The Danger of Foolish Thinking

The Danger of Folly

Ecclesiastes 10:1-7

“Dead flies make a perfumer’s oil stick, so a little foolishness is weightier than wisdom and honor.”

The hardest thing to fix is distorted thinking. When our thinking is corrupted, it distorts our whole perspective of life and what is right or wrong. Yet the tragedy is that even a small amount of distortion in our thinking can devastate lives. To illustrate, the sage reminds us that a small fly can ruin a whole batch of perfume. So, a small amount of distorted thinking can corrupt our entire outlook on life and our perception of what is morally right and wrong (vs 1). This becomes our great tragedy. In our distorted thinking, we are self-deluded, for we believe that we genuinely think rightly because we only listen to what we want to believe. Instead of desiring transformation, we want only confirmation. Ultimately, we follow the pathway of folly (vs 3).

We are the product of what we choose to listen to. In verse two, we are reminded that our character and our understanding of truth and morality are not imposed on us, but are a result of our choices. If we choose to listen to the folly of the world, then we will be increasingly drawn to it. Conversely, if our focus is on the wisdom that comes from God, then we will become increasingly wise. Paul underscores this when he states, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:1-2). To live rightly, we must choose to think rightly and to think rightly, we need to be guided by the Bible.

However, in a fallen world, it is not the wise who are elevated and honored by being set forth as the example; it is the fool. The fool is not someone who does not have intelligent prowess; instead, it is the one who rejects God and His moral truth (Psalm14:1). Because we desire to live independently of God, we are naturally drawn to follow the morality of our culture. We promote those who affirm what we desire. In our sin, we are enamored with prosperity, unrestrained pleasure, and success (1 John 2:16). Because we want these things, we elect officials that represent these and promise to promote them (10:5-6). Ultimately, the fool is exalted while the righteous are rejected (Eccl 10:6). 

In this passage, Solomon urges us to reflect on our values and thought processes. We must ask ourselves, “Whose teachings do we heed for moral guidance, and how do we cultivate sound thinking in life?” The Psalms provide the answer in Psalms 119:9-16. We lay the groundwork for thinking rightly about life and morality when we fix our minds on scripture to discern our thoughts. Scripture, not our culture or those around us, should be the arbiter of truth. The path to wisdom is paved by a life lived in the footsteps of scripture. In our world of moral disorder and uncertainty, we can only find moral clarity by immersing ourselves in the eternal truth of the Bible and embracing it as our way of life. As Paul emphasizes, “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of god, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of god is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2). When faced with the dilemmas of our society and life, where do you seek clarity and understanding? Instead of resorting to the philosophies and teachings of men, turn to the pages of Scripture penned by an infinitely wise God who comprehends all things. Then we will truly become wise and make right decisions before God.

 

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