This is the second of four studies aimed at profiling five different people mentioned in the book of Proverbs. For more on the reasons for this study, see the first study in this series. If you will, stick with me until the end of this study. I think both the profiles and the “So What?” section may be useful to/beneficial for you (they are to me). So, without further ado, let’s turn to Proverbs and ask…
Who Is The Scoffer/Mocker?
The scoffer/mocker is the person who is classified by scorn and ridicule. In Proverbs, the scoffer/mocker is portrayed as being more internally (i.e., in his heart) and externally (i.e., in his actions) corrupt even than the fool. Here is what we find about them in Proverbs:
The Heart of the Scoffer:
- Scoffers delight in scoffing (aka ridiculing, scorning) (Prov. 1:22).
- Scoffers cannot gain wisdom (Prov. 14:6).
- Scoffers are supreme know-it-allâ€™s (i.e., narcissists, or â€œhyper-arrogantâ€) (Prov. 21:24).
- Scoffers do not want to be corrected (Prov. 13:1, 15:12).
The Lifestyle of the Scoffer:
- Scoffers hate and respond violently toward those who correct them (Prov. 9:7).
The Result of Scoffing:
- Scoffers are an abomination to mankind (Prov. 24:9).
- Scoffers bring ruin upon themselves (Prov. 9:12).
- Scoffers are condemned by God (Prov. 19:29).
How to Deal with Scoffers:
- Scoffers should be punished for the sake of the fool (Prov. 19:25, 21:11).
- Scoffers should be driven out in order to restore peace (Prov. 22:10, 29:8).
Who Is The Wicked?
As is evident by their title, the wicked are portrayed in Proverbs as being the most morally corrupt, or evil. These are the kind of people who, under just government, find themselves in prison for horrific evils.
The Heart of the Wicked:
- The wicked are arrogant (Prov. 21:4).
- The wicked hate righteousness (Prov. 29:27).
- The wicked are grossly immoral (Prov. 4:17) and depraved in their minds (Prov. 12:5).
- The wicked long for evil (Prov. 21:10).
- The wicked sin boldly, without shame (Prov. 21:29).
- The wicked are cruel (Prov. 12:10).
- The wicked are blinded to the ramifications of their wickedness (Prov. 4:19).
The Lifestyle of the Wicked:
- The wicked accept brides for the purpose of thwarting justice (Prov. 17:23, 19:28).
- The wicked care nothing for the poor (Prov. 29:7).
- The wicked are generally violent (Prov. 4:17, 12:6), and especially when corrected (Prov. 9:7).
- The wicked seek to harm the righteous (Prov. 24:15).
- The wicked speak maliciously (Prov. 6:12, 15:28) and embrace the wicked speech of others (Prov. 17:4).
- The wicked earn money dishonestly (Prov. 11:18).
- The wicked long to mimic othersâ€™ methods of dishonest gains (Prov. 12:12).
- The wicked ruin their own reputations (Prov. 10:7), as their wickedness is exposed (Prov. 25:26).
- The wicked are essentially paranoid, constantly running… even when there is no danger (Prov. 28:1).
- The wicked lead other people into ruin (Prov. 12:26).
- The wicked can bring ruin upon whole cities (Prov. 11:11, 29:16).
The Result of Wickedness:
- People rejoice when the wicked are destroyed (Prov. 11:10).
- The wicked who rise to power make people afraid (Prov. 28:12, 15, 28, 29:2).
- The wicked are destroyed by their own wickedness (Prov. 5:22, 11:5, 8, 13:17, 14:32, 21:7).
- The wicked do not profit from their wickedness (Prov. 10:2, 15:6).
- The wicked experience lots of trouble in life (Prov. 12:21).
- The wicked starve (Prov. 10:3, 13:25).
- The wicked die young (Prov. 10:27).
- The wicked have no lasting hope (Prov. 11:7).
- They are hated by God (Prov. 6:18) and eventually condemned by Him (Prov. 2:22, 3:33, 10:16, 24-25, 28, 30, 11:23, 31, 12:3, 12:7, 14:11, 32, 15:26, 21:12, 18, 21:27, 24:16).
- The wicked are relationally cutoff from God (Prov. 15:29).
The Ultimate Reason for Wickedness:
- The wicked are wicked because of Godâ€™s sovereign rule (Prov. 16:4).
How To Treat The Wicked (Managerially/Governmentally):
- Wise governments refuse the counsel of the wicked (Prov. 29:12).
- Wise governments remove the wicked from society (Prov. 20:26, 25:5).
How to Treat the Wicked (Personally):
- Do not justify/condone their behavior (Prov. 17:15, 24:24, 28:4a).
- Rebuke the wicked (Prov. 24:25).
- Do not behave like the wicked (Prov. 25:26).
- Avoid the wicked at all costs (Prov. 4:14).
- Do not become enraged at the wicked, as if to hurt them (Prov. 24:19a).
- Do not envy any apparent success of the wicked because they are actually under the wrath of God (Prov. 24:19b-20).
- Strive against the work of the wicked (Prov. 28:4b).
I pray this helps you determine how to identify and deal with the people in your life, but it would be a disservice to you (and the rest of the world) if I didn’t challenge you to ask yourself the very difficult question, “Am I either of these people?” If you’re honest, you will probably some of these characteristics in yourself. I know I do. At the very minimum, my wife could at least testify to the fact that I am not always easy to correct. In light of the fact that Christians will not be perfected before death, how do we test ourselves? John writes,
Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for Godâ€™s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:4-10
Did you notice the key word? It’s practice. John recognizes that believers will sin (1 Jn. 2:1), so he essentially encourages his readers to test themselves by asking, “Do I thirst for righteousness and actively (and generally successfully) battle sin, or do I generally embrace and practice sin? Is my life generally marked by righteousness or sin?” Applying this principle to the two profiles in this study, I would encourage you to ask yourself if the characteristics/descriptions of the scoffer/mocker and/or the wicked generally describe who you are.
If you’re not sure if these classify you, I would offer three encouragements:
- Devote yourself to Scripture. The Word of God itself has the ability to provide discernment regarding our thoughts and desires (Heb. 4:12).
- Pray. Pray with the psalmist, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23-24).
- Ask godly people who are willing to be honest with you.
If, after examining yourself, you do not believe you know Jesus, please click here. Again, I pray this is useful for your life. If I can be of any help to you, I’d love to hear from you, and if you have any comments, I’d love them below.