Psalm 1:1–6 (ESV):
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Only a fool wants to be a fool, and the rest of us work hard not to become one.
Stupidity, ignorance, and foolhardiness are hardly a science. Anyone can be an amateur practitioner. But being a fool is an art.
The thing is, you don’t wake up in the morning and simply decide, “Today I will not be a fool,” as you might say, “Today I will wear a blue polo and jeans.” After all, how does a fool know that he is a fool? Does the mere concern indicate one is not a fool, or do we all labor under a mass delusion that we are all somehow wise?
Since wisdom is the art of truth applied, and truth is that which objectively corresponds to reality irrespective of how we view it, there must be some external source of wisdom— a lodestar to point our compass to keep us from drifting into foolishness.
God’s “Torah”— His teaching— fills that role. His Torah is not just the specific “Thou shalt and shalt not” commandments enshrined in His Law. Nor is the Torah only a portion of Scripture. In the broadest sense, the Torah is His full teaching and counsel— His Word imparts truth necessary for wise living. It brings delight to those who meditate on it day and night. It infuses their minds with the fragrance of reality. It provides health, spiritual vitality, and prosperity.
Such truth invades the mind, pervades the heart, and permeates the soul. It provides external nourishment that keeps us from living off the fat resources of our self-acquired wisdom.
I don’t remember pondering such matters as a child when life happened in the moments of a splash in a puddle, the adrenaline of dodge ball, or the evening bath to separate the day’s grime from clean pajamas. For a child, everything happens in the now with no concern for tomorrow. There is no thinking about tomorrow or the need to gather acorns of wisdom for life’s coming challenges.
For a child, wisdom is learned in the moment of cause and effect consequences. “Don’t touch that. It’s hot!”
But life has long-term consequences, so as we grow, we must gain the kind of wisdom that understands cause and effect beyond the moment or the day. Acquiring such wisdom means understanding and absorbing truth embodied in practical principles.
God’s Word is the tutor to guide us to a deep-rooted life able to weather inevitable challenges. But not everyone welcomes the guidance. The “wicked” or godless, those who refuse to trust in their Maker, are among them. So are sinners–those who chase life’s immediate pleasures irrespective of the moral consequences. And then there are the “scoffers,” or fools, who are beyond reason, blinded by their arrogance and as morally stupid as prancing pigs in tutus. They will never receive wisdom, for to them, wisdom is folly.
The wicked will one day perish. God’s teaching is clear on that point. Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of their deception is that in their temporal pleasures, in any momentary shower of blessing or ray of warmth, they mistake God’s grace for His approval. In their boastful pride of life, they fail to see that God causes the sun to shine and water to fall on the godless and the righteous as a witness to His own impartial goodness. But that blessing comes only for a time because behind His goodness always stands His inevitable eternal justice. The godless, the sinners, and particularly the fools, have no concern for the future.
But the righteous, nourished by God’s Word, stand firm. They draw live-giving nourishment through deep roots and have meditated on His teaching, and so withstand life’s sudden storms and droughts. It is not that they are untouched by suffering, by blight, and by the inevitable defoliation of autumn. Their roots run so deep in His Torah that the sap of His teaching nurtures every branch and twig.
Despite the changing weather and seasons, the branches of the righteous reach ever skyward, in season and out of season, waiting expectantly for the coming of the Son.