Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 5 May 2013
Page 7

Priscilla's Page Editor's Note

You Have Done Foolishly

Marilyn LaStrapeFoolish is defined as resulting from or showing a lack of sense; lacking forethought or caution; trifling, insignificant or paltry. When honestly contemplated, virtually all of us must admit to acting at times in some of these ways.

How do we react when we are told we have done foolishly? Can we admit to ourselves when we have done foolishly? Perhaps more importantly, how long does it take for us to at least make the attempt to remedy the ramifications of our foolishness?

The Bible records several instances of the statement, “You have done foolishly,” “I have done foolishly” or “I have done very foolishly.” Some of these people in the Word may surprise us in not only who they were, but also in what they did that was so very foolish.

The first recorded account occurs in Genesis 31. Jacob had made the decision to flee from Laban, his father-in-law, with everything that belonged to him along with his wives Leah and Rachel and his children to return to his homeland. Laban found out about it, pursued and overtook them. He said to Jacob, “Why did you flee away secretly, and steal away from me, and not tell me; for I might have sent you away with joy and songs, with timbrel and harp? And you did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters. Now you have done foolishly in so doing” (vs. 27-28). Consequently, an agreement was reached between Jacob and Laban; Jacob continued on his journey back home and Laban returned to his place.

In Numbers 12, Aaron and Miriam spoke against Moses by asking if God had indeed spoken only through him and not through them also. When God heard this, He commanded the three of them to come out to the tabernacle of meeting. God let them know quite candidly that Moses was faithful in all His house, and He spoke with His servant Moses face to face. God asked Aaron and Miriam, “Why then were you not afraid to speak against My servant Moses?” (vs. 8).

God’s anger was aroused against them, and suddenly Miriam became leprous! “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!’” (Numbers 12:11-12). So Moses cried out to God, pleading prayerfully for Him to heal Miriam. God did so, but after she had been shut out of the camp for seven days.

Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 10:1-8). Samuel instructed Saul to wait for seven days until he came to him and showed him what to do. Saul made an unlawful sacrifice despite the instructions Samuel had given to him. This was Saul’s first act of willful disobedience. Samuel told Saul, in 1 Samuel 13:13-14 “…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.”

First Samuel 15 records Saul’s second act of willful disobedience. Through Samuel, God had commanded Saul to attack and destroy the Amalekites because of their ambush of Israel when they came up from Egypt. Saul did not fully do as he had been commanded, and attempted to give what he thought were good reasons for his actions. Samuel told Saul to be quiet because his actions were nothing less than rebellion and stubbornness. Samuel mourned for Saul because God rejected him as king and He regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel (1 Samuel 15:35).

Saul highly resented David when God told him David had been chosen as his successor. Saul sought repeatedly to put David to death. However, David refused to raise his hand against Saul as God’s anointed even though he had ideal opportunities to kill Saul. When Saul realized David had spared his life again, he said, “…I have sinned. Return, my son David. For I will harm you no more, because my life was precious in your eyes this day. Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly” (1 Samuel 26:21).

During David’s reign as king, he commanded Joab, the commander of his army to take a census of Israel and Judah. Joab attempted to reason with David by asking him why he desired this to be done because it was completely unnecessary. Nevertheless David’s word prevailed against Joab, so Joab and the captains of the army went out and counted the people. It took them nine months and twenty days to accomplish this useless task (2 Samuel 24:1-9)!

Verse 10 reads, “And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly.’” God gave David three choices as He judged his sin (2 Samuel 24:12-14). David chose three days plague as the consequence for his sin of numbering Israel and Judah. “And David built there an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the LORD heeded the prayers for the land, and the plague was withdrawn from Israel” (2 Samuel 24:25).

For all of those who have lived, for all of us now living and those yet to live, Psalm 69:5 is piercing through and through as it states, “O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You.”

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