Have you ever been in a position where you were absolutely convinced and totally certain that you were correct on a matter? You searched high and low, you studied, you did your research, you conducted your analysis, you gave heed to your observations and by all accounts there was corroborated evidence by fellow witnesses; yet, in the end, you were proven wrong. This is essence of what we learn in the closing section of Proverbs 1:20-33. Do not hasten to reject God’s wisdom. Listen to it. Do not give into sin lest you be proven wrong. Do not be needlessly rebuked. Do not refuse God’s wisdom.
In the third section of Proverbs 1:20-33, I’ve broken them into four parts:
- A Prelude: Verse 20-21
- The Problem: Verses 22-25
- The Consequence: Verse 26-31
- Death Verse 32
- Life Verse 33
20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; 21 on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:Proverbs 1:20-21
The prelude points us to a simple reality: God’s wisdom is in fact available to us. God’s wisdom isn’t a secret wisdom that one must search in deep dark dungeons, or journey across the great torrential seas or quietly meditate in solitude days-on-end hoping for a scratch of insight. No! God’s wisdom is available and has made itself known for all.
The wisdom of God is available in the Word of God, and as we learn in Proverbs 1:7, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of this wisdom. God is all wise and we learn the wisdom we need by fearing the God who is all wise; the God of the Bible.
What does it mean that wisdom “calls aloud”, “raises her voice”, “cries out” and “makes her speech”? The answer to this question is at least two-fold. 1) It is found in the very fact of our need for wisdom. The fact of our need for wisdom is so obviously apparent that 2) When confronted with the prospect of God, it’s as if God’s wisdom is yelling at us to follow along. In comparison, God’s wisdom is like a massive behemoth and our wisdom is like an baby ant. So, our need for wisdom demands a response and the prospect of God demands a response, too. In the end, we will either follow our instincts and trust our judgement or we will heed God and his ways. Also see Psalms 19:1-6 and Romans 1:20-24.
The problem of course is that we refuse God’s wisdom. We prefer our own wisdom. We prefer our own wisdom because we can touch, taste and see our own wisdom. We can’t see God and so we are hard pressed to obey his wisdom, much less fear him whom we can’t see.
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23 Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. 24 But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, 25 since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke,Proverbs 1:22-25
When compared to God’s wisdom, we prove that we are simple. When we follow our own wisdom, we mock God and even demonstrate hatred of God, his knowledge and his wisdom. The core problem is a heart that is basically inclined to refuse to listen to God. It is a heart stubbornly resisting correction from God by and through his wisdom. Due to our simplistic attitude and mocking spirit, we show ourselves to be unwilling to listen to God and pay attention to what he has to say on a matter.
It is a dangerous thing to disregard God’s wisdom, especially when by a simple correction toward God’s wisdom we are promised full access to God’s thoughts and the safe security of God’s guiding hand in all our circumstances.
But yet again, due to our unrepentant heart, we:
- Love simplicity, which means we love ourselves
- Delight in mockery which means, we hate God
- Hate knowledge, which means, we think we know best
- Refuse to listen or pay attention, which means, we want to go it alone without God
As a result of this, we will be judged accordingly. The wisdom of God will treat us according to what our sins deserve. Wisdom will do to us what we’ve been doing to God’s wisdom. Wisdom will laugh at us and it will mock us.
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you– 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, 29 since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD. 30 Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.Proverbs 1:26-31
Does this seem harsh? It may seem harsher if there was an active component to this laughing and mockery. Rather, this is what will become of us as we face circumstances of life where wisdom is particularly needed yet we still refuse God’s wisdom. God will not be slow in wisely lift off his protective hand whereby we endure the full consequence of our sin (vs 31).
Trouble and distress are part of the every day experience across the sphere of humanity. Not every individual is as needy as they could be; yet, we are all needy such that we need God’s wisdom to help us especially when calamity and disaster come our way; when distress and trouble “overwhelm” us.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
- Have you ever been distressed and overwhelmed? Have you have ever felt like calamity was overtaking your life like a storm or disaster was sweeping over you like a whirlwind?
- Name a few distressing moments in your life. What was the wisdom you recall needing in those moments.
- Look back at a time when you felt your whole life was being totally consumed by the distress, struggle, difficulty, hardship, suffering, pain, toil of life, and the ever present sense of being overwhelmed beyond your means. What was the wisdom you needed at that time and what ways do you (or did you) rely on your wisdom and experience?
- How long does it take for you to ask for God’s wisdom? Do you wait until disaster strikes?
- How are you prone to going it alone without God?
- What does your heart look like when you are facing hard times?
Again, it’s not as if God is out to get anyone who refuses him. Rather, there is a “natural” consequence to our sin. The way of sin and the refusal to listen to and heeds God’s wisdom is a terrible thing and only serves as our own judgment. In the end we will be left alone without God. In the end, we will die alone without God.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”Proverbs 1:32-33
So it might be fair to say that God provides two kinds of promises – one for the sinner in their sin, one for the person who listens to God. To the one who, in their heart refuses to listen and obey God will find themselves destroyed. Whatever happiness or other supposed gain they sought to attain will prove to be their undoing. The object of their affections will actually destroy them. Yet for those one who listen to God, even though they may not get everything they want out of this life, they will still life in safety without fear.
When you look closely at Proverbs 1:32-33, we see that the promise of God for the sinner who refuses God is death and destruction. The promise for those who fear God is peace and safety.Tweet
Do not find yourself being laughed at by God’s wisdom. It is obvious that you need wisdom. I trust you realize that. But do you realize you need God’s wisdom? Do you realize that not only is God’s superior to our own but we will receive full access to God’s wisdom when we refuse to listen to and obey our wisdom.
You will not be as fully mature as can be like an overnight success, but you will live in safety in the moment of need when you listen and to obey God’s wise instruction. His teaching can help you no matter what is going on in your life. But in order to get the wisdom take heed to God. So do not refuse God’s wisdom.