Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 1:26
"I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes"
This is the interesting reaction of wisdom personified to the troubles that those who are selfish, impulsive, and rebellious bring on themselves. In a sense, wisdom is saying when you choose the selfish choices that would give you immediate satisfaction with no thought for tomorrow, I allowed it knowing that you would end up here in these troubles and difficulties. The judgment here is strong and follows the theme of the whole Bible: a person will receive in accordance with His deeds.
This is the Hebrew word sachaq which means to laugh. It is translated amuse, celebrate, laugh, joke. In a sense, wisdom is saying, "You thought you were getting ahead, but look at where your impulsive selfishness has landed you." You and I cannot sin against wisdom and get away with it. Selfishness brings consequences – either physical, mental, emotional, relational, or spiritual; but there will be consequences for selfish behavior. The universe that God made is wired to have this cause-and-effect relationship. If you choose wisely, then you will be moving toward life. If you choose foolishness, shortcuts, and impulsiveness, then you will be moving toward calamity.
This is the Hebrew word ed which means calamity, destruction, ruin, disaster, distress, vengeance, trouble, misfortune, doom. It is clearly the negative consequences of the choices that you have made. The consequences of your choices will find you whether they are good or bad. Solomon is trying to get us to pay attention to the fact that you cannot escape the consequences of your choices. If you make poor ones because they are easy, then you will receive the results of those choices.
Really, the message is that we are responsible for the life we live. Even if bad and horrible things happen to us that we have no control over, we will be given choices after those things happen. We are responsible for those choices. Our culture is a victim culture that seems to refuse to take responsibility for the choices it makes. It is always someone else’s fault. But it isn't. We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we react and respond to it. If we choose wisdom rather than foolishness, everybody wins rather than just ourselves; and we will receive a completely different “win” in our life than the short-term gain we were tempted to go after.
Wisdom means that we work hard to make the right people win in the right way. This brings a great result.
This is the Hebrew word laag which means mock or deride. It is interesting that Solomon uses this word to describe the behavior of wisdom. One would not expect wisdom to have this sarcastic tone. This is a “you made your bed, now lie in it.” This is a “you are getting what you deserve.”
Our culture right now majors on looking compassionate and caring rather than helping people see that because of one's choices they are where they are. So we do not embrace the idea of wisdom which allows people to suffer the consequences of their choices. We, as a culture, do not believe in shame. We are afraid to expose people to shame and/or the natural consequences of their own decisions. God says that wisdom laughs and mocks at the results of foolishness. This is “You made your bed; now lie in it.”
I have watched as families have tried everything to help the wayward son and brother who embraces drugs, stealing, parties, and yet finally has to emotionally disown the homeless bum who lives a few miles away and will not break away from his selfish, proud choices.
I have watched as the families have tried to talk the selfish husband or wife out of their adulterous, drunken ways but they will not listen. They will cheat this rule of reaping and sowing. Then a few years later to see those same loving family members be openly disgusted with their former loved one, appalled at where this person's choices have taken them.
Nobody cheats the law of sowing and reaping. What you sow, you will also reap. If you sow a crop of selfishness, pride, impulsiveness; you will reap destruction to your soul and body.
Solomon is trying to scream at us: You are responsible for your choices. Make good ones. Dig for the everybody-wins choices.
This is the Hebrew word pahad which means dread or fear. When someone makes selfish choices, they usually are aware of the things that they are trying to cheat their way out of or around. It is those things catching up with them or the fearful results of what they are doing that is catching up with them.
The idea of dread is the fear that you will be caught. This is not the calamity or the actual problem, but it is the fear of the bad that could happen. In some cases, it is this emotional problem that haunts the person who is selfish. They worry constantly about what will happen if so and so really finds out or if the truth comes out.
When we are in the midst of the cutting corners or the selfish actions, we don't think about this fear that will grip us; but it will come. So don't do things that cannot bear the scrutiny of the light of day.