Of the three distinct types of rebel—those who oppose God’s internal leading and instruction—the simple-minded or naive bear the least moral guilt. Children are expected to be simple-minded, but they come to bear greater responsibility for their naiveté as they grow older. Still, their failure to learn from the school of hard knocks is less sinful than those who scoff at God’s direction. The Bible reserves its most severe rebuke for this kind of opposition.
This person is quite different from the simple one. The scoffer “delights in his scoffing.” The Hebrew term lūtz means “to turn aside, to scorn, to mock.” It expresses the idea of rejecting with vigorous contempt. Scoffers show disdain or disgust for God and anything resembling spiritual truth. Our natural response is to whip ’em into shape, to apply intense discipline so they will turn from scoffing and begin to think wisely. More than likely, however, confronting a scoffer is wasted effort, as Solomon reminded us:
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. (9:7–8)
This passage explains why all these fall under the general heading of “the opposition.” The scoffer won’t listen to words of correction. He vigorously opposes it, not because he doesn’t believe in God—he undoubtedly does. He scoffs because he refuses to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. This character trait rejects all submission to any authority, and it affects every relationship he has.
A wise son accepts his father’s discipline,
But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (13:1)
Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out,
Even strife and dishonor will cease. (22:10)
The devising of folly is sin,
And the scoffer is an abomination to men. (24:9)
From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.
In Embraced by the Spirit, we step away from the heat of theological battle that analyzes and criticizes and move quietly and closely to the One who has been sent alongside to help.