There are people in life that you cannot speak to or teach. That is one of the irrefutable facts of life that you need to realize and embrace . . . or go crazy. Proverbs addresses this fact today.
The fool is a dull, thickheaded, stubborn person who will not welcome or allow God's wisdom into his life. Proverbs 1:7 reminds us that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Three different words are translated fool in the Old Testament, and none of them are particularly flattering to the one who is a fool. The first is the Hebrew word "kesl" which speaks of someone who is spiritually dull and characterized by a mind closed to God and His Word. He is thickheaded and very stubborn in holding to his own ways, his own thoughts, and his own ideas. This person will usually reject information from others - and is especially beligerent toward information from God. This is the word used most often for fool throughout the book of Proverbs - and is the word used here. The second word for fool is "nabal" which refers to one who lacks any kind of spiritual perception or discernment. The third word for fool is "ewl" and speaks of the one who is arrogant, flippant, and mentally dull. he is also hardened in his ways and unwilling to change in response to information from others - and once again even more so when it comes to information from the Word or the Spirit of God. This is the person to whom you are speaking - who is either hearing you speak directly to him - or indirectly hears what you are saying. We need to see here that we are not even to speak in the "hearing" of a fool.
This guy will not listen - his mind is closed to the things of God - and thus his ears are too. He is settled in his ungodly and worldly thinking. He will not just reject your words - he will despise them. The word despise is the Hebrew "buz" and means to hold in contempt and utter disrespect. What we have said here in Proverbs 23:9 is the same as we read in chatper 1 verse 7. They hate the wisdom of God. This probably sounds harsh to some who read this and react with the template of being tolerant of everyone's views. The problem though is not with the person who knows and loves God's wisdom - it is with the fool who is anything but tolerant of God's views. It is so important that we remember that God's wisdom is simply seeing things from God's perspective. We learn to look at things the way that God looks at them. We want to have His mindset and His heart. But when the fool hears these things - he reacts with disgust - even hatred! He wants NOTHING to do with God's Word or His ways.
We see this in our society more and more. Those who are unsaved are becoming more and more hardened in their ways. They accuse us of intolerance - and yet as we love them and share the truth with them - it is they who are the intolerant. It is not that they just disagree with us - they want our views labelled as "hate speech" and forbidden from public discourse. They radically and hatefully respond to our views of morality - and see them as an afront to their very existance. Therefore when we speak - they will react strongly to us. Some will even become so angry that they will attempt to shout us down or shut us down. Others will go as far as taking our views to court to see them labelled as illegal. Thus they not only reject them - they reject having them spoken out loud even when they are not present.
So how do we deal with this? First, we do what Proverbs says. We realize a fool when we run into one - and we don't speak in their hearing. It is not that we hide from them or take our message underground. We just simply speak to others instead of them. This is a tricky thing to manage, because we don't want to refuse the gospel to people. Paul was very harsh toward Christians before he was saved - yet the Lord wanted him to hear the gospel. Some who persectued the church - came to Christ simply because those persectured shared their faith with them. So, we approach this with wisdom and the leadership of the Spirit - not just our own tendency to react to the more strident in their views among the wicked. This being said, we do exercise wisdom and share with those who receive the message. To do otherwise would be to waste the message with those who will reject it outright. Even Jesus told us not to throw the pearls of the gospel before swine. He said that they would trample them under foot and turn to attack us. Kinda sounds like what Solomon is seeking to tell us here. So be wise - share the gospel and the wisdom of God freely - but be wise with those who reject it violently. Share with those who have a heart to hear - a heart where God is granting them ears to hear and a heart to respond to the Spirit's moving. They won't despise the Word or the wisdom of God. They will embrace it and prove it by the change that they experience in their lives.