†††† More than 60 times the term "fool" is found in the Bible. A classic is when Saul said, "...I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly." (1 Samuel 26:21) All of us could join with Saul at certain times in our lives and say, "I have played the fool."Following are some that played the fool:


††††† Abner played the fool by dying just outside of a city of refuge. "And the king sang a lament over Abner and said: Should Abner die as a fool dies?" (2 Samuel 3:33) With his hands free and his feet unfettered this great warrior died at the hand of wicked Joab. Abner was deceived by Joab just as multitudes are deceived by the Devil today. Abner died as a fool because he did not use his advantages; his hands, feet and mind. What about your advantages? Is your Bible used? What about your opportunities? Do you use your mind in God's service? Abner died standing outside a city of refuge. The cities of refuge were towns in the Kingdom of Israel and in the Kingdom of Judah in which the perpetrators of manslaughter could claim the right of asylum; outside of these cities, blood vengeance against such perpetrators was allowed by law. The Old Testament cities of refuge were identified in these words from Joshua 20:7-9. ďAnd they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjatharba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah. And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh. These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.Ē The principle underlying the cities of refuge was fulfilled in Christ. He is our refuge. Many are standing outside of God's city of safety today. They are outside of Christ and His church. Abner was one who would have to say, "I have played the fool."


††††† A person that says in his heart there is no God plays the fool. "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God. They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good." (Psalm 53:1) There is no greater fool than the unbeliever. Those people that are guilty of the folly of unbelief become corrupt in their living. To a person determined to live a sinful and corrupt life the doctrine of "no God" provides much comfort. However, there is a God!He knows our heart. "God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God." (Psalm 53:2) A person today that says "there is no God" will one day say, "I have played the fool."


††††† A person plays the fool when he will not accept advice. "The wise in heart will receive commands, But a prating fool will fall." (Proverbs 10:8) A wise person accepts advice, a fool only gives advice. Wisdom is seen not so much in what it gives but what it receives. The honest and good heart will hunger and thirst for God's way. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6) The fool is always busy giving out and never taking in. He does not have that humility of heart necessary to receive correction. Insubordination to authority is seen in this person. The fool becomes a law to himself. Godís people must be wise. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind." (James 1:5-6) A person that will not accept advice will one day say, "I have played the fool."


††††† A person that makes no preparation to meet God plays the fool. In Luke 12:16-21 Jesus gave the parable of the rich fool. "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?" (Luke 12:20) This man thought that what he had was his own absolute property and he made no preparation for eternity. What this man lacked led to his greatest loss. He was not rich toward God. Those that are not rich toward God will one day have to say, "I have played the fool."


††††† Where do you stand with God? To become a Christian hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized for remission of sins. (Acts 2:38) Do not allow yourself to play the fool, but instead be wise. "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." (James 3:17-18.)


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama USA.