Thursday, January 14, 2016

Scoffers Seek Wisdom; Yahweh Refuses

Proverbs 14:6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.

Who are the scornful / scoffers?
1.      they don’t delight in Yahweh’s torah; they don’t meditate in it day and night; they are not blessed (’ashre) (Psa. 1:1-2)
2.      they delight in scoffing (Prov. 1:22)
3.      they receive Yahweh’s scorn and not His favor (Prov. 3:34)
4.      They will not be reproved and seek to shame those who reprove them (Prov. 9:7)
5.      They hate those who reprove them (Prov. 9:8)
6.      They do not listen to rebuke (Prov. 13:1)
7.      They seek wisdom in vain (Prov. 14:6)
8.      They do not love the one who reproves them. They will not go to the wise (Prov. 15:12)
9.      They do not benefit from being struck (painfully corrected) (Prov. 19:25; 21:11)
10.  They have judgment prepared for them, i.e., just waiting to fall upon them (Prov. 19:29)
11.  Wine is like the mocker, whoever goes astray by either is not wise (Prov. 20:1)
12.  They are proud and arrogant. They act with insolent pride. (Prov. 21:24)
13.  They are the cause of contention, strife, and abuse. Remove them and these things will cease. (Prov. 22:10)
14.  They are an abomination to men (Prov. 24:9)
15.  They will cease to exist “on that day”; they are a subset of “all who are intent on doing evil” who will be cut off (Isa. 29:20)

In this verse, Yahweh highlights the complexity of the scoffer’s character. He is a seeker after wisdom. On the surface that is very positive characteristic. However, the search for wisdom requires a proper orientation to Yahweh. There is no wisdom for those who take no pleasure in Yahweh, His torah, His reproof.

Reminds me of Bunyan’s Mr. Worldly Wiseman. There is a wisdom which is from below, James says (Jam. 3:14-16), and the scornful may have a significant measure of it. But it is all about how to get ahead and survive in this world, not about how to live for the next world.

Positively, the understanding man (nabon) is not a scorner. Wise and nabon occur together as a set of characteristics that go together (Gen. 41:33, 39; Deut. 1:13; 4:6; 1 Kgs 3:12). As a lad, before his entrance into court life, David was known as nabon of speech (1 Sam. 16:18). The nabon gains direction from Proverbs (Prov. 1:5), has wisdom on his lips (Prov. 10:13), has wisdom in his heart (Prov. 14:33), his heart seeks knowledge (Prov. 15:14; 18:15), and gains knowledge through being reproved (Prov. 19:25).

Yahweh, Joseph was a wise and discerning man. You gave Solomon a wise and discerning heart. I ask for such a heart. Increase my wisdom and discernment that I may be a more fruitful servant of yours.

Yahweh, since you scorn the scorner and resist the proud (Prov. 3:34; Jam. 4:6), they cannot find wisdom for it is found only in You (Prov. 2:5-6). You give grace to the humble, and such people find wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. I humble myself under your mighty hand this morning that I may receive more grace.

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