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Learning from Foolishness

Today's Devotional

The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense. Ecclesiastes 10:2–3

A man walked into a convenience store in Wollongong, Australia, put a $20 bill on the counter and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register, which the clerk promptly provided. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars.

We all act foolishly at times—even if, unlike this thief, we’re trying to do the right thing. The key is how we learn from our foolish behavior. Without correction, our poor choices can become habits, which will negatively shape our character. We’ll become “fools . . . [who] lack sense” (Ecclesiastes 10:3). 

Sometimes it’s hard to admit our foolishness because of the extra work it requires. Perhaps we need to reflect on a particular character flaw, and that’s painful. Or maybe we need to admit that a decision was made hastily and next time we should take more care. Whatever the reason, it never pays to ignore our foolish ways.

Thankfully, God can use our foolishness to discipline and shape us. Discipline isn’t “pleasant at the time,” but its training yields good fruit in the long run (Hebrews 12:11). Let’s accept our Father’s discipline for our foolish behavior and ask Him to make us more like the sons and daughters He intends us to be.

What’s a recent foolish choice you’ve made? What do you think God wants you to learn from it?

Thank You, Father, for using my foolishness to train me. May I accept Your discipline graciously as You continue to work in me.


In Ecclesiastes, wisdom and folly are often set in sharp contrast. Folly (or the fool) is tied to wickedness (7:17; 10:12) and is the opposite of wisdom (2:19). As Michael Eaton in his commentary on Ecclesiastes states, “[Folly] results from an inner deficiency of the personality (10:2) which becomes obvious to observers (v. 3), especially in the fool’s speech (v. 14).” In Jeremiah we read that the foolish are “skilled in doing evil” (4:22) and lack moral sensitivity: They’re “senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear” (5:21).

By |2021-04-27T09:06:08-04:00April 27th, 2021|
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