Proverbs 10:23

Proverbs 10:23 "It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom."
Proverbs 10:23 Baptist Church Buffalo NY
The Bible uses the word, “sport” or a variation of it in a number of passages.  It isn’t used exactly as we use it today in our culture but it carries a similar meaning.  When we use the word, “sport,” we’re almost always referring to an athletic activity.  When we use the word, “sporting,” as in “sporting event,” we’re referring to a specific type of athletic activity.  When we use the word, “sport,” we’re typically referring to something like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, golf, tennis, etc.  The word, “sport” first occurs in the Bible in the Book of Genesis where it describes Isaac “sporting” with his wife, Rebekah.  They weren’t kicking the soccer ball around or engaging in some ancient athletic activity.  Isaac was smooching on his pretty lady!  He was playing romantically with his wife.  He was showering his wife with romantic affection.  Isaac was pleasing his wife with love.  The Book of Judges uses the word, “sport” multiple times when recording the final days of Samson’s life.  The Philistines wanted him to be brought before the people to “make them sport.”  The enemies of Samson wanted him to come out and entertain them in his shackles and in his humiliation. They wanted his blindness and weakness to bring them pleasure.  Just as modern “sports” entertain us and bring us pleasure, Biblical “sport” or “sporting” is a matter of entertainment and pleasure.

When Solomon writes, “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief,” he is telling us that mischief to a fool is entertaining and enjoyable.  Mischief is just a game to a fool.  Mischief to a fool is football to our Buffalonian culture.  A fool finds pleasure in initiating and participating in mischief.  A fool finds pleasure in watching & applauding mischief.  A fool lacks sobriety and gravity. He doesn’t see the harm in mischief.  He doesn’t see the consequences in mischief.  He doesn’t see the pain in mischief.  A fool uses a vehicle for mischief and doesn’t realize how much damage he can cause.  A fool uses alcohol and drugs for mischief and doesn’t consider how many lives he can ruin.
 
Solomon desperately wanted his primary audience, young people, to get wisdom.  Without it, young men and young women will treat mischief as just a game.  Young people void of wisdom do dangerous things and find it entertaining and fun.  As a teen, I remember one summer evening getting a ride from an older basketball teammate to a game in Kenmore, which required driving down I90.  This older teammate thought it hilarious to drive the whole way to the game at high speeds using as many lanes as possible with only his knees!  It was just a game to him.  Deprived of wisdom at birth, children are drawn to mischief when paired up with other kids.  Little boys are notorious for entertaining themselves with mischief.  Parents and teachers can hear them giggling as they approach the bathroom where they find the boys splashing toilet water all over the place.  As children age, the mischief gets more serious and sadly, more dangerous.  Without wisdom, children grow in age and in mischief as they seek greater thrill and greater entertainment.  They graduate from splashing toilet water to dropping a cherry bomb in the school toilet.  They graduate from drawing on walls with crayon to painting on bridges with graffiti.  To fools, mischief is just a game.

Wisdom cannot be seen by our sons and daughters as optional.  Wisdom cannot be seen by our nephews and nieces or by our grandsons and granddaughters as optional.  Without wisdom, a young soul lacks understanding.  Without wisdom, a young person can’t see on the other side of mischief.  Without wisdom, a young person can’t see how easily and how quickly lives can be ruined by mischief.  Take swatting for example.  Swatting is contacting the 9-1-1 with a false claim of danger in order to send law enforcement to someone’s house as a prank.  Online gamers have done this all over the world from all over the world to prank online rivals.  Gamers who have no wisdom find this entertaining.  Gamers who lack wisdom see this mischief as just a game.  To law enforcement, it’s not a game at all.  To men and women carrying lethal equipment and prepared to face potentially lethal threats, it’s not a game at all.  To the family of Andrew Finch, swatting is not a game.  On the night of December 28, 2017, Andrew Finch was minding his own business in his Wichita, Kansas home until he heard a knock on his door.  When he opened the door, he was alarmed and surprised to find a police tactical unit shouting at him.  Tragically, a police weapon was discharged and this 28-year-old father of two was killed.  When the dust settled, it was determined that there was online dispute over the video game, Call of Duty: WWII that led to a swatting call.  Gamers, Casey Viner and Shane Gaskill disputed over losing $1.50 in a Call of Duty tournament, which resulted in Viner threatening to have Gaskill swatted.  Gaskill provided a false address for his residence and Viner asked a well-known swatter by the name of Tyler Barriss to make the fraudulent call.  At the end of the day, a man was dead, Barriss was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison, Viner was sentenced to 15 months in prison, Gaskill was sentenced to 2 years of probation and a police officer has to live the rest of his life knowing he took an innocent’s man life.  Mischief is not a game but fools only learn this fact the hard way.

Without wisdom, mischief in a car or with a weapon is seen as just a game.  Without wisdom, mischief with a phone or a computer is seen as just a game.  Without wisdom, mischief with a young boy or a young lady is seen as just a game.  With wisdom however, a young man will avoid mischief because he will see the potential harm in it.  With wisdom, a young woman will avoid mischief because she will understand what could happen.  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom.

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