The Scorners and the Scorned
Brian D. DykstraTeacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
Proverbs 3:34: “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.”
We are all too familiar with scorners. Our society is full of those who scorn God, His Word and His true church. Look at the area of science and medicine. Those who believe the creation account of Genesis 1 are ridiculed as backward, throwback hicks. Anyone who stands for the truth of creation outside of our circles, and a precious few other groups, will be met with open ridicule and contempt. How could you possibly be serious! A creation week! The world is a mere six thousand years old! Don’t you have any sense? Are you totally blind or ignorant of all of the scientific discoveries of the last century? You really believe that Bible stuff! Standing up for creation in public universities, and, sadly, even in Christian colleges, is to make oneself open to sarcastic comments.
If some Christian dares to write to the local newspaper and express the thought that some human activity currently in the news is sin and brings the punishment of God, we can all anticipate the response. It will not take long for an atheist to take a shot. Often the agnostic will point out that the Bible also commands people not to wear clothing of mixed fabric, to stone those who violate the Sabbath day and that those who dash the small children of the enemy against rocks will do so with joy. Who in their right mind would take seriously a book which contains commands and attitudes such as that?
How does the world view a godly lifestyle? What do they think of our striving to be faithful in marriage? You mean you didn’t live together first before you were married? There was no sex in your relationship until you were married? You’ve been faithful to your spouse ever since? Who are you people? We all know someone who has gone through the harsh pain and deep scars of divorce. You mean to tell me that you are still faithful to your spouse even though they left you and remarried? You now live your life alone and still regard that person who cheated on you as your God-given spouse?
Think of how our family lives and the relationships in our homes are viewed by the world. Male headship? Submissive wives? Children are spanked? Parents supervise their children and judge their behaviours and attitudes by the standard of God’s law? Do you know that recent studies have shown that less than half of American families have two parents who are married to each other under the same roof? Any outsider who happens to be a social worker or anthropologist would not believe their findings if they were to do a study of the family structures found in our denomination’s families.
Unfortunately, we can see some examples of scorn in our own Christian classrooms. Some students will put others down either because of their own insecurities or from haughty pride. Sometimes you can even see the pride in their faces as they look with disdain at those of lower social status. The godly advice we give our classes is not always met with universal approval either.
The root of scorn is pride. Man thinks he has developed enough over the years not to need the antiquated fable of creation. If God were to inspire the Bible today, He would realize that we could handle the concept of the universe developing over the course of billions of years. Society has matured to such and extent that we no longer need the structures of old-fashioned marriage. The world is no longer as dangerous as it once was, so you should let your children experiment more with their own lifestyle and modern attitudes. Your children will be outcasts if you don’t.
God scorns these scorners. He righteously hates them. Who do they think they are? Can they really do anything to God? They can ridicule and dismiss God as much as they wish, He still reigns supreme in heaven. The world can persecute His church and torment us in life and seek to be rid of us. He will still comfort us, raise us from the dead and cause us to rule with Christ over all the new creation.
God hates pride because He knows what we have made ourselves in Adam. We are nothing more than totally depraved sinners. We are incapable of any good apart from Him. We cannot save ourselves. He holds our every breath in His hand. Knowing how weak and sinful we are, we had better not be proud.
God’s scorn will also have a terrible effect, unlike the scorn of the proud. He is powerful enough to bring a terrible judgment upon sinners. When Christ returns, even the wicked will bend the knee and acknowledge that God is just and righteous in all His ways.
Here is God’s just antithesis. We have seen God’s attitude toward the proud, but God gives grace to the lowly. God’s grace is given—given, not earned. Grace is not given to everybody. God gives grace to the lowly, the humble: the centurion with the dying servant, the publican with lowered eyes, Mary Magdalene with her former disreputable life.
In his commentary on this verse, Charles Bridges quotes Leighton’s commentary on I Peter 5:5 which is a quotation of this verse: “He pours (grace) out plentifully upon humble hearts. His sweet dews and showers of grace slide off the mountains of pride, and fall on the low valleys of humble hearts, and make them pleasant and fertile.”
May we and our students be blessed with the grace which our heavenly Father gives to the lowly.