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? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” Proverbs 1:20-33
There certainly is an abundance of fools despite the availability of wisdom. In the above passage, the personification of wisdom makes a strong indictment against the people of the world. Wisdom describes how simple it is to gain wisdom, yet people prefer to live as fools. When the proverb says that Wisdom shouts in the streets, he is saying that Wisdom wants to be found. We have access to that which makes us wise. It is not difficult to discern wisdom. The difficulty is to choose wisdom over folly.
Despite Wisdom’s invitation, there are so many competing ideas and philosophies appealing to the people of the world. The streets are noisy with the din of folly and self-satisfying ideologies. God wants us to know His wisdom so that we might have a blessed life, yet He laments the poor choices the world makes. “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” The simple in this question are those people who do not strive toward knowledge, specifically knowledge of God. These are the people who live for pleasure in whatever form seems pleasing. They focus on who is winning American Idol or their particular favorite soap opera. They focus on NASCAR, basketball, football, or other sport. They string together days and weeks focused on pleasure and escape. They simply exist.
Beyond the simpletons, Wisdom laments the outright scornful when she asks, “How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?” Scoffers and fools are different from the simple because they have been exposed to wisdom, and have rejected it. How foolish it is that someone with a finite perspective would reject the instruction of one with an infinite perspective.
More dangerous is the one who deliberately rejects Godly wisdom. This isn’t more dangerous because their consequences will be more dire than the simpletons and fools. It is more dangerous because they have the ability and even desire to lead others to their way of thinking. These include the atheists, the rationalists, many professors and teachers, and even governments. Scoffers attempt to draw others to their way of thinking because they have deluded themselves by believing their thoughts are correct or even wise.
Even though the simple, the fools, and the scoffers disregard the wisdom of God, He still provides them the opportunity for salvation. Wisdom states clearly, “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” How can anyone turn down this offer? This isn’t some goddess of wisdom. It is the wisdom of the Most High God personified. When we consider the consequences of disregarding God, the invitation He offers of repentance leading to having the Holy Spirit poured into us is amazing.
So what are the consequences of disregarding the wisdom of God? Plainly stated in the passage is the answer. Because the simple, fools, and scoffers disregard God, He will mock when terror strikes, laugh at calamity. He will cut them off so that they will not find Him with a diligent search, nor will He hear their cries. Is this because God is mean? Clearly the answer is no. How can it be mean of God when He makes His wisdom available so readily- He makes His salvation available so freely?
Everyone must take responsibility for their actions and decisions. The simple are killed by their turning away. Those who hated knowledge and scoffed at God will reap their own reward. The complacency of the fools destroys them. Ending on a bright note – whoever listens to the wisdom of God will be secure and live without worry of disaster. Will you join me on this quest to hear and know the wisdom of God?