In the Bible, being a “scoffer” is a very bad thing. Also called “mockers,” such people are God haters. They laugh and make fun of the Bible’s teachings and reject the ways of God. Their hearts are so hardened against the conviction of the Holy Spirit that they sin openly, without any remorse or sorrow. They want nothing to do with godly Christians. Punishments from parents, teachers, or other authorities do not bring them to repentance but only make them more clever and determined in their sin (Proverbs 19:25). They rebel against the command to honor and obey their fathers and mothers (19:26). Scoffers or mockers will not listen to the voice of wisdom that God is trying to pour into their lives through Christian influences (19:27). They do not love truth and justice as God and His people do (19:28). Punishments were actually created because of these law rejectors (19:29), yet they are fools who will not learn no matter how much the consequences of their sins make them suffer. Finally, many of these people turn to alcohol abuse, which only increases their rebellious attitudes and sinful actions (20:1). The case of the scoffer or mocker is truly heartbreaking to watch.
The main point of today’s warning from Proverbs is that we must ever guard our hearts against the mindset of the scoffer / mocker. We want to maintain soft hearts before God. We want to stay sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in our consciences. We want to keep reading God’s Word each day, hiding it in our hearts that we might not sin against our Lord. We want to keep depending on God each day in prayer. We want to keep out the wicked voices of the world that tempt us to doubt and hate our God. We want to keep loving Jesus more than all the stuff that He has given us. And when your parents or other authorities correct you, listen and repent quickly. Keep short accounts of sin through daily confession and accountability with your parents and/or other Christian mentors. Don’t let the attitude of the scoffer / mocker creep into your soul.
A second but also important application from this passage is that we should be careful about the friends we choose to hang out with, in person and online. The words and thoughts of your friends will influence you, whether you believe it or not. The mindset of the mocker is all around us. It has always been part of sinful human nature. But in our increasingly anti-Christian society, we must recognize that the scoffer’s lies are constantly pouring into our lives today through our screens and unbelieving neighbors. If your friends are not actively reading their Bibles and seeking the Lord’s truth, they are being led into falsehood by the lies of the world. Be a good witness to the lost, but you should spend more time with friends who share your commitment to having the mind of Christ. As it says elsewhere in Proverbs, “He who walks with wise men [and women] will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” (13:20).
The Text (Proverbs 19:25-20:1)
19:25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary; Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.
26 He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.
27 Cease listening to instruction, my son, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A disreputable witness scorns justice, And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers, And beatings for the backs of fools.
20:1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Questions to Think About
- Have you ever become painfully aware of the attitude of the scoffer or mocker in your own life? What happened?
- How are you actively protecting yourself this summer from hardening your heart against God?
- Do you have any friends who are displaying the mindset of the scoffer or mocker right now? What should you do about these friends? Have you talked to your parents about your concerns for these friends?