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“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
    and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
    I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused to listen,
    have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel
    and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
    I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm
    and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
    when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
    they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
    and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel
    and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
    and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away,
    and the complacency of fools destroys them;
– Proverbs 1:22-32

 

Solomon begins the book of Proverbs by mentioning three characters who all refuse the ways of wisdom – the simple, the scoffer, and the fool.  We might also call them the naïve, the cynic, and the selfish. At some point, we’ve all been around cynics, selfish, or those too naïve for their own good. And, if we’re honest these three descriptions mark time in our lives, too. The naïve lack experience and understanding in most areas of life.  They might be naïve, but compared to the cynic, they’re preferred because while the naïve person doesn’t understand, the cynic doesn’t care.  Then, the selfish person believes they already know all there is to know and behaves that way too.

We’ve all been naïve, cynical, and selfish.  We’re all human and fallen, but there really isn’t an excuse for behaving this way.  When we lack wisdom because no one has taught us, when we reject wisdom because we doubt God can be trusted, or when we refuse to live under wisdom because we think we know better, we inevitably miss out the way we’re designed to live. We miss out on the way of wisdom and the way of love. If that’s not bad enough, there seems to be a point of no return by not seeking or desiring wisdom.  Sometimes when struggles in life come along and the value of seeking wisdom is finally realized, it’s too late – wisdom isn’t available. Proverbs 1 suggests that in those moments it feels like wisdom just stands there laughing.  No matter how intensely wisdom is desired during those times, it will escape our grasp.  It won’t return the call.  This slippery slope began, ultimately, with no awe of God.

In 1 Corinthians 13, we see the attitude we’re supposed to demonstrate – love.  A life demonstrating love is full of wisdom. This passage reveals that all the things we try to pursue in life just don’t last.  Love does.  If we take this to heart, all things love, we would be more willing to gain wisdom as well as share it. Reflect on your attitudes and behaviors over the last 24 hours. When have you been naïve (lacking in wisdom), cynical (doubting God’s wisdom can be trusted), or selfish (wanting your wisdom over God’s)? Then read 1 Corinthians 13 below and consider the times you’ve demonstrated attitudes and behaviors of love.

 

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

– 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

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By Rich Obrecht and Yvonne Biel

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