Are you wise, simple, scorner, or foolish?
Dear BPCWAians, I am thankful that we had a Chinese Family Camp this year. As I said at the introduction to the camp, it has been something that that I have been hoping to be able to have for some time. God willing, it is our desire to make the Chinese Family Camp an annual event from now on. I usually summarise the thematic messages in my pastorals because only one congregation attends. With both English and Chinese camps covering the same church theme, I realised that there is no longer a need for me to summarise the thematic messages in my pastorals as both congregations would have been taught about the same church theme at both camps. However, moving forward, since the morning devotion messages are on different topics at both camps, I will recapitulate the Morning Devotion messages.
The person who is truly wise (Prov 1:20-33). God sends wisdom to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to know His wisdom. To many of us, we consider life’s experience to be wisdom. Man may consider themselves wise. But we must receive the true wisdom, which is from God. Why is God’s wisdom truly wisdom? It is because God knows infinitely more than us. Unless I accept that our infinite God knows far beyond what I know, the finite “I” won’t be interested in submitting to God’s wisdom. In Pr 3:19-20, God proclaims Himself as the Creator, who “by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.” There are so many things on this earth that the most brilliant scientists put together cannot begin to know, let alone explain. No man can come close to the wisdom that God used to create the universe. Yet, despite that, man often thinks that God’s truth is not as relevant in our “modern days”. God the Creator, patiently reminds us as His child that He is far wiser than anyone in the universe, despite our technologically advanced age. Trust what He says. If we don’t listen to those who are wiser than we are, we are but fools and simple people. 1) God’s wisdom is His laws and commandments to man Pr 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments. He reveals them to us so that we may live safely. Wisdom is God’s infinite revelation to man – things that we may not even think of, or understand. We can see the physical realm and we would be foolish to go against His laws of creation by ourselves. We cannot see the spiritual realm. So, God uses the creation of the seen physical realm to show us Who He is. This is so that we learn to accept that He is indeed infinitely wise. 2) Hence, we are wise if we accept God’s wisdom in the spiritual realm, because it is always right and true. Whether or not we accept His spiritual laws doesn’t change the fact that His wisdom is true. We can think that we are wiser and more experienced, but that doesn’t change the fact that His Truth is always true, like in the physical realm. Christian, do you really see God’s wisdom as the true wisdom? Are we still simple, scorners and fools (v22)? God designed only one way to Him in heaven. We can either embrace it or reject it. Likewise, for a Christian, do you really accept everything that He accepts in His laws and commandments? We must always accept that God’s wisdom is right, even if it goes against what the world’s wisdom teaches. 3) Therefore, we must be wise by living by God’s revealed wisdom without rejecting any part of it. We can know, but we may refuse to live by it. We must humbly bow to and make God’s wisdom part of my life. If we reject God’s wisdom, it is because of our pride – we think we know better, or know more, or that our experience is more trustworthy than God’s. If we don’t live by it, we cannot say that we have God’s wisdom.
The simple, scorner and fool (Prov 1:22). The simple love simplicity. The scorner delights in scorning. The fools hate knowledge. If you love simplicity, then you will delight in scorning and eventually hate knowledge. This is the same for both believers and unbelievers. A simple person 1) is naïve, someone who easily follows man’s ideas, follows the crowd, or what is logical from our own senses. If God’s word doesn’t seem to work or doesn’t fit my culture or lifestyle, the simple person will reject it. As a Christian, all cultures are the same to us as long as it matches what God reveals to be correct. Anything in our culture that doesn’t reject God’s Truth, we can embrace and perpetuate. But the wise knows that when it contradicts God’s revealed truth, I stay away from it. I will choose wisely means I will rather choose what God says in His revealed Word. As Christians, after we’ve come to know God as our Saviour, our pride in our Chinese culture and heritage must be subject to God’s wisdom. Even if we’ve followed certain ways all our life, everything in our life must be obedient to the revelation of God’s Word. Once anything contradicts God’s Word, even if there is friction between what we’ve become accustomed to; what relatives expect; and what society deems wise, we will still wisely obey God. The simple will just pick and choose what makes sense to them and feel that that is enough – “no need to know so much”. However, the wise is interested in everything God commands. This is what differentiates the simple from the wise. 2) A simple minded is also described as being “open minded”. When it comes to conflict, the simple doesn’t want to know more and if following God’s wisdom means conflict, they will just be open to choose the path of least resistance, avoiding conflict, and maintaining relationships. They are opento disobeying God’s word if needed. 3) The simple person loves simplicity and dislikes anything complex or detailed. They are not interested in doctrines and preaching which teaches every verse and every word. They want simpler, shorter messages and more fellowship. They may only come to church because of friends, fun or family, or simply because that’s what they’ve been doing all their life. 4) The simple person goes to church simply because of health problems, or other similar self-interests. They are not in church because they desire God’s wisdom. This is the greatest danger for our church. They can attend church or serve, just simply because they like to be part of a group of people, have friends, but not because of teachings from God’s Word. They are active and lively, but are bored and switches off when preaching begins. They also dislike Biblical separation because all they want is an activity filled life with open friendships, not Bible studies. The simple person will eventually move to the next stage to be a scorner of the wise because the wise will obey God’s Word.
The next person is a scorner. The scorner is someone who despises something. He thinks that what he knows is better than what God says. Scorning also means “make a mouth at”. When it comes to a part of God’s word or doctrine that you don’t like, in your heart you may be mouthing “that doctrine again”. You’ve moved from a simple minded “I don’t like it” to scorning and making fun of it, and even like to argue against it. That is what “delight in scorning” means. It has to do with boasting, because in reality you are saying in your heart that you know better. When you resist, you are saying that God’s wisdom is not as good as what you have experienced in your life or what you believe works better. You may listen, come to church, obey many things, but may think that in particular areas, it isn’t applicable or not important because you know better. You don’t obey in that point that you don’t like, and you may even encourage other Christians close to you to disobey in the same areas. By your asking others to believe your way, you scorn God’s ways publicly now.
The last person is the fool, who hates knowledge. 1) Even those in church may be a fool. They not only do not want to attend Bible studies to receive instructions, they hate it when teachings reprove what they like. God’s word is supposed to reproof and instruct (2 Tim 3:16). Knowledge is supposed to tell you what you are doing wrong, and it’s supposed to change you for your good (v17). It is hence foolish to reject God’s reproves. 2) The fool is one who rejects God. The fool is one who says in their heart that there is no God. God gives us the truth to make us see what we really are. It is to wake Christians and unbelievers up for our good. May we examine our hearts and see if we are simple ones, scorners, or fools by God’s definition.
Yours in our Lord’s service