Four 1:20-23

(20) “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: (21) She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, (22) How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? (23) Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.”

In verses 20-22 we see that we have unrestricted access to a world of wisdom. We are without excuse for lacking wisdom. We can and should learn from the success and failures of those around us. If one was abandoned on an island, being a young child, it might be that he or she wouldn’t have the opportunity of learning from others.

Verse 21 seems to be saying, “Everywhere you go you are presented with opportunities of gathering wisdom. In spite of our unlimited access to wisdom, there are still many who lack wisdom. They make foolish choices and hurt themselves and others by what they do. There is no excuse for it. Verse 22 calls them simple ones. Many are so simple that they can’t even learn truths that even a child can understand.

Verse 22 says that scorners delight in scorning. To scorn is to have someone in derision. It is to sit in judgment on others.

Fools hate knowledge. They have no desire to acquire knowledge. Perhaps they think they have all the knowledge they need. We all need to keep learning and acquiring more knowledge. We can’t have wisdom without knowledge.

In verse 23 God promises to do his work in those who are his. They, of course, have to be surrendered to God. His work enables them to acquire wisdom and knowledge. That doesn’t give Christians license to feel superior to others. That would leave them guilty of being scorners. Verses 20-22 speak of wisdom that is available to all. Wisdom is personified in verse 20. It says “she lifteth up her voice in the streets.”

There is an even greater measure of wisdom available to those who are saved and surrendered to God. They are the ones who read the Bible. The Bible is full of wisdom. The book of Proverbs is an ideal place to start if you truly want wisdom. It comes by reading. Knowledge and wisdom also come by way of the Spirit that indwells every believer. In Ezekiel 36 and verses 25 and 27, God promises to make his Spirit available to them. “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

God speaks to genuine Christians by means of their conscience. He convicts them when they are doing things that aren’t pleasing to him. I believe that the last phrase in v. 23, “I will make known my words unto you,” is a promise that God will help us rightly interpret his Word. God’s Word has little meaning to the unsaved, but the saved have a much better grasp of its meaning.

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Five

Proverbs 1:24-33

(24) “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; (25) But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: (26) I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; (27) When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. (28) Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: (29) For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: (30) They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. (31) Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. (32) For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. (33) But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”

The Consequences of being without Wisdom and Knowledge

First of all, God says the simple ones are without excuse for their miserable condition because God has made it possible for it to be otherwise. In verses 24 and 25 he says “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof.” In verse 33 he says they could be dwelling in safety and without fear.

God says he will laugh at their calamity. In the end, their life will be a calamity. A calamity is a disaster that brings great loss. The sad thing is that they brought it upon themselves. We feel sorry for people who suffer a calamity such as a tornado. We are ready to help them recover what they have lost. If, on the other hand, if they brought the calamity upon themselves because of their own negligence or foolishness, we have little reason for feeling sorry for them.

We need to take notice of what they did to bring the calamity upon themselves.

1. They took no regard to the warning or to the help that was offered to them. (v. 24)

2. They hated knowledge. (v. 29) They weren’t willing to learn. They dropped out of school. If they were in school, they didn’t listen to what they were being taught.

3. They rejected the fear of the Lord. (v. 29) See what was said about the fear of the Lord in v. 7.

4. They refused to take counsel or reproof from God. (v. 30) The counsel that God gives is perfect. It doesn’t get any better. When God reproves us, we are fools if we disregard it.

Now let’s take note of the extent of their calamity.

1. God will have no sympathy for them. (v. 26) In fact, he will laugh at them.

2. It will result in desolation and destruction. (v. 27)

3. God will not respond when they call on him for help. (v. 28)

4. They shall eat of the fruit of their own way. (v. 31) It may be nothing more than rice and beans, if it is even that.

5. Their way shall slay them. (v. 32) Fools may think they have prospered when they have enough money to buy drugs or alcohol. They don’t realize that those things will bring them to an early grave.

Verse 33 tells us that God had something far better for them. If you find yourself in a calamity like this, it’s not too late to recover. You need to call on God to forgive you for your rebellion against him and start listening and learning.

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