Good morning Church,
I am having an interesting internal struggle writing about Proverbs 26 this morning, and I am not sure why. As I have been meditating on this section of the book, I realize that “God” is not mentioned in these 28 verses.  God is absent! And that is probably just the meaning of the passage. When God is absent from someone’s life, we see the following characteristics: Foolishness (vs. 1-12); Laziness (vs. 13-16); Argumentative (vs. 17, 21); Deceptive (vs. 18-19, 23-28); Gossipy (vs. 20, 22); Hypocritical (vs. 24, 25). We are not talking about isolated incidences, but a continual pattern of behavior: “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness” (vs. 26:11). These behaviors can be divided into two categories: what a person does and what a person says. This is how we are to determine who is part of the family of God and who is not. We will know them by their fruit!
As I continue to unpack this Proverb 26, I realize how judgmental this might be in our day and age. We are not allowed to make judgments anymore. Where did that come from??? The Church of Jesus Christ needs be more discerning than ever because of the growing number of heresies and false teachers in the church.  There are so many church leaders preaching a different gospel, and allowing blatant sin in the church. For this reason we need to be more shrewd and vigilant to maintain the purity and holiness of the Bride of Christ. We are called to deal with sinning people in the church, and confront erroneous teaching. Fools don’t know God or acknowledge God even exists (Psalm 14:1). Their mouth is full of human wisdom. They are gossips, slanderers, and argumentative hypocrites. We need to be able to identify them when they enter the church to cause havoc. That requires judgment! People love to quote Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged”, but never read the text in context, where judgment is obviously required to “remove the speck in your brother’s eye”, and to determine who is a “dog” or “swine” and hostile to the truth (Matt. 7:6).
Of course, when we see the list of characteristics of a fool listed above, the first thing we ought to do is examine our own selves to see whether we fit the description (Matthew 7:2-5). In the letters to the Corinthian church, we can read that the church was affected by “fools” being allowed in the church, even teaching in the church (2Corinthians 11:19-20). We can see the fruit of allowing “fools” in the church as leaders: “You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn't that prove you are controlled by your own desires? You are acting like people who don't belong to the Lord.” (1Corinthians 3:3) Fools don’t know God and don’t belong to God; WE DO! Here is Paul’s exhortation to those who believed the lie being taught that there was no resurrection: “Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character." Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God-- I say this to your shame (1Corinthians 15:33-34). The warning is to discern who belongs to God and who does not – fools in the world or followers of Jesus. Worldly fools will demonstrate the character listed in Proverbs 26, Jesus followers will not.
I close with a “fool” we should all aspire to be: “fools for Christ” (1Corinthians 4:10). Are we so dedicated to Christ that we are willing to look foolish in the eyes of the world as we pursue Him to know Him more? Are we “crazy” for Him, and to preach His gospel of love, hope and reconciliation to God through the cross? This is our goal – not be of the world of fools, but to be a fool for Jesus! Here are a couple of songs to help you understand what I mean:
Have a listen to one of my favorite Christian artists - Michael Card: "God's own fool" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEJrjGa106U
Have a listen to this by Gary S. Paxton, "I am a fool for Christ" (play it at 1.5 speed - it's really cool) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L-j-W3_fME
 In verse 10 of the KJV & NKJ “God” is there, but it is not in the original Hebrew, hence no other translation has it there.
 I refer you to Wendy’s blog for this week for an exposé of false teachers: http://www.freedomhousechc.ca/blogs/ears-to-hear/i-exhort-urge-insist-beg-you/
Have a great week!