Devotional Text and Meditation for the Day
“Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.”
Today’s meditation verse highlights the greatest problem with man and the deepest plague that permeates all of our hearts, prideful self-deceit! It was pride that provoked Adam and Eve to think their way was better than God’s (Gen 3:1-6), it was pride that instigated Saul to offer sacrifices for God that were in direct disobedience to God (1 Sam 15:22-23), it was pride that propelled the Pharisees to openly reject and kill the very Son of God (Mt 27:18). Prideful self-deceit at its base level is thinking you are wiser than God; and therefore, you reject His Word (implicitly or explicitly) and follow the foolishness of your own thinking (Jerm 49:16; Prov 3:5-8). Prideful self-deceit is what this proverb is referencing when it speaks of the person who is wise in their own eyes. Sadly, this person, as the prophet Obadiah exclaimed, has been deceived by his own deceptive heart (Obad 3 cf. Jerm 17:9). Here in our meditation verse, we see how there is actually more hope for a fool than there is for the self-deceived. This is interesting because verse 12 actually serves as the final verse in a subsection that deals specifically with the fool (26:1-12), but verse 12 actually acts as an exhortation to those who arrogantly think verses 1-11 have no application to them! Thus, this proverb humbles all of us and provokes us to personal introspection; lest we find ourselves in a worse place than the fool in thinking we are something when we are nothing (Gal 6:3)!
There are clearly degrees of foolishness seen throughout the Wisdom writings in the different words and descriptions given for the fool. There is the naïve fool (14:15; 22:3), the stubborn fool (13:19; 15:14), the mocking fool (1:7; 14:9), the godless fool (17:7; 30:32 cf. Ps 14:1 & 1 Sam 25:17,25), and the scoffing fool (13:1; 15:12; 21:24). The simple fool only has to deal with his own ignorance, but the prideful fool, which is what is being referenced in the person who is wise in his own eyes, must deal with personal ignorance and self-delusion! The Bible is not silent about this sick sin of self-delusion and highlights that many people, who claim to be Christians, will only prove in the end to be a people filled with the pride of self-deceit (Mt 7:21-23). Consider the scary nature of the self-deceived religion of the Pharisees (Lk 18:11-12), or the deluded Christians in Corinth (1 Cor 3:18; 8:2), and worse yet, the false Church in Laodicea that thought they needed nothing while they were actually wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev 3:17)! Dear loved ones, this is the greatest dilemma of our day as our world is utterly self-deceived (Rom 1:21-23), and sadly that mindset of thinking your something when you’re not has deeply infected the modern Church (2 Tim 3:1-5, 12-13).
So, how can we protect ourselves from becoming wise in our eyes (Rom 12:16), or how can we evaluate our hearts to see if this sin has taken root (Prov 16:2)? Simple answer, never trust our hearts but always actively and desperately trust in God and His Word alone (Prov 3:5-8; Js 1:19-25)! Meditate on these questions as you wrestle with this verse today. 1.) Do you trust your own heart to live a God-honoring life, or do you regularly seek counsel other than yourself (Prov 12:15)? You know you have fallen prey to trusting your own heart when your voice is all you want to hear and all you will really listen to! 2.) Where do you turn when problems, perplexities, or pressures inundate your life (Prov 18:10 cf. 3:5-8)? Do you go to God’s Word, or do you listen to your own thoughts or the false wisdom of this world? 3.) Do you have a burning passion for pursuing Christlikeness because you have been overwhelmed by personal sin and overjoyed by God’s undeserved grace? One of the clearest indicators that you have become self-deceived is when you have no real heart desire for Christ and yet you think there is nothing wrong!