“Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you…” (Proverbs 9:8)
If you haven’t noticed yet, wisdom in Scripture isn’t just Solomon giving suggestions from his experience to make our lives better. No, wisdom in Proverbs is directly from God and actually was manifested in the person of Jesus (1 Cor. 1:24), of whom the word became flesh (Jn. 1:14). Not only did Jesus come as our savior and teacher, but we have also received the Holy Spirit who is our Helper to guide us with wisdom from God. And this wisdom is something we shouldn’t write off as mere suggestions, but we should take them seriously as we consider how God designed them for our flourishing and His glory.
In today’s passage, we see two individuals, the wise man and a scoffer, or mocker in other translations. Don’t be fooled, we’re often not the wise man, but the scoffer. Notice when the scoffer receives wisdom through correction, the result is that “he will hate you,” will “incur injury” to the one who reproves him. The scoffer is offended! After all, their decision had already been made up in their mind. They believe their action or decision was the right one, even if they are absolutely wrong. How often are you making decisions based on your own thinking and experience? Certainly all the time! God has given us an incredible ability to do His will and is pleased when we do it all on our own. But we should be vigilant and seek and love wisdom in humility lest we become the arrogant scoffer who becomes their own God in self-confidence.
Like the scoffer, one way to check if you are truly seeking Wisdom is to see if the correction, reproof, or advice offends you. It’s hard to hear the truth and no one wants to be wrong, but the reality that we cannot rely on ourselves as we recall only chapters earlier, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5-6). When looking for advice, ask yourself in humility, “Am I seeking verification and validation of what I believe and want to be the right action or choice?” or “Am I truly seeking the wisdom from the Word, through counsel, and in prayer?”