Who made up the jingle that goes ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’? Names will never hurt me? Are you kidding? Name-calling lingers in our memory-banks for decades and decades. Watch what you say. Wish I could take back some foolish names I’ve called others. Very careful in my older years to watch what I say, and to quickly ask for forgiveness when I overstep my bounds.
You too? Watch what you say? Names can hurt worse than broken bones. Feelings don’t heal as quickly. I’m thinking of a name in the Old Testament of a man who acted foolishly in his life. His name was Nabal. His wife was Abigail. When asked to help supply King David’s men, he summarily dismissed them without lifting a finger (1 Samuel 25). ‘Forget it’, he barked. His story didn’t end well. He was foolish. Nabal in Hebrew meant exactly that–‘fool’.
Turn to Isaiah 32. The contrast of the fool and the noble. Which would you rather be? Foolish question! The Bible says that the fool is a scoundrel. who plots all kinds of folly. Has a heart for sin. Relishes the next commandment to break. The only thing he can’t resist is giving in to the next temptation. He shakes his fist in defiance at godly things. Flaunts rebellion. Never satisfied with ungodly cravings. Greedy and selfish, he could care less. Wicked people plotting wicked schemes. That’s what Isaiah says here in chapter 32, with all listed under the category of ‘nabal’… fools!
The contrast? Between the fool and the noble? It’s interesting. The word for ‘noble’ in Hebrew is ‘nabiv’, having 2 of the same 3 consonants as ‘fool’. Very close…but not a cigar! Close… yet mirror opposites. For ‘noble’ means someone who is magnanimous. The ‘noble’ person is free with kindness and encouragement. Giving and sharing. The Hebrew carries the connotation of not only having an attitude of generosity, but a willingness to take a positive course of action. Not only doing as I say, but also doing it!
I used to take required continuing education classes and tests from a company called Noble. To keep my securities and insurance licenses current in our state, you had to study for and pass difficult exams for fifteen credits every 2 years. Needed to keep current in our business skills, so that we would do the very best job for our clients. When it comes to godly living, I’d like to pass the Noble test for generosity and encouragement. To do my best for Him. Would be foolish to do anything less! Passed your noble test yet?
Prayer: Lord, we know how foolish it is not to follow you. Give us your strength to be consistent. In Jesus’ name. Amen.