BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, and cause it to give off a foul odor; so does a little folly to one respected for wisdom and honor” (Ecclesiastes 10:1 NKJV).
To season a pot of soup, you don’t need salt of the quantity of the soup – you just need just a little. To spoil the taste of the soup, you don’t need salt of the quantity of the soup – you need just a little above what is right. Galatians 5:9 says it takes only one wrong person to infect others; a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough.
Ecclesiastes 10:1, in another translation, says, “Dead flies will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor” (NLT). There are many people that dead flies have polluted their ointment or perfume. Beelzebub is the god of flies – through the operations of demonic spirits a person’s perfume, ointment, anointing can be putrefied or polluted. Instead of a good odour, the perfume of someone’s marriage, business, ministry, etc. can be spreading a stinking odour, a foul smell.
If there are dead flies that have polluted your perfume, I decree that the Lord shall remove them. Dead flies may have PUTREFIED your perfume, but the blood of Jesus shall PURIFY it. Your perfume shall smell good again.
That scripture tells us that dead flies can foul the odour of a bottle of perfume, as much as a little folly can spoil the reputation of a man of wisdom and honour. A little folly, not a great folly, is just enough to ruin a marriage, a relationship, a business, a life, etc. You don’t need much folly or foolishness! A little folly is enough. That’s why you have to be careful how you live your life. Ephesians 5:15 says, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise” (NLT). You have to live circumspectly.
According to Ecclesiastes 2:13, wisdom excels folly, as light excels darkness. Light and darkness are opposites. If you engage in a little folly, your folly will soon be manifest to all, like Paul said about the folly of the false teachers of the Ephesian church (2 Timothy 3:9).
A little folly in marriage
Many people have ruined their marriages just by a little folly. Imagine a woman denying her husband sex for frivolous or trivial reasons! That is a little folly because she is asking the husband to look for alternatives, which is not right. And in case you don’t know, there are unmarried ladies who are fantasizing about the idea of going to bed with your husband. There are unmarried ladies these days who, due to the frustration of waiting endlessly for a husband, are now looking for married men who will sleep with them just to have a child, even if they won’t marry them.
If you won’t allow your husband to touch you, there are many ladies who are ready to give their bodies to your husband. Why should a wife engage in such a little folly and later break her heart and home? Such a woman could be crying later, going from one prayer programme to the other, and engaging in marathon fasting and prayer. That would be medicine after death.
That doesn’t mean I’m endorsing an extra-marital relationship because two wrongs can never make a right. A husband who engages in extra-marital sex is a fool. But that also doesn’t mean that such folly by either husband or wife and equally foolish reaction by either of the spouse don’t happen.
A little folly! Husband, what are you doing in the house of Delilah, no matter the challenge you’re facing in your marriage? Your wife’s little folly is no justification for your own folly! Do you think you can go in to Delilah and return the same? Delilah will dispossess you of your power and frustrate your destiny. “For a prostitute will bring you to poverty, and sleeping with another man’s wife may cost you your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap and not be burned? Can he walk on hot coals and not blister his feet? So it is with the man who sleeps with another man’s wife. He who embraces her will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 6:26-29 NLT). Even if the lady is not yet married, it is still folly for you to engage in extra-marital affairs.
A pastor told me of an ordained pastor this kind of folly happened in his family. The pastor, starved with sex by the wife, went to engage in extramarital affairs and impregnated a lady, and the wife also, in retaliation, went to get pregnant for another man. A little folly! Neither of them has a home today.
You need to give priority to sex in your marriage and stop giving all manners of excuses. That’s a little folly. It is unfortunate today that the people sex is meant for (married people), don’t have time for it; but the people sex is not meant for (unmarried people), have plenty of time for it, and are obsessed with it!
Paul advises couples in 1 Corinthians 7:4-5, “The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband also gives authority over his body to his wife. So do not deprive each other of sexual relations. The only exception to this rule would be the agreement of both husband and wife to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time, so they can give themselves more completely to prayer. Afterward they should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt them because of their lack of self-control” (NLT).
Beware how you live your life; avoid a little folly. Little things we do matter a lot. Many times, we think they don’t matter but they do. I don’t have all the details and I am not passing a judgment on this case, which illustrates the need to avoid a little folly. A woman got angry because of a misunderstanding with her husband and packed out despite all pleas. She was still trusting God for the fruit of the womb then. But alas, before she knew it, the husband impregnated another woman who moved in as his wife. That is not right; but it happened, despite the fact that the husband was a Christian. Till today, she is still unmarried; she couldn’t return to her matrimonial home. She probably took it for granted that because the husband was a Christian and they did a church wedding, she was secure in the home. A little folly!
Don’t take your spouse for granted – it is a sin you must never commit in any relationship, more so marriage. That woman is regretting till today. Proverbs 14:1 says, “A wise woman builds her house; a foolish woman tears hers down with her own hands” (NLT). Woman, be wise!
A little folly in the workplace
Years back, I was in a banking hall and saw a banker who was threatening to resign just because of a misunderstanding between him and the manager. It wasn’t really a big issue; the problem was that of the ego of the subordinate. He didn’t want to follow the instruction of the manager to leave what he was doing to do another thing. A little folly! His colleagues and some customers he was attending to dissuade him from resigning. That action would have rubbished every good work he had done in that bank. He was going to needlessly throw himself into the labour market as if he was bewitched. That’s how people get themselves into unnecessary problems. Ecclesiastes 10:4 says, “Don’t leave your job just because your boss is angry with you. Remaining calm solves great problems” (NCV).
You must avoid a little folly in your business. I was told about a small-scale business, not a monopoly, which increased the fees for its services exponentially beyond what its customers considered reasonable. Regrettably, it lost many customers. A little folly! It wasn’t something big, just a little folly. But wisdom teaches that you can’t recoup all you’ve invested in a business at once; you recoup your investment incrementally, little by little, not all at once or hurriedly, otherwise, you may kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
Little follies; little foxes
Song 2:15 says, “Quick! Catch all the little foxes before they ruin the vineyard of your love, for the grapevines are all in blossom” (NLT). Did you see that? – Little foxes! Little foxes are as dangerous as little follies. Examine your life and get rid of whatever constitutes little foxes, little follies. You may be doing everything right or well, but just that little folly can mess up everything you’ve done well. Your vineyard could be flourishing but little foxes will ruin it if you permit them.
I want you to pay attention to the second part of our main text, Ecclesiastes 10:1. It says, “Yes, an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor” (NLT). An ounce is a small amount of something. In weights and measures, a pound is more than an ounce, yet that scripture says an ounce of foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor. A little folly becomes a blemish on the record of a man regarded as wise!
The Bible says when God answered the prayer of David to turn to folly the counsel of Ahithophel, his former adviser, who defected to Absalom’s side during his rebellion (2 Samuel 15:31), Ahithophel went to hang himself (2 Samuel 17:14). Why? Because Ahithophel’s counsel before was like the voice of God; it was as if a man inquired at the oracle of God (2 Samuel 16:23). He considered rejection of his counsel a blemish on his record though it was actually the right advice (2 Samuel 17:14). He must have felt that if another person’s advice could be preferred above his, it meant that he had outlived his usefulness; he was no more relevant. God turned his wisdom to foolishness. Prophet Jeremiah prophesied of Babylon that when the sword of destruction “strikes her wise counselors, they will become fools!” (Jeremiah 50:36, NLT). May the Lord not turn your wisdom into foolishness. The sword of destruction shall not strike you and turn you into a fool.
Miriam’s and Aaron’s little folly
Numbers 12 records the folly of Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ brother and sister, speaking against Moses, because of the Cushite woman he had married. This was just a smokescreen for their real grouse against Moses: “So they said, ‘Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us also?’” (Numbers 12:2 NKJV). They were just envious of Moses but by the time the Lord was through with them, making a difference between them and Moses, Miriam became leprous and Aaron began to admit their folly. “So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. So Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in which we have done foolishly and in which we have sinned. Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed when he comes out of his mother’s womb!’ So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘Please heal her, O God, I pray!’ Then the LORD said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and afterward she may be received again.’ So Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not journey till Miriam was brought in again. And afterward the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness of Paran” (Numbers 12:9-16 NKJV). A little folly!
Saul’s little folly
Look at Saul’s little folly in 1 Samuel 13. After waiting for Samuel for seven days, and he didn’t arrive, he took things for granted and offered a burnt offering to God, which he wasn’t qualified to do. That appeared little, but it was a little folly on his part. 1 Samuel 13:8-14 says, “Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.’ And he offered the burnt offering. Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. And Samuel said, ‘What have you done?’ Saul said, ‘When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, ‘You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you’” (NKJV).
That Samuel failed to come after waiting for him seven days that he had stipulated was no justification for Saul to offer the sacrifice he did. “You shall go down before me to Gilgal; and surely I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and make sacrifices of peace offerings. Seven days you shall wait, till I come to you and show you what you should do” (1 Samuel 10:8 NKJV).
But Samuel came as soon as he had offered the sacrifice. Saul wasn’t patient. Apparently, Samuel’s delay was a test for Saul, but, unfortunately, he failed. It showed he didn’t have regard for divine ordination. He had no regard for holy things, just as King Uzziah had done, presumably intruding into the office of priest to burn incense to God in the Temple. Not even the eighty-one priests could prevail on him not to enter into the temple. “Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land” (2 Chronicles 26:19-21 NKJV). That was a little folly on King Uzziah’s part. That he had succeeded as a king gave him no right to trespass into the office God had not called him into. Pride cost him his throne. Humility before God would have delivered him from this folly.
Back to Saul – Saul promoted sacrifice above obedience. He engaged in this same folly during the Amalekite assignment. He claimed the people spared the good animals to sacrifice to the LORD contrary to God’s command to him before the mission to utterly destroy everything. Samuel told him in rebuke, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 NKJV).
Don’t offer the sacrifice of a fool! What is important is obedience, not sacrifice. Because the Israelites thought all God desired was a sacrifice, He had to rebuke them in Psalm 50. “But I want no more bulls from your barns; I want no more goats from your pens. For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills. Every bird of the mountains and all the animals of the field belong to me. If I were hungry, I would not mention it to you, for all the world is mine and everything in it” (verses 9-12 NLT).
David’s little folly
Look at David’s little folly. He had been doing very well up till the time kings went to battle, but he decided to stay back. He delegated leadership to Joab. 1 Chronicles 20:1 says, “It happened in the spring of the year, at the time kings go out to battle, that Joab led out the armed forces and ravaged the country of the people of Ammon, and came and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. And Joab defeated Rabbah and overthrew it” (NKJV). Yes, Joab defeated Rabbah and overthrew it, but David, who stayed back home, was defeated by sexual immorality and conquered by lust. That little folly became a blemish on his walk with God. He committed sexual immorality with Bathsheba and murdered Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. Though God forgave him when he repented, he suffered the consequences of his little folly.
2 Samuel 12:7-15 says, “Then Nathan said to David, ‘You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in His sight? You have killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword; you have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the people of Ammon. Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.’ Thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun.’ So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the LORD.’ And Nathan said to David, ‘The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’ Then Nathan departed to his house” (NKJV).
The numbering of the Israelites was another little folly on David’s part. Against all pleas by Joab, he insisted the census must be done because Satan had stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1). After the exercise, the Bible says, “And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel. So David said to God, ‘I have sinned greatly, because I have done this thing; but now, I pray, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly” (1 Chronicles 21:7-8 NKJV). Because of this little folly of David, seventy thousand men of Israel died from the plague of judgment the LORD sent upon the land of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:14). May you not suffer for others’ folly in Jesus’ name, and may you not engage in folly that will endanger the lives of others.
King Asa of Judah’s little folly
King Asa of Judah’s little folly in putting his trust in King Ben-hadad of Syria to help him in the war by Baasha king of Israel against Judah. King Asa sent silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house to Ben-hadad king of Syria to break his treaty with Baasha king of Israel, so that he would withdraw from Judah. God was displeased with this. 2 Chronicles 16:7-10 says, “And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said to him: ‘Because you have relied on the king of Syria, and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Syria has escaped from your hand. Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand. For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.’ Then Asa was angry with the seer, and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him because of this. And Asa oppressed some of the people at that time” (NKJV).
It is folly to trust in man or replace trust in God with trust in somebody or something else. Isaiah 31:1-3 says, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, but who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the LORD! Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, And will not call back His words, but will arise against the house of evildoers, And against the help of those who work iniquity. Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out His hand, both he who helps will fall, and he who is helped will fall down; They all will perish together” (NKJV).
How to avoid a little folly
1. Study and meditate on the Word of God. You can’t avoid folly unless you know what God demands of you and how He wants you to live your life. This comes from study and meditation. “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word” (Psalm 119:148 NKJV). God’s Word is God’s will, and anything contrary to God’s will is folly. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 NKJV). It is the Word of God that you study and meditate on that will renew your mind. This will help you to think thoughts and take decisions that are in line with the Word of God and the will of God.
2. Cultivate a habit of willing obedience. “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:19-20 NKJV). Disobedience to the Word of God, which is the will of God, is folly. You’ll recall that after Saul had offered sacrifice, which he wasn’t qualified to offer, Samuel told him that he had done foolishly by not keeping the commandment of the LORD his God, which He commanded him (1 Samuel 13:13). Because of this, his kingdom was terminated. Disobeying God is folly.
3. Fear the Lord. The Bible says the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 11:10). It also says the fear of the LORD is wisdom and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:28). According to Proverbs 1:7, the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Folly is the opposite of wisdom. Wisdom is profitable to direct – wisdom brings success (Ecclesiastes 10:10). It will not direct you in the path of folly. By the fear of the LORD, men depart from evil (Proverbs 16:6). Invariably, if you fear the Lord, you’ll walk in the path of wisdom, and you’ll avoid folly.
4. Be sensitive. You need divine discernment to recognize a course of action that amounts to folly. “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly” (Proverbs 15:21 NKJV). You need sensitivity to know what is of the Lord and what is of the devil, and sensitivity is developed in the place of intimacy with the Lord. You must, therefore, cultivate intimacy with Him. “The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will. The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I do not rebel or turn away” (Isaiah 50:4-5 NLT). When you’re sensitive, you’ll do what the Lord wants you to do even when you don’t understand it or understand why He wants you to do it. “His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it’” (John 2:5 NKJV). That’s wisdom!
David wouldn’t have conducted the census which caused the death of 70,000 Israelites if he had been sensitive to know that it was the devil moving him to do it and not God. Only after he had done it did his folly dawn on him. But it was too late. Sensitivity will deliver you from demonic manipulation.
Sensitivity also includes being sensitive to divine counsel. God asked the people of Jerusalem, “Have you no wise people to counsel you? All are gone!” (Micah 4:9 NLT). Proverbs 8:33 says, “Listen to my counsel and be wise. Don’t ignore it” (NLT).
You should know when God is speaking to you through other people. If David had been sensitive to what Joab was saying those lives wouldn’t have been lost. Joab tried to discourage him from conducting the census, but David wouldn’t listen to him; he wasn’t sensitive enough to back out.
Balaam was insensitive to the refusal of his donkey to go forward, and he kept beating it until God opened the mouth of the donkey to speak like a human being and also opened his eyes to see the danger ahead of them on his desperate journey to honour Balaak’s invitation, which was contrary to God’s initial command (Numbers 22:21-34).
Be sensitive; it will preserve you. If only that young prophet had been sensitive, he wouldn’t have heeded the words of the old prophet to follow him home and eat contrary to God’s original instruction to him. But he succumbed to the lying spirit speaking through that old prophet – folly sometimes comes through distraction. The young prophet was distracted by that lying spirit and he died prematurely (1 Kings 13:13-24). I pray that you’ll be sensitive and your sensitivity shall not depart from you in Jesus’ name. Folly won’t kill you prematurely in Jesus’ name.
5. Spend quality time in prayer to find out the will of God. As I’ve said, anything outside the will of God is folly. Find out what God is saying, what God wants you to do before you act. Don’t assume; don’t presume. Engage in enquiry. That was the hallmark of David. He enquired of the LORD. 1 Samuel 23:1-5 records such an instance: “Then they told David, saying, ‘Look, the Philistines are fighting against Keilah, and they are robbing the threshing floors.’ Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I go and attack these Philistines?’ And the LORD said to David, ‘Go and attack the Philistines, and save Keilah.’ But David’s men said to him, ‘Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?’ Then David inquired of the LORD once again. And the LORD answered him and said, ‘Arise, go down to Keilah. For I will deliver the Philistines into your hand.’ And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines, struck them with a mighty blow, and took away their livestock. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah” (NKJV).
2 Samuel 5:17-19 also records another occasion when David enquired of the LORD before taking action. It says, “Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. So David inquired of the LORD, saying, ‘Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?’ And the LORD said to David, ‘Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand’” (NKJV).
David didn’t move until the LORD told him to move; therefore, the outstanding exploits that he made. On the two occasions that he acted in folly, which I discussed earlier (Bathsheba’s case and the census he conducted), he didn’t enquire of the LORD to know his mind; he did what seemed right in his own eyes. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 NKJV). Have you enquired of the Lord before going into that relationship, that project, that business, etc.?
6. Trust in the Lord. Don’t replace trust in the Lord with trust in men. It is a little folly to think that man can replace the Lord in your life. As I pointed out earlier, King Asa of Judah engaged in this folly. Earlier he had put his trust in the LORD, and he defeated the Ethiopians who had a superior army (2 Chronicles 14:11-13). But he acted foolishly when Baasha, the king of Israel, came up against Judah. Rather than trusting the LORD to give him victory, he went to buy the support of Ben-hadad, king of Syria with silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the LORD and of the king’s house so that he could help him frustrate Baasha’s plans (2 Chronicles 16:2).
On the surface, his action was a smart diplomatic move; to the natural man, he should be commended and not rebuked because he tried to outsmart his enemy. But God wasn’t pleased with him for doing this. He sent Hanani the seer to condemn his action and announce God’s judgment upon him for this little folly. “In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars” (2 Chronicles 16:9). Unfortunately, instead of repenting and asking for God’s forgiveness, he progressed further in his folly. He was angry with the seer as if the seer had delivered his own message, and not a message given him by God. Blinded by folly, he put the seer in prison and oppressed some of the people.
If Saul had trusted the LORD, he would have been patient enough for Samuel to arrive after waiting for him for seven days rather than going ahead to offer an unlawful sacrifice. If he had put his trust in the LORD, and not in his army, he wouldn’t have been under pressure to take an unlawful action just because the people were scattered from him (1 Samuel 13:8). Defending his action, Saul told Samuel that he “felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering” (verse 12 NKJV). But if he had trusted in the LORD, he would not have been compelled to do what was wrong. He would have subdued that temptation (Genesis 4:7).
Trust in the LORD would have made Saul unafraid of the Philistines. Trust in the LORD would have made him believe that it was not late yet for Samuel to come and for the LORD to defeat the Philistines. Isaiah 28:16 says he that believes shall not act hastily.
A man who will not engage in folly must trust in God to save him, no matter what. He must walk by faith and not by sight. You must believe in the capacity of your God even when everything around you appears to be collapsing.
Trust in the Lord would have made Saul believe that though the men of Israel were distressed and hiding in caves, thickets, rocks, holes, and pits and crossed over the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead (verse 6), the LORD will still give them victory. Trust in the LORD would have made him look beyond the fact that the people following him were trembling (verse 7). He should have looked for help from above. The people that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel 11:32).
Rather than trust in the LORD, Saul leaned on his own understanding. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV). Our brains alone are too small to run our lives! A proverb says, “Things are not always what they seem.” We need God’s guidance. Unless we trust in the LORD, we’re bound to engage in a little folly.
Jeremiah 17:5-8 compares the man who trusts in fellow man and the man who trusts in the LORD – the former is cursed and the latter is blessed. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (NKJV). Put your trust in the LORD and you’ll be blessed. Psalm 40:4 says “Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust” (NKJV). To trust in chariots and horses is folly – trust in the LORD your God (Psalm 20:7). By strength, no man shall prevail (1 Samuel 2:9). God does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man (Psalm 147:10).
7. Avoid fools. What partnership has light with darkness, and righteousness with unrighteousness? (2 Corinthians 6:14-16). There is simply no fellowship between them. What is the relationship between fools and wise people? If you want to avoid a little folly in your life, you must keep a distance from those who’re living their lives as fools so that they don’t influence you negatively. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm” (NLT).
If it is possible for whoever walks with the wise to become wise, it is logical to say that whoever walks with the foolish will become foolish. You should choose a wise company. Why are you making fraudsters, wife-beaters, sexually immoral people, liars, etc. your friends? I agree you may not be engaging in their sinful activities, but you’re exposing yourself to negative influences dangerous to your life. Bad company corrupts good character (1 Corinthians 15:33).
Nobody comes into your life and leaves you the same. These people are not godly people, and the Bible says, “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 NLT). The ungodly will give evil advice to their friends. Very soon you’ll begin to think like them, talk like them and act like them. Folly is not far from one who companies with fools. Avoid them. “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26 NKJV).
8. Humble yourself and repent of any folly. Proverbs 30:32 says, “If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, don’t brag about it — cover your mouth with your hand in shame” (NLT). Pride is folly; don’t engage in it. Pride leads to destruction; it leads to humiliation (Proverbs 16:18).
If you notice any folly in you, don’t rationalize it; don’t let it pass. Repent of it immediately, otherwise, you’ll persist in folly – you’ll commit other acts of folly. If only David had repented of his sin of sexual immorality with Bathsheba, he wouldn’t have gone into engaging in a cover-up which resulted in abuse of power, conspiracy, and murder. He killed a very loyal, dedicated, innocent officer –Uriah. He didn’t escape the punishment for this sin although God forgave his sin.
If only King Asa had repented when he was confronted with his folly of trusting in Ben-hadad of Syria instead of trusting in the LORD, who had helped him in the past as we read in 2 Chronicles 16. But he didn’t, because he couldn’t humble himself. Pride must have made him arrest and imprison the seer for daring to confront him with God’s message. Pride made him go further to oppress some of his subjects. He progressed in this pride – this folly – when in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, he developed a serious foot disease, and though the disease became life-threatening, he didn’t seek the LORD’s help – he only sought help from his physicians (2 Chronicles 16:12). He died of that foot disease! That’s what folly, a little folly, can do to a man’s thinking. It can make a man’s thinking warped, distorted. Genuine repentance is key to getting out of folly, otherwise, it becomes a spirit that will be controlling one. I pray that you’ll not go far in your folly; the Lord shall recall you and restore you to the path of wisdom.
Conclusion: Proverbs 26:11 says, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (NLT). That’s not a good way to live. Quit folly; don’t repeat any folly that you’ve identified in your life. Don’t ruin your life, your marriage, your business, your career, etc. Folly is dangerous both to the fool and those around people engaging in folly. According to Proverbs 17:12, “It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in folly” (NLT).
Repent of folly, and don’t return to it. Psalm 85:8 says, “I will hear what God the LORD will speak, for He will speak peace to His people and to His saints; but let them not turn back to folly” (NKJV).
I believe the Lord has ministered to you through this message. The Lord shall deliver you from folly that may have ruined or is seeking to ruin your marriage, relationships, business, ministry, etc. Henceforth, you shall have nothing to do with folly. The wisdom of God shall saturate your life in Jesus’ name. Your perfume shall be purified of any foul smell; your marriage, ministry, destiny, business, etc. shall smell good again. Hallelujah!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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