by David Sisler
No one can make a fool out of a person if he isn’t the right kind of material for the job.
A fool and his money are soon parted. Then again, a fool and his money were lucky to get together in the first place.
Two men were arguing about the doctrine of the Trinity. Each was convinced of the rightness of his position. Each was mean-spirited to his opponent. Neither was charitable to the other. Neither reflected the image of the God they claimed to be defending.
Reaching for his final argument, the pro-trinitarian declared, “If there is no Trinity, who was God speaking to in the Garden of Eden when He said, ‘Let us make man in our image?’” With that, he spun on his heels and stomped off, convinced he had silenced the opposition.
The anti-trinitarian shook his head in disbelief. “The fool!” the man muttered. “He warn’t talking to nobody. Warn’t nobody there!”
The man held an opinion which is rejected by almost all Bible scholars, but because his adversary’s opinion differed from his own, he dismissed him as a fool.
Here is another man’s definition of a fool. It is from the Old Testament, Psalm 53, verse one: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” The Living Bible paraphrases it, “Only a fool would say to himself, ‘There is no God.’”
The Old Testament uses two basic words for God. The names are very different in their meaning, but together they reveal God’s nature. One name identifies God as the all-powerful creator, ruler and defender of the universe. The other name is more personal, more intimate. It describes a God who becomes involved in our daily lives.
It is that second word, “Jehovah,” which David used in his definition of a fool. “If God does exist,” the fool said, “he does not involve himself in the affairs of men. He does not care what happens to those beings he has created. If there is a God, he is totally disinterested in the fate of man.”
The Old Testament uses seven different words for “fool.” The words are not used to describe an individual’s education or mental capacity. They are assessments of moral character. They begin with conduct we might describe as silly and progress to the arrogant sneerer. In between are the stupid, the idiot, the complete fool and the irreverent.
It is the irreverent fool whom David describes. The word he uses pictures a beautiful flower which is fading and dying. The beauty of the plant has withered and turned brown. It is wasted, dried up, and decayed.
David says, “This withering takes place inside of the fool’s heart.” Because he has refused God, who is personally interested in him, the fool has become shriveled in his inner most being. He is hollow and barren because on the inside of his life, where he really lives, he is alone. The fool says, “I can get along quite well by myself,” and the result is a withered, empty life.
This fifty-third Psalm, like all of the psalms, was really a song. We no longer know the notes, or the tune, but we know these words were set to music. Many of the psalms are prefaced by instructions for performing the songs. Psalm 53 is a “mahalath.” It means “set to a sad melody.”
What a description of a fool! He is a man who denies the existence of a personal God, a God who cares what happens in his life. Because he has no one to live inside of him, the fool has become withered and empty. His song is set to a sad tune. It is not a celebration. It is a mournful lament.
Only a fool would say to himself, “There is no God.” Only a fool would try to make it on his own merits when the way has already been provided through God’s only Son.
Copyright 2003 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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