Chaos Vs. Order
Foolishness brings joy to one without sense, but a person with understanding walks a straight path.
Living life senselessly leads to chaos and destruction, but pursuing a life of wisdom leads to order and life.
I was in the 8th grade when I figured out for the first time in my life what this Proverb means. I didn’t even know that they Bible said this, but that is what is so great about the Proverbs, they make sense even if you have never read them. In this particular scenario, I was riding my 4-wheeler with a group of my friends, as I did nearly every Saturday morning for years. We would go out, find some mud, and then drive through it like Evel Knievel. The mud we found that morning happened to be on my high school’s football field. Looking back I still shake my head at the fact that not once did the thought cross my mind that mud-riding on the football field may be a bad idea. We were having so much fun that we never even noticed the Sheriff’s Deputies that had come to stop us from vandalizing public property until it was too late.
I experienced exactly what the writer of Proverbs meant when he said, “Foolishness brings joy to one without sense…” I had so much fun destroying property that was not mine and ruining the efforts of the coaches that had labored to care for the field. The foolish person says, “Yea, but who cares?! You had fun right?” The fool doesn’t care about the consequences or the effects of a decision or action. All that matters is how something feels in the moment. You can give a foolish person advice, but because he or she lacks sense, your words of wisdom will fall on deaf ears. That is, until the consequences become so great that they see the folly to foolishness.
The person with understanding, on the other hand, walk a straight path. The person who is wise lives a completely different life than the fool. Wisdom helps us to stay on a path of security and stability. The wise person is able to see what the consequences of a decision will be ahead of time. He or she sees the long term effects of the way they live and is able to make decisions accordingly. This is the way that we ought to live if we desire to live how God intended for life to be.
The problem, of course, is that none of us have been able to perfectly live on the “straight path.” The Psalmist tells us that “no one is righteous” (Ps. 114). This means that all of us have lived foolishly at some point or another. What is even worse is that the Bible teaches us that even when we are born again we still make foolish and sinful decisions. This is why we need Jesus. Jesus Christ is the only person that ever lived his whole life walking on the straight path that this Proverb speaks of. Jesus alone was able to be “tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15). Even though you and I have lived foolishly, Jesus has given us His life of wisdom and taken our life of foolishness. Our job is found in Hebrews 12:1-2,
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
When we throw off the weight and entanglements of sin and run toward Jesus, we live wisely. May this be true of us today and every day!
Questions To Ponder
What character traits are being contrasted in this verse?
Folly is defined as a “lack of good sense.” This seems to be redundant in the passage, but consider how someone who doesn’t understand might find joy in their ignorance.
Is ignorance really bliss? The verse shows that ignorance can be misleading and one who has “understanding” is steadfast in purpose. Pray for God to give you wisdom and steadfast purpose.
Scripture Memory | January | Proverbs 17:9
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”