point any further with you. Why? For the same reason I politely changed the subject in the restaurant that day:
4”Don‘t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you‘ll only look foolish yourself.” (Proverbs 26:4 – MSG)
I rest my case.
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie ®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656