“Honor is no more associated with fools than snow with summer or rain with harvest.” – Proverbs 26:1 NLT
Why would you praise someone who is essentially worthless and unworthy? Why in the world would you elevate to high position someone who has shown themselves incapable of making wise decisions and using sound judgment? According the the NET Study Bible, "'Honor' in this passage probably means respect, external recognition of worth, accolades, advancement to high position, etc." It seems ludicrous that anyone would want to bestow honor on someone who is undeserving, but the truth is, we do it all the time. A few areas in our society where it is rampant are professional sports, politics and entertainment. Every day we see young men being honored, praised and rewarded for their athletic prowess, while they live like fools. They are children in the bodies of grown men. They lack discernment, common sense, understanding and wisdom. They live as if they are invincible and spend their money like it is inexhaustible. We cringe at their antics and demand that they be role models for our children, but they lack the capacity. We cheer them, pay good money to watch them, and pin our sports hopes on them. Then we are shocked and disappointed when we read of their latest escapades. How about politics? As a society, we regularly elevate men and women to high positions who, while perhaps better educated, are just as foolish and lacking in wisdom as any professional athlete. Some of these career politicians have perfected the art of lying and, while elected as representatives of the people, have become much more concerned about their own well-being than the needs and wants of their constituents. They are self-aggrandizing, power-hungry fools who have no desire to rule according to God's terms and in keeping with His commands. Yet we regularly re-elect them and give them another chance to prove their foolishness.
And then there is the entertainment world, filled with countless individuals who model the life of foolishness, living in a fantasy world filled with money, power, and popularity. Their lives are followed faithfully by adoring fans who watch their every move and listen to every word that comes out of their mouths, as if they were oracles spouting wisdom directly from the throne of God. Yet their lives are marked by lack of self-control, poor decision making, promiscuity, selfishness and self-centeredness, broken relationships, financial mismanagement, emotional instability and more. And yet, we honor and esteem them. We hold them up as icons of virtue and wisdom. We listen intently as they share their opinions on everything from gun control to world peace. They are rich and influential, but they lack wisdom, common sense, and discernment. And yet, we honor them.
But Solomon warns us, "Honoring a fool is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot" (Proverbs 26:8 NLT). What a vivid picture. Imagine the stupidity of tying a stone to a slingshot and expecting anything useful to happen as a result. It would be idiotic. And that's exactly his point. When we honor those who are undeserving of honor, we are making a mockery of not only honor, but of the value of wisdom. The entire Book of Proverbs is filled with admonitions and reminders about the value of wisdom and it's non-negotiable role in our lives. It is the wisdom of God, not the wisdom of this world. It is understanding, insight, discipline, discernment, common sense and wise living right from the throne of God Himself. Those who reject it are not to be honored and esteemed. They are not to be given places of responsibility and power. We shouldn't elect fools or employ them. "An employer who hires a fool or a bystander is like an archer who shoots at random" (Proverbs 26:10 NLT). Fools are a menace to society. They are a danger to themselves and dishonoring to God. We are not to honor them, esteem them, elevate them, or to desire to be like them. Wisdom is God's measuring stick. It is His standard of judgment. And it should be ours.
Father, forgive us for honoring fools in our lives. We make a mockery of wisdom every time we do. Give us the determination to live wisely and to look for others who do the same. Help us raise the standard and expect more from those who lead us. May we be a wise people who value wise living. Amen.