April (and other kinds of) Fools

by William J. Stewart

Prior to the reign of King Charles IX in France, New Year’s celebrations began on March 25 and concluded on April 1. In 1582, he decreed that with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, New Year’s be moved to January 1. Those who refused to accept the change or forgot were ridiculed with foolish gifts and invitations to non-existent parties, and called “poisson d’avril” (literally translated “April fish”). With the acceptance of the Gregorian calendar, the custom spread throughout Europe and into the Americas. Thus the origin of April Fool’s Day.

There is no wrong or shame in ending up an “April fool.” Perhaps it is evidence of naivety or gullibility, but by no means sinful. The bearer of the joke however must be careful not to sin in carrying out their shenanigans (ie. lying). By no means are all pranks immoral, but let the prankster use common sense and wise judgment. May we never give occasion to defame the Lord or cause one to stumble by our frivolous antics.

Leaving April fools aside, the Scriptures have much to say about fools. Let us simply consider what God’s word says of fools:

A Fool Lacks Wisdom & Understanding

  • “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good” (Ps 14:1; also see Ps 53:1)
  • “A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this” (Ps 92:6)
  • “To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom” (Pr 10:23)
  • “Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly” (Pr 13:16)
  • “Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it?” (Pr 17:16)
  • “Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the  eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth” (Pr 17:24)
  • “A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart” (Pr 18:2)
  • “Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; he does not open his mouth in the gate” (Pr 24:7)
  • “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes” (Pr 26:5)
  • “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Pr 28:26)
  • “A man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left. Even when a fool walks along the way, he lacks wisdom, and he shows everyone that he is a fool” (Ecc 10:2-3).

A Fool Is Self-Destructive

  • “Immediately he went after her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks” (Pr 7:22)
  • “The wise in heart will receive commands, but a prating fool will fall. He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known. He who winks with the eye causes trouble, but a prating fool will fall” (Pr 10:8-10)
  • “He who troubles is own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart” (Pr 11:29)
  • “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Pr 12:15)
  • “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident” (Pr 14:16)
  • “A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Pr 18:7)
  • “The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages. As a dog returns to his own vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Pr 26:10-11)
  • “Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him” (Pr 27:22)
  • “The fool folds his hands and consumes his own flesh” (Ecc 4:5)
  • “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up” (Ecc 10:12)

A Fool Does Not Control His Tongue

  • “Whoever hides hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool” (Pr 10:18)
  • “A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame” (Pr 12:16)
  • “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, but the heart of the fool does not do so” (Pr 15:7)
  • “Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, much less lying lips to a prince” (Pr 17:7)
  • “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Pr 17:28)
  • “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows. A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul” (Pr 18:6-7)
  • “It is honorable for a man to stope striving, since any fool can start a quarrel” (Pr 20:3)
  • “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back” (Pr 29:11)
  • “For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words” (Ecc 5:3)
  • “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious, but the lips of a fool shall swallow him up; the words of his mouth begin with foolishness, and the end of his talk is raving madness. A fool also multiples words. No man knows what is to be; who can tell him what will be after him? (Ecc 10:12-14)

A Fool Refuses Correction

  • “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent” (Pr 15:5)
  • “Rebuke is more effective for a wise man, than a hundred blows on a fool” (Pr 17:10)
  • “Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words” (Pr 23:9)

A Fool Brings Peril Upon Others

  • “Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather
  • than a fool in his folly” (Pr 17:12)
  • “He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy” (Pr 17:21)
  • “Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in how own eyes. He who sends a message by the hand of a fool cuts off his own feet and drinks violence” (Pr 26:4-6)
  • “If a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether the fool rages or laughs, there is no peace” (Pr 29:9)

A Fool Is Repugnant Among Men

  • “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool” (Pr 19:1)
  • “Luxury is not fitting for a fool, much less a servant to rule over princes” (Pr 19:10)
  • “As snow in summer and rain in harvest, so honor is not fitting for a fool. Like a flitting sparrow, like a flying swallow, so a curse without cause shall not alight. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the fool’s back” (Pr 26:1-3)
  • “Like who binds a stone in a sling is he who gives honor to a fool” (Pr 26:8)
  • “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Pr 26:12)
  • “A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them” (Pr 27:3)
  • “Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Pr 29:20)

Such a sorry picture the Scriptures paint of the fool. He is a loathsome wisdom-famished, tongue-wagging wretch, void of correction, detrimental to both himself and others. Let us abhor the very nature of the fool, and guard ourselves from his way and word. May we find favour in God’s sight, wise in both action and speech, loving the correction of the Lord; which is able to effect salvation for our soul.

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