S215P1 – Warnings against foolishness: the danger is real

Pro. 17:12

Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly.

The metaphor of a mother bear fearlessly protecting her cubs is a commonly used one.  It paints a picture of an animal who is big, strong, wild, and angry.  She will do whatever it takes to keep her cubs safe.  The metaphor is accurate according to nature.  In the wild, a mother bear will risk her life to keep her cubs protected.  No danger is so great that she will back down and let one of her babies go.  Whether a man or a pack of wolves, she will fight as hard as she must to keep them safe.  What she becomes in that situation is not a fluffy, cuddly teddy bear.  She becomes a mighty and dangerous adversary.  If she needs to, she will kill to save those cubs. Yet, she is less dangerous than the fools we might follow.

At face value, this proverb might sound strange.  It seems like that mother bear would be a lot more dangerous than your average foolish person.  After all, that bear would kill you to save her cubs.  The comparison here seems misplaced, but it is not.  While that bear might cause you physical death, following a fool can bring you even spiritual death.  The thing is, the folly of the foolish person is not innocent or mild.  We are talking about the repercussions for abandoning wisdom.  The folly of the fool can lead to idol worship and defiance of God.  This is what makes people rely on witchcraft and spiritists of all kinds.  It convinces people that there is no god or convinces them to worship one of the many false ones.

The fool here is not a person who happens to be a little on the dim side.  The fool here is a person whose ways could lead you to destruction.  The danger in the fool’s folly is separation from God.  Some of these people will look innocent enough and can be very convincing in their foolishness.  Many false teachers have led flocks astray this way.  It only takes a little bit of nonsense to turn the truth into a lie.  When we follow fools, we run the risk of following someone away from the Lord instead of toward him.  We should prefer the angry bear to an eternity separated from our Lord any day.  Father, give us wisdom and discernment to spot the fools among us and to stay away from their folly.