One of the things I find funny is that Christians try to convince people who are lost that they can still have fun and be a Christian. It is as if they think that people will come to Christ if we can convince them they still will have a blast once they come to repentance and faith. It reduces the problem of the human condition to what can provide the most fun while on earth. If that were the case, the biggest denomination in the world would be Six-Flagsists, Disneyists, and Xboxians. The truth is that for a man who is ungodly - doing wickedness is joy and laughter - and the same is true for the discerning man and his view of wisdom.
We are not that accustom to the word, "sport" as it is used here. The word comes from the Hebrew word "sehoq" which means laughter. But this is a laughter of derision and ridicule. It is a laughter used to make fun of someone or something. What we are speaking of here is how the wicked do their evil - and laugh and deride God and His law. They laugh at righteousness and joke about it. They make fun of those who have standards and whose desire is to do what is godly and righteous. Let me give a few examples of this.
When the abstinence movement came out, the wicked mocked it mercilessly. They mocked virgins - and decided that anyone who was still a virgin at 18 to 20 years of age must have something wrong with them. They mocked the idea of waiting for sex until marriage. They argued that a person should be able to test drive a car before buying it - referring to the consummation of marriage in crassest of terms, as if you were buying a car, not choosing a life-mate. They defended an immoral president in the 1990's by saying that everyone does what he did – and - they also lie about it when caught. They mocked the idea of a child needing a father and a mother when a TV character in the 1990's decided to get pregnant and have a baby without a father. They mock everything that is holy - and deride anyone who stands in the way of their immoral agenda for our nation and especially its children.
We need to remind ourselves that the people who do these things are fools. They have no understanding. They are ignorant and oblivious to a holy God and His judgments. They may mock the morals that we have - but when society continues to fall apart - and when the statistics come in as to why it is falling apart - their actions will be seen those of fools with no understandings against the backdrop of failure and disfunction that they engender.
The man of understanding takes an equal delight and joy in wisdom. As the fool celebrates wickedness and mocks holiness - so the man who has discernment delights in God's wisdom. The man of understanding is the man who has discernment. The idea here is of a man who looks at something and determines its end and consequences. Seeing this, he turns away from wickedness and makes his decisions on the basis of God's wisdom. His discernment comes from the Scriptures. This guides him into wise decisions. It also tells him to shun and even mock those decisions that embrace what God has judged on the cross - and will judge at the end of the age. This man allows discernment to turn him to the right and true way. He sees the reward - and delights in it.
As I close the thoughts on today's proverb, let me re-visit my first comments of today. Too many do try to make the gospel more palatable by saying that we can have as much fun as the wicked. This is based on a faulty understanding of the nature of man. The wicked delight in their wickedness - because they are still wicked. Christians delight in holiness because they have been born again. Having had their hearts changed by the gospel - they now delight in things that delight the heart of God. It is impossible for an unsaved man to truly delight in these things. His heart is captive to his sin. Until He is saved, he will not truly value righteousness.
This proverb ultimately is about salvation – not the lifestyle that is the most fun on earth. Paul said it best when he said that if we only have this life to hope in Christ - we are to be pitied most of all men. If Jesus is not Who He says He is - then we should eat, drink, and party because tomorrow we die. The reason we embrace Christ is not for a superior life here on earth - but because there IS a judgment coming. Without Christ that judgment WILL BE HORRIFIC! We embrace Christ because we have sinned and, without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to pay for our sin, we will be judged and sent to hell. All the rest happens WHEN we are saved. We enjoy different things because our heart is different. We enjoy righteousness because we are fundamentally different because of God's grace. The wicked will always delight in their sin - and the discerning will delight in godliness. The difference comes not in which is more fun - but rather in whether a man's heart has been redeemed and changed by God's grace. May we be among those discerning. May we be among those with understanding. May we be among those transformed by grace - and given a whole different outlook on what is fun - what is enjoyable - and mostly, on what is better in eternity.