Scoffers set a city aflame,
but the wise turn away wrath.
Who would you rather have in your immediate community? A scoffer? Or a wise man? Obviously, we would rather have one who seeks to build up the public arenas rather than one who tears down the community. Poverbs 29:8 contrasts these two and their contribution (or lack thereof) to the fabric of a society.
How does the scorner “set a city aflame?” Consider what a scorner does in the public sector. They often will not take time to consider other alternatives or will fail to consult, discuss, or seek out other courses for action. They do things illegally and unconstitutionally because they scoff at laws and decrees. They break their word because they do not feel bound by what they say. They scorn the people (and often take advantage of the helpless) because they feel no inclination to please the people. They mock at religion and what is right and just. Such people bring God’s judgment upon a land.
The wise men, however, help to turn away God’s wrath and bring a blessing to a community. They promote right religion, seek to reconcile contending parties, and prevent evil from spreading. That which the proud scorner kindles, the wise and good must extinguish.
May God have mercy upon our own communities and our land to raise up wise and godly people to be “salt and light” in our regions.