Proverbs 17:12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly.
It is a long list, but these are a few synonyms for the word fool - idiot, halfwit, blockhead, buffoon and dunce to name a few. Well, saints, according to the above proverb, it is better, and in some translations, safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to hang out, work with, or be married to a fool. I live in the province of British Columbia where bear encounters are common. The result can turn out very gruesome for anyone who has been chased, attacked, or mauled by a bear.
On one hot summer day, I had to pull over on the side of the highway at the top of the Kootenay Pass. It is common for car engines in hot weather to overheat as cars progress up the precipitous thirty-kilometre uphill grade to the summit. As I was waiting for the car engine to cool down a bit, two bear cubs came ambling out of the side forest crossing the road right in front of my car. The hair on the back of my neck started to point heavenward as I looked all around for the mother bear. It was not a secure or comfortable feeling to know that I might be in between a protective she-bear and her cubs. As far as I was concerned, the car engine had cooled down enough, it was time to go.
It is unsettling to see the brute strength, agility, and speed that a bear can use to attack. The instinctive fierce clawing used to lash out can result in someone's permanent scarring and even death. Yet, God's word says that I am better off confronting a mother bear in her instinctive protectiveness than a fool who is bent on carrying out his foolishness. It seems that fools are more dangerous than a bear coming toward us with menacing intentions and territorial bravado. Prov. 17:12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly. It really makes one think about the hidden dangers that hanging around a fool can cause in one's life.
On numerous occasions, I have counselled people to get rid of the fools, losers, and narcissists in their lives. For some reason, people think they can instruct a fool, and the fool will take the advice and change their life. The word clearly says that foolishness cannot be beaten, ground, or pulverized out of these people. Prov. 27:22 Though you pound the fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, his foolishness still will not leave him. This is a heart issue, and only God can fix a heart. A fool bent on foolishness is dangerous because the foolish sins they get involved with have an eternal effect and can bring damage to everyone involved with them.
In 1Samuel chapter twenty-five there is a story of a foolish man named Nabal who was bent on being irresponsible in his decisions, regardless of the fact that his decisions would bring death to him and possibly his family. His wife's name was Abigail, and she was an intelligent and forthright woman. Nabal's name actually means fool, or, folly is with him. It did not matter that Nabal was married to a wise, influential, and courageous woman, he still remained stupid and made choices accordingly. The situation begs the question, how did Abigail end up married to such an idiot. I'm guessing that it was most likely an arranged marriage as was common in that day. Nonetheless, her wise and fast actions saved her people and servants whom David was on his way to destroy because of the foolish way Nabal had treated David's men.
In this case, it truly was better for Nabal's family and staff to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than the swords of destruction that were coming down upon all of them. Abigail's courage over folly saved the day. 1Sam. 25:32 David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33 Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murder and from carrying out vengeance with my own hands. Within ten days of this event, Nabal died of heart failure and remained a stupid man till the end. The account of his life is a demonstration of foolishness. Surely we can choose better.
We live in a time when foolishness is praised and even rewarded. Sin is bragged about and flaunted on all forms of visual media platforms. Just because many people are living this way does not mean we have to be stupid too. God has given us the choice to choose His righteousness through Christ so that we are not counted among the dangerous fools who have chosen their own worldliness. To walk with God is to walk in wisdom. To walk with God is to receive understanding in our hearts. Prov. 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Let us keep clear of dangerous bears and fools alike, and allow God to instruct our hearts in choosing His life-giving wisdom. Amen!