Probably most of us have heard these words, either directed at us or someone we know. Hopefully, most of the pranks and deceptions we have experienced are of the kind that we are able to look back upon and laugh. How could we have been so easily taken in? Why didn’t we realize it was all a hoax?
Unsurprisingly, the Bible has something to say about fools and folly. Perhaps one of the most challenging comments was written by David, king of Israel, ‘The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God’.[i] The Bible states that to cut God out of our thinking and out of our lives is folly. The rest of the Psalms, in which this verse is found, go on to teach how that such thinking is the first step on a downward slide into corruption, bad deeds, and immorality. As dispensing with God leaves us in an ethical and moral vacuum – without absolutes – we can quickly fail, as the compass of life is lost. One of the wisest men in the Bible wrote, ‘The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise’.[ii] Put another way, living without absolutes and doing what we want, as opposed to what God wants, isn’t a recipe for happiness!
Living without God leads to sin – whether, like David, we call it corruption, abomination, or iniquity. Sin eats away at the fabric of our own lives and destroys the fabric of society around us. We have seen this exhibited so often, in recent lockdowns, as individuals have put themselves, their friends, and health service workers at risk just to do as they please, although in contravention of the Covid-19 rules. The issue of a fine might resolve the legal issue but the Bible warns against complacency in respect to sin as a whole, ‘The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages’.[iii] This ought to be the concern of all of us – where will our sin take us?
Fortunately, the Bible teaches that we need not go on in a life of sin, living as if God does not exist. We can turn things around. It is called ‘repentance’ – accepting God’s verdict upon us, turning our back upon our old life, and asking for His forgiveness. Indeed, the Bible assures us that God ‘is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance’.[iv] In His mercy and grace, God has provided the answer – the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible calls Him a ‘Prince and Saviour’, One able ‘to give repentance . . . and forgiveness of sins’.[v]
When it comes to the end of our lives, nobody wants to be taken as a fool!