Proverbs 17:21

He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,
and the father of a fool has no joy.

Too many parents can nod their heads to this proverb. Others may laugh at a fool, shake their heads in disdain or pity. The parent (father or mother) weeps. The father hangs his head in shame and the mother in sorrow. They had hopes for their child; their delight was in the pleasure he would bring. And especially in ancient times, they looked to him to provide for them in their old age. But the fool becomes their thorn in the side. When they see children devoted to their parents, they ache. When they see children grow up to be mature men and women, they cannot help but contrast their foolish child. The fool robs his parents of joy.

The fool does not think about this. He thinks only of himself, and if he thinks of his parents, he blames them for all his calamities which are many. If they had given him what he wanted…

How can we meditate on this proverb without thinking of our heavenly Father who must put up with our foolish ways? For though he has saved us and adopted us, though his Spirit dwells within us, we continue to act foolishly. Do we not cause him shame? Does he not grieve over us for whom he paid such a great price?

No? What is this? “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:8-9). Is this our Father running to meet us from a distance? Is this the Father seeking after us after wandering away from his flock? Is this our Father loving us with a steadfast love that cannot be deterred, not even by our foolishness, because it is in Christ Jesus our Lord?

Perhaps our greatest folly is to doubt what he has done for us in adopting us as his children. The more our confidence is founded in the work of God for us, and not our work for him, then the less folly we will fall into. God has sired no fools.

© 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page, or embed the entire material hosted on Tenth channels. You may not re-upload the material in its entirety. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Tenth Presbyterian Church.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: