Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Is there a halfway mark between being a fool and a wise person, in the words of Solomon? It seems that each of us ends up being one or the other.
The publican’s prayer, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13) is one we love to pray; but is there one in the Bible that says, “God, be merciful to me, a fool!”? Can a “fool” (in Solomon’s and David’s descriptions) ever be really converted?
One king of Israel, Saul, confessed he had “played the fool and erred exceedingly” (1 Sam. 26:21), but we never read that he prayed to the Lord to be merciful to him, a fool. King Saul died with his career in ruins. King David may have felt good through much of his reign, that he had done better than his old enemy, King Saul, and had not “played the fool,” but after his affair with Bathsheba and her lawful husband’s murder, he may have had greater sympathy for Saul. The distance between a wise person and a fool can be a hairline.
Yes, the Lord can have mercy on a fool, even though “The Fool’s Prayer” is in the poetry book and not the Bible (Edward Sill wrote of the king after he had commanded his jester to “pray,” “The room was hushed; in silence rose / The king, and sought his gardens cool, / And walked apart, and murmured low, / ‘Be merciful to me, a fool!’”).
King Solomon hopefully understood that the world’s Savior can save a fool; the Lord Jesus has sympathy for anyone who feels himself worse off than a common sinner. Even though a “fool” appears to have less latitude in asking for mercy, he can cast himself on the Lord for salvation from himself, and know the Lord can save even fools.
Christ is continually inviting lost people: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden” (Matt. 11:28). No human soul’s burden is heavier than that of a repentant fool.
Said Christ’s enemies: “This man receives sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:2). He has a special sympathy for the down and out, for those who despise themselves.
He was born in the lowliest place imaginable; from a Child He carried the apparent painful stigma of an illegitimate birth; He chose to die under the stigma of being cast out, despised, forsaken by the King of the universe, His own Father (Matt. 27:46). No fool can fall any more painfully low.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 12, 2007.
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