Proverbs 17:5

Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.


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A rich girl teases a poor girl. Athletic boys mock a handicapped boy. A man laughs when his competitor has a heart attack. Do these examples offend you? They should. They offend God! You should be very angry at such insensitive and wicked cruelty. God is!

God justly and sovereignly makes differences among men, and they should not be either haughty or cruel about those differences. Men should not make fun of acts of God in another person’s life. You should want to severely punish such arrogance. God will! You should train your children to never think or speak critically about such people or to them.

God leaves some men poor. Laughing at them offends Him, for He made men to differ, not you. The blessings you have in life are due to His merciful kindness (I Cor 4:7). You cannot boast of them as your accomplishments, and you cannot gloat over others who do not have them. God made the differences between you and others; humbly worship Him.

When calamities occur, as they did in Jesus Christ’s time, do not jump to conclusions that those perishing were worse sinners than you. Instead, you should examine yourself and repent for any known sin, lest you perish just like them (Luke 13:1-5). You are worthy of accidental death or dismemberment, so be careful when seeing it happen to others.

God judges men by holy and perfect justice. His secret decrees are far out of your sight (Deut 29:29). He has infinitely wise purposes in all His judgments. If you are glad when your personal enemy is struck down, you are taking vicarious revenge (Pr 24:17-18). You presume God did it out of honor to you. You have a wicked heart! You will be punished!

There are acts of God, and there are acts of fools. Do you know the difference? When a man is born blind, that is an act of God for His glory (John 9:1-3). You should care for such persons with deep humility and tender compassion. But when a foolish king loses ten tribes for rejecting the counselors of his father Solomon, you can laugh at his trouble.

There are acts of God as obvious punishment for man’s wickedness. When the men of Sodom were struck blind at Lot’s door, this is a case of blindness you should rejoice at with holy laughter (Gen 19:11). You can also laugh about Balaam’s transportation, wicked Haman, Nebuchadnezzar turned out to pasture, and Daniel’s adversaries.

There are enemies of God and truth, and you have personal enemies. Do you know the difference? When your personal enemy smites you on a cheek, you should turn to him the other cheek (Matt 5:38-48). But when God’s enemies are seeking to destroy His church, it is time to celebrate and dance when their soggy bodies wash up on shore (Ex 15:1-21).

Wise men know these differences. God laughs at fools when they get in trouble (Pr 1:26; Ps 2:1-5), and there is holy justice when you laugh with Him (Ps 52:6-7; Rev 18:20). God hates His enemies, and you should hate them as well (Ps 31:6; 139:21-22; II Chron 19:2). The key is to recognize God’s role in the matter and treat the situation accordingly.

A psalm describing happy men smashing the babies of Babylon against a stone is proper judgment for what Babylon did to Jerusalem (Ps 137:8-9). Mocking foolish men is wise and good (I Kgs 18:27; Eccl 10:13-15); mocking lazy men is wise and good (Pr 6:6-11; 19:24); and mocking odious women is wise and good (Pr 11:22; 27:15-16; 30:21-23). The Philistine’s hemorrhoids and Jehu’s draught house should cause you to laugh!

If you are blessed, thank God for His mercy. Do not despise those who are not so blessed. The difference is by God’s grace. If you mock or ridicule those God has deprived of blessings in His infinite wisdom, then you bring reproach against Him, and He will not tolerate it for long. You criticize God Himself when you make fun of the poor.

If your personal enemy suffers, pray for him and help him (Ps 35:11-14; Luke 10:33-35; Rom 12:17-21). This is an important measure of the Christian religion. If you proudly presume to despise the poor or rejoice when your enemies fall, God Himself will revenge your arrogant and profane wickedness. Beware! Pray for them instead, and show yourself a child of God by this similarity in character, for He is kind every day (Matt 5:43-48).