“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? Proverbs 1:21–22 (ESV)
“If you keep going down this path, you two will end up divorced, your kids will be taken from you by the authorities, and you will end up in jail.” I remember the words coming out of my mouth and the shock upon the face of the couple as they sat in my study seeking counsel for their marriage. We had met over and over again. Sometimes the calls came in the middle of the night, sometimes they were desperate. Sometimes the conversations included drunken slurring of words and being hung-up on while speaking on the phone. Now they were desperate. Again they asked for help.
My sobering words to them were not my first words. They were what I feared would be my last words before disaster struck. Interventions with elders, other believers, social workers, and family had all gone unheeded. Temporary remorse was quickly undone by indulgence in sin. Drunkenness, drugs, adultery, anger and violent outbursts were all the fruit of their foolish lifestyle.
As Solomon appealed to his son to hear his words, he noted that wisdom is not hidden. She shouts in the streets to all who will listen, but the fool plugs his ears because he loves being simple. In v. 21, Wisdom asks the question, “How long?” Will this keep going?
I have heard those who have lived through difficult times refer to their education in the “school of hard knocks” as the only way they could learn the lessons they needed to learn. That is sad, because it isn’t the only way. Scripture is open, it continues to speak and hold forth light for those who are willing to accept it. What I think these people really mean is that they were so foolish and proud that they were unwilling to listen. Unable and unwilling are two very different things.
I can look back at my own life and many times see my own foolishness. O how I wish I had listened to the wise voices that pleaded with me. But I was unwilling. But Wisdom continued to speak truth, and finally the Lord’s words penetrated my foolish heart and I began to not only hear, but heed his Word.
Are you praying for a hard-headed fool? Don’t stop speaking truth. They may continue to delight in their foolishness for a time. Perhaps God in his grace and mercy will stop them dead in their tracks and open their eyes to see the truth, and will change them. He did it for me. And that couple? He did it for them as well. They finally heard the warnings and began to make the changes they needed to make, and God in his infinite love spared their marriage and their family, and began making something beautiful out of the ashes. He can do the same with the foolish person in your life as well.