Chapter
Verse

Proverbs 19:3

ESV When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD.
NIV A person's own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.
NASB The foolishness of a person ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord.
CSB A person's own foolishness leads him astray, yet his heart rages against the Lord.
NLT People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.
KJV The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.

What does Proverbs 19:3 mean?

The reasons "why" a person suffers don't erase the fact of their suffering; even those who bring pain on themselves are still in pain. Being at fault does not make someone's hardship any less difficult. Of course, not all suffering is self-inflicted (John 16:33; 1 Peter 3:17). Yet it's undeniably true that human nature seeks to blame others for our own choices. Mankind has a tragic habit of ignoring reason and advice, only to blame God when the predicted consequences come to pass. The question "why did God do this to me?" often deflects from that fact that we, ourselves, are the main culprit.

In the biblical context, a "fool" is a person who ignores godly wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7; 3:1–8). Many statements in the book of Proverbs warn about the dangers of foolishness (Proverbs 3:35; 10:8, 10, 21; 13:13; 14:16; 16:18). When those predicted outcomes happen, "fools" will blame God for what has happened.

In the face of the approaching invasion into Israel, Isaiah 8:21 predicts, "They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward."

A similar incident of blaming God will occur in the tribulation: when God judges the kingdom of the beast. Instead of repenting of their evil ways, the followers of the beast will blame God for their trouble. Revelation 16:8–11 reports: "The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were scorched by the fierce heat, and they cursed the name of God who had power over these plagues. They did not repent and give him glory. The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness. People gnawed their tongues in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds."
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