“Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: ‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?’” (Proverbs 1:20-22)
As Easter approaches, many Christians are celebrating Lent, a forty-day “fast,” to remember Jesus’s wilderness experience, during which they deny themselves some treasured food, habit, or material possession. It is a time of reflection and repentance, in anticipation of Jesus’s resurrection. I think it is interesting that my planned theme for this week is ‘scoffing’ and have been wondering how the two fit together in the providence of God. I fully expect the Lord to give me insights as the week progresses. However, today the link seems to be in those who don’t practice Lent, who scoff at the very idea of denial as necessary in the life of a Christian.
As the week progresses, we will explore various passages to develop a working definition of biblical scoffing. For now, let us look to Proverbs 21:24: “’Scoffer’ is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride,” and Psalm 73:8-12 “They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth…And they say, ‘How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?’ Behold, these are the wicked.” Scoffers mock God and his commands, trusting arrogantly in their self-righteousness. I propose, though, that since we all still have a working sin-nature in us, scoffing cannot be relegated only to unbelievers. Otherwise, Paul would not have written, “I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members” (Romans 7:22-23).
We know the answer to Lady Wisdom’s question in Proverbs 1:22. Scoffers will delight in their scoffing and fools will hate knowledge until they repent, for forgiveness from God. Our first confession of scoffing as unbelievers is repentance of rejecting Jesus Christ up to the point of regeneration. However, I find that I need to continue repenting of scoffing whenever I “decide” to discount God’s decrees so I can go about doing whatever foolish thing my heart desires. I embarrassingly confess that I have to repent of this scoffing all too often, knowing that my choice isn’t what God chooses for me and will have negative consequences. A simple example is that I still stay up too late to listen to music or watch Netflix, instead of using my time to do Bible study, knowing that I will be tired in the morning, with a full load of studying to do. And I like Bible study! With Paul, I declare, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” (Romans 7:24-25).
When I scoff at God, I deny the sacrifice that Jesus made for me, how he suffered physically, mentally, and spiritually on the cross for my salvation. Do you appreciate his sacrifice? Will you join me as we rejoice that Jesus saves scoffers?