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Proverbs (Part 014) - Pro 1:29-31

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29. Pro 1:29 - "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:"
A. The LORD reiterates the reason for His judgment of fools.
i. That God might be justified in His sayings, and overcome when he is judged (Rom 3:4), the LORD reminds the foolish why calamity has befallen them (Pro 1:26-27) and He has stopped calling and listening (Pro 1:28) and started laughing (Pro 1:26): because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD.
ii. He had pled with them with a stretched out hand asking how long they would hate knowledge (Pro 1:22).
iii. They responded by continuing headstrong in their folly.
iv. They finally turned and called upon Him simply because anguish had taken them.
v. The LORD now gives an answer to their cries which can be summarized by "I told you so," by simply reiterating their sinful attitude which caused their judgment.
B. In his affliction, man often forgets the foolish decisions which put him in that dreadful condition and complains to God about it (Psa 19:3).
i. Instead of turning his attention inward and examining himself to search for possible causes of the judgment under which he suffers, too often a man instead turns his attention heavenward and blames God for letting it happen.
ii. The LORD has a good memory and is quick to remind him who is to blame.
C. They did not choose the fear of the LORD.
i. This is the underlying cause of these fools' hatred of knowledge.
ii. In that "the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (Pro 1:7), it's no wonder that they hated knowledge, not having the requirement for it.
iii. The fear of the LORD is a choice for a child of God, not an inalienable attribute.
a. Reprobates do not have the spiritual capability to fear the LORD (Rom 3:18).
b. But such is not the case with the regenerate who have the ability to do so through the new birth.
c. The regenerate can nevertheless choose to not fear the LORD by not departing from evil (Pro 16:6).
d. But with choice comes culpability; those who do not choose the fear of the LORD inevitably choose the desolation which will invariably result.

30. Pro 1:30 - "They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof."
A. The LORD continues His explanation of why judgment has come on the fools to whom He gave ample opportunity to turn from their folly and hearken to His call of repentance.
i. The reason destruction came is the same reason that God had previously given: they would none of wisdom's counsel and they despised all her reproof (Pro 1:25 c/w Pro 1:30).
ii. God shows Himself wise and heads off any objection that might be raised against Him by reminding the foolish that they were made aware of the consequences of their sin long before calamity befell them and are therefore without excuse.
B. By comparing verse 25 with verse 30, we see that the simple ones both despised and rejected the LORD's counsel and reproof.
i. Recall from the notes on verse 25 that to set at nought means to despise, and would means to desire or want.
ii. In the former verse they despised wisdom's counsel and desired not her reproof; in the latter they despised her reproof and wanted none of her counsel.
iii. It is fitting that wisdom's words were despised and rejected given that the embodiment of wisdom, the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3), was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isa 53:3).
iv. Whereas natural men despise and reject the wisdom of God (both the concept and the Person), Wisdom's obedient children neither despise nor reject the Lord Jesus Christ, nor His ministers which proclaim Him and His wisdom (Gal 4:14).
C. There is a direct correlation between not receiving God's words and rejecting God Himself.
i. God regards His word above even His very name (Psa 138:2).
ii. Therefore, when a man rejects the counsel and reproof of the LORD's word, he rejects God Himself (Psa 81:11).
D. The same is true of men who reject God's word when declared by a prophet of old or a preacher today.
i. Those that despise the rebuke of the word of God despise not the man who preaches it, but the God who bid him to do so (1Th 4:7-8; Luk 10:16).
ii. Those who despise the reproof and counsel of the word of God when it is declared to them best beware.
iii. They are treading the same path as the fools in Proverbs 1.
iv. They will meet the same fate as they did by eating of the fruit of their own way, being filled with their own devices, and ultimately being destroyed thereby (Pro 1:31-32).
v. "Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die" (Pro 15:10).

31. Pro 1:31 - "Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."
A. God first pronounced the judgment that those who reject wisdom's counsel and despise her reproof will be judged severely with calamity, fear, desolation, destruction, distress, and anguish (Pro 1:26-27).
B. Now He explains how and by what means the judgment will be executed: by letting the fools suffer under the weight of their own foolish ways.
i. This world operates under numerous immutable laws such as gravity and other laws of physics which are unforgiving and cannot be overruled.
a. If a man swings from a rope that is not strong enough to counterbalance the force of gravity, the rope will break and the man will suffer the consequences of his foolish decision.
b. When a child disobeys his parents' instruction forbidding him to touch the stove and gets burned, he suffers the just desert of his rebellion.
c. These are called natural consequences, and they are one of God's methods of punishing sinners.
ii. Consider some natural consequences of sinful, foolish, or unwise decisions and actions:
a. AIDS and other STDs are the judgment for sodomy, fornication, and adultery.
b. Cirrhosis of the liver is the judgment for alcoholism.
c. Poverty is the judgment for undisciplined spending and going into debt.
d. Obesity is the judgment for gluttony and undisciplined eating.
e. Emphysema and lung cancer are the judgment for smoking cigarettes.
f. Divorce is the judgment for unfaithfulness, selfishness, unkindness, not spending enough time at home, not appreciating one's spouse, etc.
g. Losing one's children is the judgment for not training them up in the way they should go and not giving them the time and attention they need.
h. Being fired is the judgment for being lazy, late, disrespectful, etc. on the job.
iii. While there is not always a direct cause and effect relationship between the things just mentioned, oftentimes there is, and a wise man will consider his ways.
C. Making sinners eat the fruit of their own ways and be filled with their own devices is one of God's signature judgments.
i. Using the wickedness, lust, or backsliding of men or nations as the means of correction is poetic justice on the LORD's part.
ii. One of the worst forms of punishment God inflicts upon His children is to let them have things their way.
iii. "There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'" (C.S. Lewis)
iv. The scripture is full of warnings regarding this often used method of judgment by God (Pro 14:14; Psa 94:23; Jer 2:19; Jer 6:19; Jer 14:16; Psa 81:11).
D. Oftentimes, men assume that God's judgment is the precursor of it.
i. Christians often say that God will judge our nation for things such as sodomy, fornication, abortion, broken families, debt, and wicked leaders.
ii. What they fail to realize is that all these things are the judgment of God.
iii. Rom 1:18-32 declares that God gave men up to fornication, sodomy, wickedness, being without natural affection, and all manner of evil because they rejected the knowledge of God.
iv. These things are not the cause of God's judgment; they are His judgment.
E. A man will reap what he sows.
i. If a farmer sows the seeds of briars and thistles, he will in time reap briars and thistles.
ii. A child who fails to observe his father's warning and sows weeds expecting to reap vegetables will learn a very difficult lesson at the time of harvest.
iii. The same principle applies to God's dealings with His children.
iv. When He warns them against making foolish decisions and they stubbornly refuse, they will be made to reap what they sow (Job 4:8; Pro 22:8; Gal 6:7).
F. The Almighty will often give rebels the very thing that they so obstinately desire against all good counsel as a judgment against them.
i. He did this with Israel when they clamored for flesh to eat after He had already given them manna from heaven to meet their needs.
ii. It was flesh they wanted, and it was flesh they got; and they got it in such abundance that they loathed it (Num 11:18-20).
iii. In addition to the judgment of the overabundance of flesh, the LORD added affliction on top of it (Psa 106:14-15; Psa 78:29-31).
G. Sometimes, God takes a more active role in judging sinners for their foolish rejection of His call to repentance and wisdom by sending them a strong delusion to cause them to believe a lie because they refused to receive the truth (Isa 66:4; 2Th 2:10-12).
H. The story of the false prophet Balaam is a good example of God's dealings with headstrong fools who are determined to do whatever they desire regardless of what the God has said.
i. Balaam was greedy of gain and "loved the wages of unrighteousness" (2Pe 2:15).
ii. He desired to go with Balak the king of Moab in order to curse Israel and be financially rewarded (Num 22).
iii. After receiving the offer, Balaam went to the LORD hoping to get God's rubber-stamp on His plans.
iv. But wisdom cried and said, "thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed" (Num 22:12).
v. After relaying the LORD's message to Balak and receiving a better offer, Balaam rejected the counsel of God and returned to the LORD hoping that He had changed His mind (Num 22:13-19).
a. The LORD had already cried unto Balaam to turn at His reproof (Pro 1:23).
b. Balaam would none of it and despised it (Pro 1:24-25).
c. The LORD then answered the fool according to His folly (Pro 26:5), and made Balaam eat of the fruit of His own ways and be filled with his own devices (Pro 1:31).
d. He told him what he wanted to hear, saying, "if the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do" (Num 22:20).
e. This was the opposite of what the LORD had told Balaam previously, which would have spared him trouble.
f. But because Balaam would have none of God's counsel, the LORD gave him what he wanted as a judgment against him and then opposed him as His enemy (Num 22:22).
g. After several failed attempts to follow his own lust in disobedience to God, Balaam ended up dying for his iniquity by being slain with the sword (Num 31:8).
h. Balaam was a victim of his own devices, as will be all fools who disregard wisdom's cry and are given over to their own way as a judgment against them, for "the turning away of the simple shall slay them" (Pro 1:32).