Wikipedia relates that April Fools’ Day is celebrated annually in different countries around the world on April 1. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but it is widely recognized and celebrated as a day marked by the commission of good-humored or otherwise funny jokes, hoaxes, and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, teachers, neighbors, work associates, etc. So, did anyone pull an April Fools’ Day prank on you yesterday? Did you do it to anyone?
The Bible says nothing about an April Fools’ Day, but it plainly marks the contrast between the fool and the wise. Throughout the book of Proverbs, the wise preacher Solomon draws a clear distinction between wisdom and foolishness. The way of a fool always seems right in his own eyes. He never asks for help, seeks counsel, or accepts advice. The fool trusts in his faulty beliefs, false judgment, and faithless sense. He has been bewitched by his corrupted, carnal reason to the point that he not only thinks he is the smartest man in the room, but he is convinced that he is the only smart man. He thinks more highly of himself than he ought and believes he is a notch above the rest. Scripture strongly warns us against this way of thinking:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. (Proverbs 12:15)
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Standing in direct opposition to the fool is the wise, and the Bible clearly describes the foundation upon which a wise life is to be built.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
Where fools have no fear or reverence for the Lord, the wise build their lives upon it. This fear of the Lord is not a cowering fear—fear that is absent of love, trust, and faith, and which causes men to run and hide from God. That kind of fear leads down the road of dread and despair, the kind James tells us the demons have who know that there is only on God and shudder in terror (James 2:19).
The fear of the Lord that the Scriptures exhort the wise to possess is a fear that bows low before the Creator of the universe, marveling at the knowledge of His unconditional and sacrificial love, and recognizing Him as the only wise, good, and holy source of all that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Jerry Bridges writes in The Joy of Fearing God regarding the proper attitude of a child to a parent: “Fearing one’s parents and knowing that they love you are not incompatible.” He continues, “There was a time when committed Christians were known as God-fearing people. This was a badge of honor. But somewhere along the way we lost it. Now the idea of fearing God, if thought of at all, seems like a relic from the past.”
As we embark on a new month, known at its onset for foolishness, we have a moment by moment choice to make: we can either be wise or be foolish . . . we can either bear the beautiful fruit of wisdom or the putrid fruit of foolishness.
So . . . when all is said and done at the end of April, what would you like said about all that you have done? If we look to Jesus and not to ourselves, and if we lean into Jesus and not on our own understanding, our lives will be marked by wisdom. The apostle Paul told us that Christ Jesus “has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV).
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!