Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 3:34
"Though He scoffs at the scoffers, yet He gives grace to the afflicted"
Biblical wisdom means that one reaps what one sows. One is recompensed for his deeds. You acted and behaved in a certain way; that is how you will be treated. People and the world – and even God – reflect back to you what you give off.
This verse is a slight variation of the verse that is repeated in various parts of the Old and New Testament. God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5.
So many times people are upset at what other people are doing to them when they are often just getting a taste of what they do to people.
This proverb is a continuation of this basic biblical truth: If you are a scoffer then God will scoff at you. If you afflict yourself for God's sake, then He will give you grace.
This is the Hebrew word lits which means to scorn, scoff, deride, mock. The word means to express negativity or contempt about something through speech. To be a cynic. To always take the negative side and criticize.
If your life is full of finding fault and pointing out the mess-ups and negative in others – with little regard to constructive criticism – then you are a scoffer. Don't tell me it’s because people around you are such screw-ups or that you just see what is wrong with things. It is a perspective on the world, looking for the negative, looking for what is wrong.
This is a form of foolishness and pride. It puts you in the superior position. It puts you in the judging role, which is where the cynic thinks that he belongs.
We have to be very careful about this tendency in ourselves to judge how people dress or how they speak or how they work or how they eat or how they act and then put them down for these things. This is scorning, scoffing, or mocking.
What God says in this proverb is that if you act this way with others, God will act this way with you. This is His curse on you. You will be treated by Him the way you treat others. Think through this: He will point out all your flaws and all your shortcomings and all your mistakes. He will never let any of these things go without pointing them out.
If you want God to be gracious and overlook your mistakes and not point out your flaws then stop doing it with others. Suffer through others’ mistakes and inadequacies. Meet their needs anyway; don't take the superior position, the “I am better than you and have the right to judge you.” But instead see if there are needs they have that you can meet. Love them by meeting their needs.
The fruit of the spirit can flow through you to others -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, meekness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control -- and these will be welcome gifts to others.
This is the Hebrew word chen which means favor, grace. The idea is clearly that God is favorably disposed towards this kind of person who afflicts themselves for others.
The wonder of God's nature is that He is gracious at all to sinful beings. We have broken his commands and turned away from His direction. But He continues to offer His favor and mercy and place of privilege to us if we will just humble ourselves. It is crucial that we get out of this superiority and pride. We must come to Him and admit that He is God and we are not. We need to admit that we have broken His laws and pushed away His direction. We seek His forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ, and He is merciful and gracious and gives it to us.
This is the Hebrew word anav which means poor, afflicted, humble, meek. I believe that this word should probably have been translated humble in this passage because it is this quality that is the opposite of scoffing with its superiority issues.
To humble yourself and not push out your judgmental attitude or superior knowledge or information is to invite the grace of God. Of course people do things wrong. Of course they don't do things perfectly. Of course you can point out the mistakes and problems with things; but if you take that scoffer’s position, God will not be gracious to you.
To be a scoffer is to act and speak like you are God and can correctly and accurately see the faults and mistakes in others and should be given the right to correct them.
Haven't all of us been caught acting like we know it all and are the corrector for everyone and everything? There are times when a little correction is needed, but it should be done positively and by the appropriate person.
As you go through the day today, let other people be corrected by God and their appropriate authority. Mind your own business and do the best you can. Humble yourself under God's direction for you and watch as His grace and blessing flow towards you.
Do you want God's grace and blessing in your life? Stop criticizing everything and everyone. Stop acting like you know everything and can correct everyone. Look for places to serve and help.