Friday, March 19, 2010

Warning Against Rejecting Wisdom

I was reading Proverbs 1 yesterday when I came across something I thought was interesting. I had opened the bible to a random page hoping to find something interesting and I think I unfortunately have. I'll quote the interesting parts and, as usual, provide my inerrant feedback.
 20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street,
       she raises her voice in the public squares;
 21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out,
       in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:
 22 "How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
       How long will mockers delight in mockery
       and fools hate knowledge?
 23 If you had responded to my rebuke,
       I would have poured out my heart to you
       and made my thoughts known to you.
This is all good and well. Wisdom is of course an important thing to have and there are plenty of ways to gain it. Sometimes the easiest and fastest way to do so is just to talk to other people who have life experience. It's also possible to read a book or watch a video and gain wisdom that way. But of course, you can't think uncritically and accept everyone's advice without a second thought - you must still evaluate what they say and determine if what they're saying really is wise or just a bunch of crap. The most reliable way to gain wisdom is through experience, but that also tends to be the most painful.
 24 But since you rejected me when I called
       and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand,
 25 since you ignored all my advice
       and would not accept my rebuke,
 26 I in turn will laugh at your disaster;
       I will mock when calamity overtakes you-
 27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
       when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
       when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
I'm pretty sure this is God speaking here, and I'm also pretty sure that this passage is a little disturbing. God says that he called and stretched out his hand (however he does that) and people ignored it and didn't accept his rebuke (however he gives that out). It's worth noting that many Christians believe that punishment is God's form of rebuke, but I suppose that interpretation would make this verse seem a little confusing. Though I'm not sure how a God that can't talk or appear to people or do just about anything to reveal himself could convey a clear meaning of rebuke or punishment in the first place. In any case, God pretty clearly states here that if you don't follow his advice, he will allow you to fall into disaster. But if that weren't bad enough, he's going to take a lot of enjoyment from it. You're going to be overtaken by calamity like a storm and he's going to sit back in his easy chair laughing at your misfortune. No, it's not a mistranslation. God's really going to enjoy your suffering. He's going to mock you because you made a mistake like any other human being. Talk about a "loving" god. I hope we can hurry up and get to the New Testament so he will be more forgiving...
 28 "Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
       they will look for me but will not find me.
 29 Since they hated knowledge
       and did not choose to fear the LORD,
 30 since they would not accept my advice
       and spurned my rebuke,
 31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
       and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
 32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
       and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
 33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
       and be at ease, without fear of harm."
But mocking you isn't enough, apparently. He's also going to be too busy laughing at you to answer your pleas for help and let you die. Yep. Apparently by not doing whatever the person claiming to be a messenger for God tells you to do, you hate knowledge and are a complacent fool. This sounds like the words of an intelligent, honest, and wise speaker. You do what I say, or you're stupid and deserve to die!

Of course, none of this would be complete without the outlandish promise of "But... do what I say and you'll be safe. Completely safe. Yes... That's right. Come here child. No one will ever do you harm again if you just do what I say and never think another thought." Somehow I don't think that would be too difficult of a statement to disprove seeing how plenty of Christians have fallen into harm while strictly obeying every proverb here. But maybe God uttered these words before he decided to create Hitler? There's no way to know. Could have just been an oversight.

So, moral of the story:
Blindly obey: You'll be happy and safe forever.
Disobey for whatever reason: You will fall into disaster and God will laugh at you as you die.

Sounds just like those wholesome Christian values we all know and love so much.


Matthew said...

wait until you're a parent... that passage makes a whole lot more sense! Little kids are hilarious when they disobey you and bump there heads or flail on the floor. You have to work hard to not laugh!

Drew Reagan said...

I definitely agree, and kids should be allowed to make mistakes to learn. That's just how they do it. But I have no doubt that you, as a loving parent, would never laugh at your child's disaster or mock his calamity or death. Loving parents would do anything to keep their child from legitimately suffering. I'd have a hard time believing that a god would chuckle in an "oh, that's so cute" kind of way as you get mugged in an alley.

Anonymous said...

God is a loving God. There will be many questions as you read His Word, and it is not bad to have questions. Please ask Him for understanding as you read His Word. He can guide you in all truth, understanding, and wisdom.

I love you, Mom

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