7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself;
if you scoff, you alone will bear it.
Why does Wisdom’s effort to instruct the foolish so often fail? Because the foolish are foolish. They are not foolish because they have not received right instruction. They are foolish because they love what is folly and hate what is good. The scoffer likes to scoff. Wisdom may scoff at the foolish, but that is because she hates folly and desires what is good for the fool. The scoffer merely likes to belittle others. It makes him feel important and gives him a false sense of being wise. To learn from Wisdom, he would have to take on the humble position of receiving knowledge that he does not have. He would have to admit that others know more. He hates such a position and thus will hate anyone who tries to teach him.
Because the wise person possesses the fear of the Lord, humility is a natural and desirable position to take. Because he has some insight into the character of God, because he knows the Lord, he will love receiving knowledge and growing in wisdom. Thus, he gladly receives instruction from whoever may give it.
Pray, then, for the foolish. For they have no hope except that the Holy Spirit works in them to change their nature and give them love for what is good and hatred for what is wicked. It is pride that turns all men and women away from God, just as it was pride that led Satan to rebellion. Remember, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Humility is the key, but not alone. It is a humility that delights in the Lord – the delights in the fear of the Lord that will lead a person not only to walk in righteousness but to walk that path in devotion and joy.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org