The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 9:7-12 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, Reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be still wiser, Teach a righteous man and he will increase his learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied, And years of life will be added to you. If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
I watched a clip from Apologia Church on Friday showing Pastor Durbin having a conversation with a young man in which the Pastor meticulously revealed the absurdity of the young man’s claim to have a moral foundation upon which to stand, apart from God. Though Pastor Jeff was polite all throughout the 20 minute conversation, at the very end the young man proclaimed “hail satan!” as he departed, fully unmasking his true nature: that of a scoffer. A scoffer is someone who jeers or mocks or treats something with contempt or calls out in derision. During the conversation the young man seemed at least willing to listen and engage with what the Pastor was saying, but at the end he made it clear that to go any further with him, would be folly.
A couple weeks ago our Pastor used the term tar baby to describe someone who liked to endlessly speculate and hen peck every little rabbit hole and doctrine well past the point of usefulness, and waste your valuable time in the process. Scoffers could definitely be labeled as tar babies. Just yesterday I saw one pop up on my Facebook post about a saved baby at the abortion mill. Calling himself “Von Doom”, an endearing name which should immediately send up a red flag, this scoffer questioned whether there was truly a saved baby or not. Having interacted with him before and knowing exactly what it was he sought to accomplish, I responded to his scoffing. By blocking him. Immediately. What he wanted to do most was argue, entrap, and attempt to catch me slipping, so I didn’t give it to him.
The Proverb today warns us of the danger associated with correcting a scoffer: dishonor, insults, and hate. Now, we know that whenever the truth is preached, whether from behind the pulpit, in your home, on the sidewalk, or at work, scoffers are going to scoff, and haters are going to hate. This is because those that walk in darkness hate the light and will not come to the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed (John 3: 20). This proverb is not telling us to avoid the difficult places. It is not telling us to shrink back from confrontation. We are not being instructed to avoid conflict at all cost. We are being reminded that in our walk with Christ, we must use discernment. As Christians, we must know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, and know when to run.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
A scoffer is one who comes into a conversation with you having no intention of listening. A scoffer has no desire for the truth, only an insatiable thirst for strife. Scoffers are pot stirrers. They want to hijack a conversation, distort the truth, make you look like a fool, and drag you into the pigpen with them, insulting you all the way down. It is very tempting to want to engage with scoffers. We think “If I can just get them to listen to reason”. That’s a noble desire, except that these scoffers are devoid of the Spirit (Jude 19), they are natural men, who do not accept the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14).
So, what if you find yourself entangled with a scoffer, how do you create some separation and distance? How might you love your neighbor as yourself in the midst of conflict with a scoffer? Well, first, remember Whom you serve. Sanctify Christ as Lord in your heart (1 Peter 3:15). Second, be resolved to not move from that foundation which was laid upon which you stand (Eph 2:20). It is the Word of God which is living, active, and sharper than a two-edged sword, not your opinions and human reasoning. Third, remember that we do not wage war against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. This battle is a spiritual battle, so put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6). And lastly, remember this other Proverb, which I personally would do well to take heed of:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools sprouts folly.” (Prov 15:1,2)
If you are able, please kneel as we call upon the Name of the LORD.
In our zeal, we oftentimes find ourselves locked in conflict with scoffers and mockers.
We are soldiers, yet are called to use wisdom and discernment in our engagements rather than brute force.
Far too often we find ourselves wallowing in the pigpen, looking like mockers rather than Christians.
Father, help us to remember how our Lord Jesus responded to the mockers and scoffers by crying out to You.
Please forgive us for bringing reproach upon Your Name by carelessly engaging with those who hate You. Please grant us wisdom, and train us for war that we might give a Godly answer to the fools who seek to destroy our foundations.
In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.
Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
John 5:25-29 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 11/17/19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)