"Proud," "Haughty," "Scoffer," are his names, Who acts with insolent pride. Proverbs 21:24
Here we have a proverb that gives us a great deal of information about the proud man. There are four terms that are used to describe this proud person. The last of them speaks of the actions of this person - the first threee of the heart or mindset that gives rise to such pride.
The actions of the proud person are said to be those of insolent pride. The word insolent means to presume or to assume that you are right. This person is has presumptuous pride - he is already filled with himself - but to a level where he thinks he is always right and everyone else is always wrong. It can be a frustrating experience to come upon someone like this because they almost never think they are wrong. Everyone else is wrong - and their ideas - their thoughts - their desires are the best. What leads up to a person thinking and reasoning like this? We are told there are three attitudes that bring such a way of living to the forefront of someone's life.
We are told that this person is "proud." The Hebrew word used here is "zed" and it speaks of pride itself. It is the word used most often in the Old Testament to speak of pride. There are three specific aspects of pride that are contained in this word. The first is that of presumption. The proud man presumes always in his own favor. As was said earlier - he thinks he is always right and everyone else is wrong. The is especially the case in regards to authority. The proud man thinks he has all the authority in the world to speak. He is the expert and everyone should listen to his wonderful ideas and thoughts. The second aspect of pride is that it is both rebellious and disobedient. The prideful man sees know reason to obey anyone except himself. Therefore if God's will (or anyone elses for that matter) opposes what he thinks he wants to do - he arrogantly assumes that his will is better and does it in rebellion and willful disobedience to God's. The third aspect to pride here is closely tied to the second - and that is a willful decision to do whatever it wants. The proud man doesn't respond to God - he responds to himself.
Haughty is the second word that is used to speak of the inward working of the proud man. This is the Hebrew word "yawhir" which means to be full of ourselves. The proud man is narcissically self-centered and self-assured at all times. This guys has an ego the size of an entire city - and that ego makes him think that all that matters is what he wants.
The third word used is "scoffer." This is the Hebew word "liyus" which means boast, scorn, mock, or deride another. The proud man mocks everyone else - and all ideas that do not agree with his own. He speaks in contempt of these things - and mocks them mercilessly to make them seek goofy in comparison to his own wonderful thoughts. This is even more so in reference to God and God's Word. He mocks it as an old, outdated book - as ideas that arose from hucksters and charlatans. He has no respect for God or for His Word which reverals God to us.
When these three motivations are put together it leads to a very arrogant proud person to is so prideful that it reeks. It is these things we need to seek to avoid - because as Scripture says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. A wise man recognizes these things in his own life - and then humbles himself for God to do a deep work in his character so that he does not live his life in a sad, unusable prideful way.
A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. Proverbs 19:28
Justice is a major concept throughout the book of Proverbs. It should also be a major concern of any society that wants to endure. When a people know that there is justice, there is peace and stability. When people begin to suspect that justice is lost - there is unrest, discontent, and even rioting. Therefore, the process of justice, which always involves witnesses, is vitally important.
The "rascally witness" is actually a worthless man who has no qualms about distorting his testimony or lying on the witness stand. The word here is "belial" and it refers to someone who is wothrless because they have no moral fiber. They are good for nothing, are often seen as perjerers, and are among those who live in constant rebellion to the king or the government. This makes them unfit to serve as a witness to anything other than their own wickedness and sin. When this kind of man is on the stand - there is a complete mockery of justice. This godless man mocks and derides the entire idea of justice. He will make his own justice and his own judgments - often with no reference to justice or true righteousness.
We are also told that the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. The actual word for "spreads" here means to swallow something or engulf it. What the wicked man does is swallow iniquity. He enjoys sin and iniquity like the average person does delicious dish made for him. He considers sin and evil something to be consumed - not something to be avoided. when there is wickedness to swallow down - he swallows it wholeheartedly.
One other thing about this lying, false witness is his name throughout history. Here we have the phrase "a witness of belial," meaning a worthless witness - but it also means a witness of the devil. World history has had many of the "sons of belial" and many of his witnesses as well. Muhammed, Joseph Smith, Karl Marrx, and Adoph Hitler are only a few of these sons of belial. They have borne false witness of God - and have led many thousands into religious and political error. But there is one last son of Belial that will top all the others. In Revelation 13
we see the ultimate "false witness" rise up looking like a lamb - yet speaking like a dragon. He speaks powerful lies and deceives the world promoting the Beast and the Antichrist in the last days. He is the ultimate liar - will mock justice in a way that none have done in all history - and will spread iniquity, sin, misery, and death like no other. This is why a title like "witness of belial" is one we should shrink back in horror at receiving. It is also why we want to be known as people of truth - and ultimately people of THE truth of the gospel. Then we will not be known for spreading iniquity, but rather spreading righteousness. We will spread the ultimate story of God's justice at the cross - and the life that it gives to those who receive it.
Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. Proverbs 3:34
How does God respond to those who scoff at Him? The first half of our proverb for today reveals that to us - then shares some very wonderful news with us about how the Lord responds to those who are afflicted.
God is a God of grace and mercy - but He is not happy with those who mock and scoff at Him and His Word. Here in Proverbs 3:34
we find a strong statement about how God reacts to the ones who are scoffing at Him. We read that God responds with scoffing toward them. The "scoffer" is one who mocks God. He derides the Lord and holds Him in utter contempt - even boasting against the Lord. What God promises to these who mock Him is mocking in return. The difference here is that the human who is insane enough to mock God, does nothing to God by His mocking. He is powerless to have any affect on God's glory or anything to do with God. On the other hand - God's mocking and utter contempt comes with an eternity of consequences - literally! The mocker who thinks himself so powerful has less effect than a flea has as it crashes into an aircraft carrier as it speeds through the ocean. So the one hurt by these actions is the mocker himself - whose mocking is only storing up wrath for himself when God ultimately comes to humble the arrogant.
The promise though is not just scoffing to the scoffer - but also grace to the afflicted. The word afflicted here is the Hebrew word "anaw" which has a much wider range than just the afflicted. It means one who is poor, oppressed, afflicted, and humble. This "afflicted one" is not proud, haughty, self-advancing, or self-assertive when it comes to standing before God. He is humble. He puts himself intentionally in a low and meek position. He does not view himself in comparison to men - either presently or in the past. He takes a good look at God and does the only wise thing a man can do - he chooses humility. One Hebrew commentary even suggests the idea of affliction here is that of self-affliction. He sees who he truly is in the sight of God - and chooses to humble himself in the dust before a God whose glory and majesty dwarfs him in a way that cannot be expressed in human language. Yet this humbling of himself is what makes him a candidate for God's grace. God looks at this humilty and desires to bless him. This is nothing more than the promise in James, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." That is pretty much what the writer is saying to us here. May God see us remove ourselves from among the scoffers - and align ourselves with every haste to the ones who humble themselves and give God glory!
"How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? Proverbs 1:22
If they only knew . . . this is the way that a lot of statements begin about those who reject Biblical truth and the Biblical world view. But this statement assumes that the only problem that is present is a lack of information - a lack of education. Yet today's proverb seems to present a different picture. There are those who even if educated would persist in their worldview and ignorance. Could it actually be that there is a deeper problem in the human race than a lack of education?
Three descriptions are given here about how people view their world. The first is the person who is naive. According to what is written in this proverb, the naive ones actually love their naivete. They enjoy their simple-mindedness. The word used here is "pethi" which means to be naive. The picture that this paints for us though is of someone who is very open minded. In fact to them the greatest character trait that you can have is to be as open-minded as possible. The root for this word means to be wide open and spacious. It refers to someone whose mind is as wide open as can be - to everything - to every view that is out there. The only thing this person cannot tolerate is a view that is considered narrow in its focus. The naive person thinks that everyone would be able to get along - if we would all just accept each others views as equally valid. This is the case even when the views in question are diametrically opposed to each other. This is the post-modernist whose most valued idea is tolerance. They love their open-mindedness so much that they will pretty much gut the real truth of any position so that everyone can have their opinion, be right for themselves, and never a threat to each other.
The writer asks, "How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?" The fact is that all views can't get along with each other. There has to eventually be a right and a wrong. There are some worldviews that are just flat out wrong. Look at Mao in China. To say that his view of communism, which was responsible for the murder of over 50 million people is ludicris! To say that Hitler's position is equally valid with that of Mother Theresa is insane. Yet the naive want everyone's view to be equally valid. They love their naivete so much that they will frontal lobotomize themselves when it comes to thinking to have every view just as valid. Europe took this view as Hitler rose to power - and each and every step along the way, Hitler took advantage of it to Blitzkrieg his way accross most of northern Europe. He wouldn't have been stopped except that at some point the naive ones realized that their open-mindedness could not fit him and his views of the world.
The second group are the scoffers. These are the ones who scoff and mock at the things of God. They belittle them as subpar thinking and subpar reasoning. They don't know how to build up - just tear down. They love their own scoffing, delighting in it every step of the way. They see it as a great thing when someone denigrates Christ, the Bible, or the church in some way. But their scoffing becomes such a lifestyle that they can offer nothing positive in reply. They only become bitter, self-centered critics who have nothing to offer anyone - except a constant cry to destroy and level anything related to God.
The third group are the fools. These are the spiritual dullards and dupes who don't want to be bothered by the facts. According to this passage they hate knowledge. This word speaks of knowledge, knwoing, learning, discernment, and insight. They do not want God's wisdom in their lives and will reject it when it is offered.
Now here is the amazing thing about this passage. None of these three types can have their lack of wisdom repaired by education alone. Their problem is not a lack of information. It is that they don't want the information. They enjoy their simple-mindedness, their scoffing, and their foolish worldview. They need something more than just information and knowledge. They need a change in their heart as a result of a work of God's Spirit in their minds. How do I know this? Because of the very next verse in chapter 1. These three groups are encouraged to "turn to God's reproof. They will have to see their views as wrong, and be willing to turn from them to God's correction. They need the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon them where they will then be able to receive the words that are spoken to them. Their problem is a heart level problem - not just an education level one. They delight in their views - and reject anything that would threaten them. Until there is a heart change - there will be no embracing of any kind of educational outreach to them.
This is actually the view of classic Christianity. The problem with mankind is not just one of proper education. We can educate someone for decades and unless there is a heart change wrought by the grace of God, they will continue to reject the truth. As Romans chapter one puts it, God's wrath is revealed against the unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. They want their sin. They want their foolishness. They want their unrighteous ways. No amount of education that leaves their hearts unregenerated will do them any good whatsoever. There must be repentance and a change initiated and completed by the work of God's Holy Spirit. If that does not happen - they will simply continue to reject the truth and embrace their unrighteousness - whether it is dressed up as naivete, scoffing, or foolishness. What we see here is that only the grace of God can take a man and change him from a fool into a wise man. Oh, that we would pray that God's grace would touch the hearts of men to convert them from darkness to light - and from the foolishness of this world to the wisdom of God.
A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise. Proverbs 15:12
Why is it that even when there is wise and godly counsel available, people do not take advantage of it? A southern saying that I heard a while back may help us on this situation. The reason a scoffer does not go to a wise man is the same reason a criminal does not hang out with the police.
The proverb here tells us that a scoffer does not love someone who corrects or reproves him. The scoffer is the one who mocks the things of God. He makes fun of God's commandments and laws - and derides God Himself. He does this because he does not believe and because in his infinite arrogance he prefers his limited little pea-brain's ability to think - rather than the mind of the infinite God as it is revealed in the pages of Scripture. But he is not content to just reject the things of God - he scoffs at them - and seeks to get others to reject them as well. He is the "anti-evangelist" if you will - or at least an evangelist for his own foolish thinking.
What is fascinating about the scoffer is that we read that he doesn't love anyone who reproves him. He is filled with pride and arrogance and therefore always thinks that he is right. In his own mind he is irreproveable - beyond correction. In this way it is only fitting that the one who thinks there is no God would consider his own wisdom and counsel very god-like. He is a god unto himself - and resents it when someone would deign to question his omniscience.
There is a consequence to this arrogant man's rejection of reproof. As a result of it, he will not go to the wise. He rejects them - and their much needed counsel. This is a sad state of affairs because they could greatly use wise counsel. Thus this arrogant scoffer will remain a law unto himself - an island of self-sought, self-taught, self-exalting wisdom - that is nothing more than foolishness and arrogance disguising itself as sage counsel.
This is why the wise man needs to embrace and welcome correction and reproof. Please do not misunderstand me - these things are seldom pleasant when they come. In fact they can be very difficult to hear as they are spoken to us. That is why I am grateful that Scripture tells me that discipline is not pleasant, but painful when it arrives. But I am also counselled in James and in Hebrews that when received it will bear fruit - creating a harvest of righteousness, truth, wisdom, and understanding when I welcome it and learn from it. Remember that the next time God in His love allows correction and rebuke to come into your life. Don't be like the scoffing fool who does not love the ones who reprove him. Be like the godly man who turns his ear to wise and godly rebuke. It will help open our ear to wisdom itself, and will bless us by turning us from unwise, arrogant, and unprofitable ways.
The eye that mocks a father And scorns a mother, The ravens of the valley will pick it out, And the young eagles will eat it. Proverbs 30:17This proverb is one of those that seems a little harsh when you first read it - especially if you've ever been disrespectful to your parents. Your average kid might say, "You mean to say that if I scorn my parents, I'm doomed to have scavenger birds peck
my eye out and eat it?" Since we know that not every rebellious child and teenager has had his eyes destroyed by a flock of ravens and eagles - we know that this passage has more to teach us than just a scary warning that probably would not work on kids anyway. But just what is this proverb trying to show us?
The key comes in understanding why a bird - especially a scavenger would have any interest in an animal's eyes. You see both of the birds mentioned in this passage are scavengers. That means that they both eat dead things. But one practice that ravens have as they approach carrion is that they need to be sure it is dead. That can mean the difference in having a meal and being one to the raven. Therefore when a raven suspects an animal to be dead - he goes straight for the eye. The raven lands near the animal and sees if the animal makes any movements. Then when the raven detects that things are clear for the most part - he subjects the animal to the ultimate test as to whether it is alive or dead. He pecks at the animal's eye. If an animal does not move to protect the eye, it is dead. As the raven picks out the eye of the animal - it assures him that the animal is dead. Often early in the meal that follows, a larger predator - which is where the young eagle comes in - will arrive and take over the meal from the raven, who wisely knows when he is outmatched.
Now, let's take what we've learned from nature - and apply it to what is said in this passage. When a young person feels his oats enough to begin mocking his own father and mother it is a very dangerous sign. The reference to the raven and the young eagle is not a direct threat - but rather a reminder. He is spiritually dead. This is not so much a threat of future aviary retribution - but of the spiritual reality of where this young man or woman is. God promises us that the one who honors his mother and father will live long on the earth. Great blessing is in store for the child who learns about respect, honor, and submission in subjection to his parents. These are vital lessons to learn if he or she is going to be successful in life - and after life is over. These come through properly relating to one's parents. If we don't learn them in the home - we will face learning them out in the world where the cost to learn them is far higher than it is with mom and dad.
One last thing that we need to note here is that we are not talking about open rebellion here - but the "eye" that mocks father and mother. This is as much a look as it is an action. I remember my mother telling me not to look at her in that tone of voice. It was a little bit of a joke - but not really. She knew, and so did my father, when my eyes were revealing what was really going on in my heart. The eyes are the window to the soul - and reveal much of what is truly going on in our hearts. Thus we need to be careful to not only watch our words concerning our parents, but also the way our eyes function as well. Quite often we might be obeying in our outward members - but our eyes reveal another story altogether. Remember then, that when the scavengers come looking for the dead - they come looking for those who are dead in their eyes. When a wise man seeks to determine whether someone is spiritually alive or dead - he can learn much in how a person treats their parents.
When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. Proverbs 29:9This proverb I've affectionately named the "Bill Maher proverb." That is because he, along with many other social liberals invite one Christian to sit on a panel with him and 2-3 other liberals. As the program unfolds, this proverb is lived out over and over again. If the Christian is wise at all, he will begin to present biblical truth, and at that point the controversy, the rage, and the mockery begin. The poor Christian is usually shouted down in the midst of making any points - and the end of the matter is that he or she looks like the fool - which was the purpose of the whole exercise anyway. After watching this three or four different times, I came to the conclusion that any Bible-believing Christian who went on this, or other programs like it, was as much of a fool as the other fools sitting on the panel.The nature of a foolish man is to mock the things of God. Therefore when a wise man begins to have a controversy or argument with a foolish man - he needs to know that reason or fair-minded debate will most likely not be involved in what is about to take place. This passage tells us that what will happen is that the foolish man will "rage" against the wise man. The word used for rage here is "ragaz" and it means to shake, tremble, be agitated, be disturbed, or be provoked. As soon as a fool hears the Word of God, he will come to the place where he will blow like a stick of dynamite. The fool recognizes no authority but his own. We read elsewhere in Proverbs that the fool only delights in airing his own opinions - and only respects his own thoughts. The idea of a God Who reveals to us absolute truth is an utter outrage to the fool. He is enraged at the thought of anyone claiming to have a truth that can stand in judgment over his ideas - as accurate and marvelous as they are. So when he hears a wise man (who is wise because he has learned to submit himself to what is revealed in Scripture) start to quote the Bible as an authority - BOOM! - he explodes in a rage against the wise man (yet actually he is enraged at God more than anyone else). The other response from the fool is to laugh at God's principles and God's Word. This is basically done by mocking God. Bill Maher did it
by doing the movie, "Religuous." Others have done it a myriad of different ways over the years. Interestingly enough, most of them are dead and have the horrendous problem of explaining to God why they felt such liberty to mock Him and His Word - which is what Mr. Maher will face also if he does not come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Regardless of how they go about mocking God, they do, and in the end there is no peace. There isn't any because the fool is not about to have the wise man come away from the encounter or controversy looking good at all.
A wise man recognizes when he is in a controversy with a fool. He recognizes it usually because the fool will not argue reasonably, but will quickly resort to mocking, name calling, and specious arguments. At that point the best thing a wise man can do is step away from the situation as quickly and as gracefully as he can. The encounter will not result in a peaceful resolution. Rage and mocking laughter will happen - but not peace. The best thing you can do for the foolish man is pray for him, love him, and not offer him the public platform to mock God. That is why the wise man will turn down the offer to appear on such programs - saving himself the breath, the time, and the humiliation that will come if he chooses unwisely to attend.