Folly Is Indeed Weakness
‘A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. Proverbs 24:5’
Strength here is the ability to know and do good and the ability to detect and oppose wrong, in all areas of life. Wisdom gives a man this strength. A wise man is strong. A man of knowledge gains in strength. Fools are weak. They do not know what they should do, so they do not do it, nor can they understand or resist what they should not do.
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) said, “Knowledge is power.” But he was only plagiarizing Solomon, who wrote these words 2500 years earlier. Give God the glory! The power and strength of wisdom and knowledge is before you, reader. Embrace the book of Proverbs!
Wisdom is the power to judge rightly in any situation. It is the ability to see trouble and danger, avoid their temptations and snares, and choose a superior course of action. Wisdom is founded on the fear of the Lord (Pr 1:7; 9:10), but it also includes the prudent management of matters in the natural realm. Wisdom is indeed strength (Pr 8:14; 10:29).
Folly is the confusion of not knowing right or wrong and defaulting to the lusts and instincts of the human heart. It cannot see trouble and danger, resist the snares and temptations of life, and choose the right thing to do. Folly rejects the fear of the Lord and trusts its own heart (Ps 14:1; 53:1). It shows itself by making numerous mistakes in simple matters of life (Pr 13:16; 14:8,18; 15:21; 16:22; 26:11). Folly is indeed weakness.
How much difference is there between wisdom and folly? King Solomon, after observing and analyzing all that is done in this world, concluded that wisdom is better than folly as much as light is better than darkness (Eccl 2:12-14). A poor, wise child is better than an old, foolish king, who will not accept correction (Eccl 4:13). Every young reader ought to rejoice at this wonderful opportunity to gain in strength by wisdom even over kings.
Solomon valued wisdom much higher than physical strength (Pr 21:19; Eccl 7:19). He described how a poor wise man in a small city was able to defeat a great king besieging the city with great bulwarks (Eccl 9:13-18). Solomon wrote, “Wisdom is better than strength – wisdom is better than weapons of war.” Powerful! A wise king will always be able to defeat a foolish king, even with a smaller army and fewer weapons.
But more importantly, wisdom is also strength of character. The man who fears the Lord and knows his God is able to withstand the temptations of sin and choose righteousness instead. Such a man has the directive power of God’s word to keep him strong in the very face of Satan’s and the world’s three attractions to sin against God (Ps 119:9; I Jn 2:16).
The strongest men are those who fear the Lord Christ, know the Scriptures well, walk in the Spirit, and pray for wisdom. These are the ultimate sources of wisdom, the basis for great strength (II Tim 3:15-17; Eph 3:16; 6:10; Jas 1:5). It is the salvation of your soul, your family, and your church to be established with strength in the truth (Heb 13:9), lest you instead be a child tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine (Eph 4:14).
All men want to be strong, but only a very few will seek strength at these sources. What will you choose this day, dear reader? Strength or weakness? Strength with all might is offered (Col 1:9-11). Humble yourself, and choose the fear and wisdom of God today!