How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
What have you done today to get wisdom? If you have not done much, this proverb is for you. Are you merely stupid and lazy? Or too arrogant to accept instruction from others? Or just foolishly in love with yourself? This proverb will show which of these traits is your chief character flaw. The proverb’s questions are important: because if you continue in your ignorance, Lady Wisdom will soon be laughing at your calamities (Pr 1:24-32)!
Lady Wisdom offers wisdom to those who will take it (Pr 1:20-23). Why reject a free offer of wisdom and understanding, which are the principal matters of life (Pr 4:7)? You came into this world totally simple, a scorner, and hating knowledge. But you do not need to stay in that evil condition. Repent, and take Lady Wisdom’s gracious offer (Pr 9:1-12).
A simple person is stupid due to a combination of low intelligence, laziness, and/or apathy. They leave the mental work to others. Simple men are very content eating, working, playing, and sleeping. They cannot perceive the value of wisdom. Pursuing wisdom sounds too hard, so they wallow in simplicity until they take their last breath.
Are you simple? Is your life basically getting up, going to work, eating, relaxing, and going to bed? Is getting a paycheck a real feat to you? Do you let others study issues and provide answers? Do complex dilemmas intimidate you? Do you prefer bodily exercise over studying? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are simple.
But Lady Wisdom calls to the simple, “How long will ye love simplicity? Why are you content to be stupid?” The words of God can make a simple man wise, if he will repent of his simplicity, beg God for wisdom, and search the Scriptures (Pr 1:4; Ps 19:7; 119:130). If you neglect her offer, you will live and die in simplicity and bear the consequences.
Scorners are arrogant persons that despise those who try to correct or teach them. They are flagrantly haughty, rebellious, and stubborn. Puffed up in pride, they mock and resent any effort to reprove them. They are snottily disrespectful to authority. They are the most profane character in Proverbs, hated by God and men (Pr 6:16-17; 9:7-8; 24:9; 26:12).
Are you a scorner? Do you bristle at authoritative teachers, especially when they correct you? Do you look for faults in a reprover to excuse your rebellion? Do you enjoy snide remarks, accusing others, or seditiously sowing discord to get a following? Do you resent authority, because you believe you are at least as wise as any you have met? Can you mock a parent or teacher, just because you disagree? You are a scorner.
But Lady Wisdom calls to scorners, “How long will you delight in scorning? Why do you take pleasure in being a profane scorner?” Though wise men are taught to ignore and reject scorners, Lady Wisdom offers wisdom even to these brute beasts (Pr 9:7-8; Matt 7:6). If they reject her merciful offer, the God of heaven will crush them under His feet.
Fools are stubborn and lazy persons, though not as conceited and vicious as scorners. In love with themselves, they see no need to listen to anyone or make changes in their lives. After being taught, they quickly return to their vomit and wallowing in folly (Pr 26:11). They hate knowledge by resisting instruction due to love of their own thoughts (Pr 18:2).
Are you a fool? Do you think you have a good head on your shoulders and do not need teachers? Are you confident you are right? Do you like the sound of your own voice? Are you better known for a sharp retort than humble listening? Do you get angry when you cannot have your way? Do you think you could be a good teacher? Do you like to surf the Internet looking for some new thing like the foolish Athenians? You are a fool.
But Lady Wisdom also calls to fools, “How long will you hate knowledge? Why do you resist learning what is right?” Though wise men are taught to silence fools and ignore them, she offers liberal wisdom even to these stupid dolts (Pr 14:7; 23:9; 26:4-5). If they do not heed her helpful offer, they will live dysfunctional lives and die hopeless deaths.
Reader, where do you fall on this scale? Are you a simpleton? Or are you a real fool? Or are you a haughty scorner? If you have not done anything to pursue wisdom today, you are one of these three. In any case, Lady Wisdom is offering you wisdom. If you refuse her offer, she will refuse to help you when troubles come to ruin your life (Pr 1:24-28).
The words of the living God are before you. They can make you wise (Ps 119:98-100; II Tim 3:16-17). But you must read and meditate on His words to become wise. He has sent teachers to you, from parents to pastors (Eccl 12:9; Jer 3:15; I Thess 5:20). But you must humbly submit to their teaching and put it into practice. He has offered wisdom to those who will humbly beg Him for it (I Kgs 3:5; Jas 1:5). When did you last pray for it?
Why do you continue in your simple, scornful, or foolish ways? What will it take to get your attention? What will it take to get you to leave your simplicity, your scorning, or your folly? Will a divorce do it? A dysfunctional home? A rebellious child? Professional or financial trouble? Some time in prison? The lack of friends and church? A medical emergency? The death of a loved one? Lady Wisdom offers wisdom. You better take it.