“For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” (Psalm 51:3-6)
Have you heard the idiom, “A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client”? It’s one of my favorites idioms about fools because it speaks to our ridiculousness as arrogant creatures. A similar one that I heard recently in a sermon is, “If you find a good church, don’t join it because you will ruin it.” Then there is this one: “There’s no fool like an old fool.” Surely, after having lived a certain number of years one would have at least a little wisdom, not so? But the one who doesn’t is even more foolish than a young person who can at least plead naivety. These old expressions aren’t heard much among millennials or any other younger folks. That’s too bad since there is a great deal of truth in them.
However, those old sayings barely scratch the surface of what it means to be foolish according to the Bible. If you would like to make a personal study of foolishness, I recommend Romans Chapter 1-3. God is relentless against sin and fools who think they are safe when they are not and refuse to acknowledge their sin and repent. “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Romans 2:4-5).
But, you say to yourself, I am in Christ and therefore safe! It is better to say to yourself, read Psalm 51, you fool! David understood the demands of a holy God who expects his people to be wise. He knew that as long as he had unconfessed sin, for which he had not repented, his relationship with God would suffer. As soon as David confessed, he sincerely repented. And as soon as he repented, he was forgiven. As a forgiven sinner, David knew that God took great pleasure when he hid the Lord’s truth in his heart. Then, and only then, could he honestly request more wisdom in the secret place from which his thoughts originated.
How is your heart today, foolish or contritely wise?