What Makes One Foolish?

1 Samuel 26:21, "Then said Saul, 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."

It seems to me Saul had a difficult time with genuine repentance. In this passage, he admits his sin against David, but as at other times he refuses to change. David had multiple opportunities to kill Saul, but didn't, because he refused to lift his hand against the LORD's anointed (vs. 11). Saul continued to feed his flesh with envy, and the result was that God's Spirit had departed from him, and he alienated one of his greatest human allies in David. Saul became so desperate that in chapter 28 he got help from a witch (vs. 7). What a spiritual decline!!! Saul descends from being anointed king over Israel with the Spirit of God resting upon him (1 Sam. 10:6), to having a witch bring up Samuel to prophecy Saul's death.

Saul had correctly summarized his actions in today's verse, "...I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly." Saul was a man who persisted in his folly. His admissions didn't mean much, because he didn't keep his word. He would receive a momentary piece of light from God, but it was soon gone, because he failed to live in obedience to God. The Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary states: "There is no sinner so hardened, but that God gives him now and then some rays of light, which show him all his error. But, alas! when they are awakened by such divine moving, it is only for a few moments; and such impulses are no sooner past, than they fall back again immediately into their former life, and forget all that they have promised." Have you fallen away from God?  Have you lost ground to the devil?  Are you now living in the flesh?  Only you can change such a direction, you must permanently change direction. 

The fool does many things; but most of all, when he hears God's Word he doesn't apply it to his life and refuses to obey it. Saul had many opportunities to repent, but that time had now past. A fool simply rejects God's wisdom and commandments, and this Saul did well.

I want to close by referencing two verses:

  • Proverbs 14:16, "A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident."

  • Proverbs 3:35, "The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools."

May we always fear God and heed His Word.

Your Friend and HIS,
Pastor Abbott


1.  What bad things do you feed your soul?

2. Saul filled his life with jealousy and envy?  How did this impact him?

3.  Have you ever "played the fool?"  What did you do to correct your folly?

4.  Are you living today in the power of the Holy Spirit?  If not what will you do to change your condition?