An old expression says, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” The phrase dates from Alexander Pope’s “An Essay on Criticism” published in 1711 and refers to inexperienced people who rush into situations that wiser people would avoid. For instance, a number of young people have eaten Tide detergent pods on a dare. As the Washington Post said, “We don’t need to tell you that’s a bad idea.” (Lindsey Bever, January 17, 2018) “Fools rush in…”

The apostle Paul wrote, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5, ESV)

All of these things are clearly condemned in scripture and all of them bear certain consequences. None of them are new to our day and age. History bears witness to the fact that they have been practiced for centuries. But, it does seem that these things are more prominent than ever before and accepted as the norm rather than the exception. It seems obvious that there is no fear of God among many. “Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.” (Ps. 36:1-3) There are eternal consequences but, “Fools rush in…”

In addition to the eternal consequences, there are other problems that arise from the things Paul listed in his epistle to Timothy. Lack of respect for authority, loss of moral control, slanderous speech, arrogance, recklessness and the like result in an environment that is dangerous to all and cause chaos. No good thing comes from the things Paul mentioned, and yet, people rush headlong into these practices. The news outlets remind us on a daily basis of the problems created in the world when we forsake the wise counsel of God and pursue our own way. “Fools rush in…”

 Will we ever learn? The indications are that we will not. At least not until it is too late. I am not one who sees an apocalypse in every event or alignment of the stars. But, Paul did say that these things would be in “the last days.” I don’t know if we are in “THE last days” or not. But, I do know that we are living in difficult times because “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”


    Gary Knuckles is minister at the  Briensburg Church of Christ, Briensburg, KY.