The Lord minces no words as to how He blesses those who honor Him and curses those who despise Him. The opening chapters of Proverbs spell out for us the ways God does this. They also prompt the question: Why would any not follow the ways of the Lord? The answer is that those who read and understand His Word make the wise choice of saying yes to God. They win His favor and receive His goodness. Those who hear the call of God and purposefully reject Him are fools.
The truth of the matter is that God makes Himself available to everyone. In one form or another He shows up in a person’s life such that they can respond favorably or not. He illustrates this in the description of Wisdom in Proverbs 1:20-22:
Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
“How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
The idea is that wherever people are, there is God giving them an opportunity to turn to Him. He shows them the difference between a wise path and a foolish one, describing those who don’t know Him as simple and easily misled. There’s the idea in the word simple of being open-minded. As some of us might say, that person is so open-minded his brains fell out. But, isn’t that the truth? Without God and Him to believe in, people will believe anything. In so doing, they show their delight in scoffing about their Creator and show how foolish they are by lacking true knowledge.
But this simplicity in one’s character has a dark side. Consider Proverbs 1:27:
“when terror strikes you like a storm
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.”
Notice that it’s not a matter of if – but when. Terror will come upon such people. Calamity will blow them away. Distress and anguish will vex them. And because they told God they didn’t need Him, what is His response? Proverbs 1:26 shockingly tells us:
“I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when terror strikes you,”
Not much sympathy there. God gave them the chance to avoid all this trouble. They told Him “No thanks” and He allowed whatever wages (of sin) they earned to come upon them.
Now this is not to say that He abandons them. God’s hand is always outstretched so that if such a person realizes his folly and repents, God will accept him.
Scripture gives us an alternative picture of someone who turns to God and readily receives what He has to offer. How does he do this? Proverbs 2:2 gives the means:
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
What this really says is that the person who does these things is teachable. He listens; he receives, he considers, and he embraces. Through this, he is given the blessings of the Lord. More than that, Proverbs 2:7 tells us what God is to us in this dark world:
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
God is our protector. As a shield, He keeps the fiery darts of the enemy from touching us. By our walking in integrity, the Lord guards us and watches over all that we do. He delivers us from evil and the evil one.
What do we gain by turning to God and obeying Him versus someone who doesn’t? Proverbs 2:21-22 summarizes it for us:
For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
For the Israelites, it meant that they would dwell safely and securely in the Promised Land. Anyone who rejected God would be turned out of it. For us today, we have the promise of the soon-return of Jesus for His Bride to snatch us from this evil world. The land for us is eternal life with Christ. Unbelievers will be left behind on earth to face the horrors of the Tribulation. If they don’t accept Jesus during that awful period, all they have to look forward to is eternal separation from the Lord in the place of torment.
Wisdom or foolishness? Which should we choose? Which is better? Anyone with half a brain can understand and know the answer.
Let us make the statement we see in Joshua 24:15:
“… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
This is certainly a declaration we will never regret.