How to Be and Stay a Fool (Part 2)
6. Read the Bible, but don’t study it. (5) What would you think of a gold miner who, upon finding a couple flecks of gold in a stream, declared his journey to be profitable and himself to be content? You’d think him crazy! Where there are a few flecks of gold to be had easily there’s bound to be storehouses of gold underground. Only a sluggard or a fool would be content with a few nuggets when he might have pounds of gold should he dig.
The Bible is an absolute gold mine. And like any other gold mine it’s treasures are not to be had by the lazy. It is certainly true that there is wisdom to be had by reading the Bible. But there are stores of wisdom buried, only to be uncovered by those who work for it. The author of Hebrews chastises his audience for being content with milk and not meat in Hebrews 5:11-14 saying, “You should be teachers! But you don’t know the Word because you haven’t studied!” Oh, let that not be us.
It’s easy to look at men like Piper, MacArthur, and our local pastors and think they are something special. But all the men we respect for their biblical knowledge are just that–men. What they have done is diligently applied themselves to the Word. There is nothing stopping you from becoming like your spiritual heroes if you would work for it.
7. Supplement your knowledge of the Bible with other philosophies and ideas. Scripture’s great and all, but it just doesn’t cover everything you’ll ever face. (6) Across the entire Bible, the Lord alone is pictured as the source of wisdom. Everything apart from His Word is foolishness. If true wisdom is found outside the pages of Scripture, it is because that person or book or anything else has been colored by the wisdom found in the Word. Wise people are those saturated by the Word.
8. Let knowledge flock to your head, but not migrate to your heart. (9-10) Solomon uses the word “for” in v10. This means “because.” Why can you discern truth? Because wisdom has sunk into your heart! It is a terrifying reality that it is possible to spend your life in the church hearing sermons, spending time with godly people, and even teaching the truth and yet still be unconverted. According to Jesus this is not an infrequent occurrence. “Many,” he says in Matthew 7: 13-23, “will say to me in that day ‘Lord, Lord’ did we not perform miracles and cast out demons in your name? And I will reply ‘I never knew you. Depart from me you doers of lawlessness.”
This isn’t a fake picture. How many people in our churches and our Christian colleges and youth groups will die entirely convinced they will hear “well done, good and faithful servant” only to be shocked by the words “Depart. I never knew you.” Hell is full of people who professed Christ to be their Lord. Do not trust the heights of the sacrifices you make for the Lord or the depths to which you have sunk in sin, but rather look at the overall course of your life–do you obey?
9. Don’t be too choosy about who you make friends with. After all, everyone’s good deep down. (12-15) This simply is not true. Everyone is crooked deep down unless an intentional change has taken place in their hearts. Solomon specifically warns us to flee from four kinds of people: those who have left the faith, those who find entertainment in sin, those who hinder the truth, and those who live differently than they talk.
10. Romance the unregenerate. (16-19) Almost every single one of you will face this at some point in your life, whether it be at school now, in college, or in the workplace. I ran into it for the first time at age seventeen while working at Taco Bell. Understanding the bent of an unregenerate person’s heart and their eternal destiny (should God not perform a work) is key to deflecting temptation. No one would marry a corpse. Why would you get involved with a spiritual corpse? The person you’re dating will have a substantial impact on you, and the person you marry even more so. Though they cannot make a genuine believer lose their salvation, they certainly can dull your drive to follow your Savior. Don’t think you’re immune.
Charles Bridges wrote, “Never has apostasy from the faith been connected with a prayerful and diligent study of the Word of God.” The Word of God is the perfect transmission of the Mind of God. Everything God wants us to know about Him and how we ought to live is between the cover of this book. If you want to know God, you will study like a desperate man who understands his unspeakable need, yet has been saved by incomprehensible grace.
This is the second post in a series on the book of Proverbs based on a message series entitled “Gracious Wreaths of Godly Wisdom.” Here are the links to previous posts:
How to Be a Fool (Part 1) – Proverbs 2:3-19