Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Living in Wisdom, part 3: Is God being Cruel If He Laughs At Your Calamity?

Proverbs 1:7 prepares us for what the writer was inspired to teach. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7). This is the key verse for the entire book and it is here at the beginning that we must consent that what God has to teach us is complete and sufficient (either that, or He does not know what He is talking about, in which case it would be God’s will verses man’s will—and believe me when I say the struggle is not great for Him). We’ve already seen in 1:8-19 what God has to say to those who cast off instruction (“they lie in wait for their own blood, they ambush their own lives,” 1:18).

Wisdom can be difficult to describe and so that our feeble minds can grasp the concept, here we meet wisdom as a person. Proverbs 1:20 is the first time we meet Lady Wisdom, but this will not be the last time, as the imagery carries over in subsequent chapters. “Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; at the head of the noisy street she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city, she utters her sayings,” (Proverbs 1:20-21). Now, why would wisdom be causing such a ruckus? What is all this shouting about? Look down into verse 33, “But he who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil.” Wisdom knows something about unwise men she is desperate for someone to listen, so they will no longer be threatened by evil. Wisdom has seen what men do: “For their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed blood” (Proverbs 1:16). Listening to wisdom will be at peace and will rest securely as with a good friend. Evil brings no rest, no peace, no security, and certainly no friends. In the realm of evil, it is "every man for himself."

What is wisdom crying out, uttering? “How long will scoffers delight themselves in scoffing, and fools hate knowledge?” (Proverbs 1:22) As a parent, you realize that you can only tell a child only so many times about the dangers they face. “Don’t do that because you will hurt yourself.” Then they get older and your warning becomes, "I told you to stop, or you will get hurt!" Then the teenage years hit and all you can say is, “That’s really going to hurt.” There's not much more I can say other than, "how long are you going to keep this up?"

Look at verse 32, where wisdom asks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love simplicity? . . . for the waywardness of the simple shall kill them, and the complacency of fools shall destroy them.” She is shouting, “stop running to evil and run to me!” I remember when our granddaughter discovered she could run (and she hasn’t stopped, either). We took her outside to let her explore the yard and she took off like a wind-up toy . . . right for the street! Have you ever noticed how fast toddlers can run—and if they don’t run fast, then why is it so hard for adults to catch them? Can you imagine the scene? Yelling and running and screaming and chasing—and of course she thought it was funny, so she is laughing and running right down the driveway (don’t worry, we caught her—but you have the imagery here). This is wisdom shouting after people running pell mell directly into danger, "Stop, or you will be destroyed!"

The direct connection between the fear of the Lord and gaining wisdom is seen in verse 23, "If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you." There are two beautiful truths here. First, God's Word is amazing in the ways it teaches (shows us what we should be doing) and reproves or rebukes (shows us where we fail); but, it does not leave us stranded there. God's Word also instructs (shows us what we should be doing) and trains in righteousness (gives us a game plan to do what we should be doing). Second, God gives us His Holy Spirit in order for us to BE what we could not or would not be and to DO what we could not or would not do. If you will allow God to do His work of wisdom in you, He gives His Word that He will help us learn about life and living in ways that we did not know before. Not everyone will accept God's counsel and will hate what God is doing because it wrecks their own plans for their own lives (verse 30).

Watch what happens here in the next set of verses. The principles are amazing:

  • God calls out, offering help and He is refused (v. 24);
  • How?  His counsel is neglected and His reproof is unwanted (v. 25);
  • What will happen?  God will laugh and mock at the stormy disaster of your life (v. 26-27);
  • How? You will call for help and God will refuse (v. 28);
  • Why? Knowledge and fear of the Lord are unwanted (v. 29);
Is God being cruel if He laughs?  Let us first ask if a man being cruel to himself when he rejects help being offered?  What kind of laughter is it?  It is not the laughter of pleasure in watching somone suffer; rather, it is the laughter of a father who has nothing left to say other than, "that's really going to hurt."  It's the kind of laugh you give a hobo who declines your offer to buy him something to eat when he asks you for some change.  It's as ridiculous as 2:20 - 2:35 in the video below:

And you KNOW there are people like that!

If a man chooses his own way instead of God’s way, a man will eat of his own fruit and be filled with those things with which he saturates himself (Proverbs 1:31).

Fearing God and being motivated by love for Him is living in wisdom, which is the way of life.  Should a person chose love for himself over love for God, a person destroys himself.

"He who listens to me shall live securely, and shall be at ease from the dread of evil.” (Proverbs 1:33)

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