“Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him.”
The problem with foolish people is that they are foolishly stubborn. That is a funny thing to say, but the problem is that until the heart of the fool is changed, nothing will move them from their foolishness. This proverb tells us that even under circumstances of duress, a stubborn fool will not give up on his foolishness. Not even being “pounded by a pestle” will change him.
Scripture — especially the book of Proverbs — warns against stubborn arrogance. For example, Proverbs 13.10: “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.” The word translated “insolence” in this verse is the Hebrew word zadon. It means arrogance. It describes people who will not listen to advice, teaching, or correction.
Zadon people — arrogant people — think they know better than anyone else. They are their own reference point. Arrogant people create tension, strife, and stress in relationships and organizations. They are difficult to talk to and almost impossible to work with. Because they are self-deceived, arrogant people lack self-awareness.
On the other side are those who are open to instruction and correction; people open to new ideas and different perspectives. These are humble people, and their humility gives them access to wisdom. Humble people are confident, but they aren’t arrogant. They are easy to talk to and a joy to work with. They have high confidence and low ego.
It is a core principle of the kingdom: Arrogance distorts, deceives, and eventually destroys.
A great curse on humanity is man’s arrogant confidence. It is a severe handicap for a person to allow their opinions to unchallenged and their actions to go unchecked. Under the intoxicating influence of zadon, people make disastrous blunders. Proverbs 16.25 issues this warning: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
Don’t be stubborn. Don’t believe everything you think. Don’t get caught in the gravitational pull of self-centeredness. Walking with Jesus requires you to untether from your ego.
Seek humility, not arrogance.