How many of you have ever met a guy named SpongeBob SquarePants. He’s pretty excitable guy there, isn’t he? He’s part of an animated series on the Nickelodeon channel created by a marine biologist named Stephen Hillenburg. SpongeBob is a loveable, excitable, mostly optimistic sea sponge. The problem is he looks like kind of an everyday sponge you’d find in your kitchen. Therefore he wears square pants. That’s how he got his name. Believe it or not, the animated series has won all kinds of awards. And SpongeBob SquarePants is kind of a celebrity. He appears in places like the Thanksgiving Macy’s Day Parade as a big helium balloon. I mean, he’s big stuff. He’s made it big, big time. And SpongeBob, as you might know, lives in the sea. And he has some friends down there in the sea, like a guy named Patrick Star. Patrick Star is a starfish, a rather dimwitted starfish, although he thinks he’s intelligent. He thinks he’s very intelligent. He lives under a rock, and that’s kind of beside the point, but Patrick thinks he’s a very, very intelligent sea star. And SpongeBob has a lot of other friends like that that are not the brightest lights on the street. But one of them is called Squidward Tentacles, another Plankton, Mr. Krabs, Larry the Lobster. I mean, it’s a pretty entertaining, kind of, animated series. I really don’t watch it, but my son does. And sometimes I’m wondering what in the world is going on in his brain that he’s watching SpongeBob SquarePants. But SpongeBob is not the kind of guy that is gonna, you know, communicate a lot of wisdom. You’re not gonna find a lot of wisdom on SpongeBob SquarePants. And you’re not gonna find Mr. SquarePants in the pages of the book of Proverbs. But I think we’re gonna meet his equally feeble-minded cousin named Mr. Smarty Pants. Actually a trio of smarty pants that we meet in the book of Proverbs. Their names are the simple, the scoffer and the fool. And we’re also going to meet in the text that we’re looking at today, Proverbs 1:20-33, we’re gonna meet somebody named Lady Wisdom.
Now, I love the way Solomon communicates creatively with his son. Remember, this is, in part, the book of Proverbs is a parenting guide. He is instructing the next generation, his son or sons who might become king of Israel. And Solomon will do anything to get this truth into the hearts of his kids, even personifying wisdom from above as a virtuous woman. And that’s where we get the idea of Lady Wisdom. She appears several times in the book of Proverbs. And she gives at least three speeches, three messages- one that is found in Proverbs 1, another one in Proverbs 8, yet another one in Proverbs 9. And when Lady Wisdom speaks, well, kids, we need to listen up. We need to listen up. There is an investment firm on Wall Street that used to advertise their services by saying, “When E.F. Hutton speaks, people listen.” Well, I hope that’s true about Lady Wisdom. When Lady Wisdom speaks, we need to listen up. And what I want us to do is, before we dive into her speech, I want to go to the end of her message here and take a look at her summary statement. Here is what she says in verses 32 and 33. “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” We’ll come back to that summary at the end and read it again. But I think that’s a good place for us to start and to think about several ways we need to respond to Lady Wisdom when she speaks.
The first I’ve already alluded to, and that’s to listen to her cry. Look at it in verse 22 and verse 23. Solomon writes, “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy street she cries aloud, at the entrance of the city gates she speaks.” This is a picture of Lady Wisdom going into the streets, into the noisy places, into the marketplaces. It kind of reminds me of the old Doobie Brothers song “Taking It to the Streets.” That’s what Lady Wisdom is doing. She’s taking her message to the streets. Oh, she has a message and even a mission inside the home. We know that as a parenting guide and as Solomon is instructing his next generation, his sons. But Lady Wisdom’s message is so important it can’t be contained just within the walls of a single household. She is taking it to the streets, as it were. She is not waiting for somebody to come to her and ask her about her faith and about her wisdom. She is aggressively, proactively taking it to the streets. In fact, one commentator says, “Lady Wisdom is no gentle persuader. She shouts, pleads, scolds, reasons, threatens, warns, and even laughs.” He goes on to say, “Pulpit bashing and hellfire preaching if there ever were, and all quite unladylike, and nowadays, also quite unfashionable, even frowned upon.” This is Lady Wisdom taking it to the streets, as it were. And she kind of reminds me of the apostle Paul in Acts 17. You remember when Paul showed up in Athens? And he went to a place called the Areopagus. In our language today, to the Mall of America. It was the busiest place of commerce in Athens. I’ve been there before, and the Areopagus, or the ruins of the Areopagus, are just down the hill from the Parthenon, that famous structure, that temple where the Greeks would worship their pagan gods. That’s where the apostle Paul went with the gospel. Into the streets, into the most populated places, into the public square, we might say. And this is what Lady Wisdom does. She even goes to the entrance of the city gates, an indication that what she has to say has application even to places of commerce and to the courts and to city hall. The way she enters out into the public square is a reminder, friends, that our faith belongs there. Don’t let anybody ever tell you that your Christian faith needs to be a private thing inside the four walls of your own house or even inside the four walls of your own house of worship. No, our faith needs to go into the public square, taking it to the streets. It belongs there. It’s needed there. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, need to take it there unashamedly. And Lady Wisdom does that. She shouts. She pleads. And she is passionate, passionate about what she has to say. “Wisdom cries aloud in the streets.” She is not whispering this.
And it kind of reminds me of what Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, said about persuasion. I remember when I was in my doctoral program having to read The Art of Persuasion by Aristotle. And it was kind of, like, you know, chewing on saltine crackers without the salt and no water. It was just real dry reading. But I remember he said three things about persuasion, the art of persuasion. He said it’s like a three-legged stool. It requires logos, ethos, and pathos, Aristotle said. Logos is the content of your message. Ethos is the ethic or the character of the person who is communicating the message. And pathos is passion. And if you want to persuade somebody, Aristotle said that three-legged stool needs to be in place. Take any one of them out, and persuasion fails. Logos, ethos, and pathos. Now, Lady Wisdom is the literary personification of the logos, ethos and pathos of God. But Jesus…remember, we said we were gonna find Jesus in the pages of the Proverbs. And Colossians 2 tells us that He is the full and actual expression of the wisdom of God. Jesus was the logos who came down from heaven. Remember John 1, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word dwelt among us.” That’s the logos, the Word. The ethos of Jesus was unassailable. I mean, He lived a perfect life in front of us. And nobody is more passionate than the God of the Bible and this Jesus who came from heaven and died on a cross for our sins and rose triumphantly from the grave. You read the Old Testament and God’s relationship with Israel. There is great passion, passion. Jesus is the full and actual expression of the logos, ethos, and pathos of God.
But in a very creative way, Solomon, in a literary personification, makes Lady Wisdom that expression as well. She’s got content to her message. There is the ethic that flows through there, and she has great passion as she communicates it. And we need to listen to her, as simple as that sounds. We need to bend our ear. We need to lean into this. We need to turn down all the noisiness that is all around us. I mean, she is trying to raise her voice above the noisy places out here. We live in a very noisy culture. Have you noticed that? Twenty-four hour news channels and radio channels and social media, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of the year, somebody is shouting something at us. And if we don’t take the wisdom from above and raise it above that level, it’ll never be heard in the places where it needs to be heard most.
So we listen to her cry. Secondly, we respond, respond to her reproof. She goes on in verse 22 and says this. “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; and I will make my words known to you.” I kind of get the impression that Lady Wisdom is frustrated. She is a bit exasperated. She uses the phrase “how long” twice. “How long, O simple ones.” “How long, O foolish ones.” I get the sense she’s been down this road before. Parents, can you identify with this where you’ve sat down with your kids and said, “How many times do we have to have this conversation?” That’s kind of the idea here. Jesus once said to His disciples, “How long have I been with you? You know, are you so dull in your hearing that you don’t quite get it.” And so she’s a bit frustrated. She has been down the road with these overgrown, gullible youths who just haven’t quite embraced the wisdom of God. But what I love about this is she hasn’t’ given up on them. It’s one more plea. One more conversation. And in that way, aren’t you glad that the God of the Bible is patient and He’s long-suffering. Oh, don’t test His patience. Don’t test His long-suffering. But He is not quick-triggered. He’s not quick with His anger. He is patient and He is long-suffering. He gives us that second chance, sometimes that third and that fourth chance.
And Lady Wisdom says in verse 23, “If you turn at my reproof, I will pour out my spirit. I’ll make my words known to you.” Just circle that word “if.” The entire text really hinges on it. “If you would just listen to what I have to say. If you would just turn away from your foolish ways. You have no idea what I’ll do for you,” says Lady Wisdom. And it kind of reminds me another if/then construction in the Bible. 1 Chronicles 7:14. You could probably say it with me. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and turn from their wicked way, then I will hear from heaven, then I will forgive their sin, then I will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 is probably the most powerful if/then construction, the most powerful conditional clause in the entire Bible. Proverbs 1 is a close second. “How long, O simple ones? How long, you foolish ones? If you would only turn at my reproof, then I will do this. I’ll pour out my spirit on you. I will share my words with you. I will guide you through that difficult place.” If, if, if. And there is no guarantee that anyone will respond, but she is pleading in the streets. “Respond to my reproof.”
And she pleads to three specific groups of people here. It’s kind of like Mr. Smarty Pants 1, Mr. Smarty Pants 2, and Mr. Smarty Pants 3. The simple, the scorner, and the fool. Let’s talk a little bit about these three smarty pants. Number one, the simple. The simple describes a category of people who believe everything. They’re naïve. They’re gullible. And they can’t discern the truth. They believe everything, and therefore they’ll fall for anything. They’re just that gullible and just that naïve. And oh, by the way, they love tolerance and anything about that permissive ideology, because they believe anything. They just go along with the flow. These are “go along with the crowd” kinds of people. Proverbs 14:15 says, “The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.” What does it mean to be prudent? It means to understand the necessity of caution when you’re facing a situation. Remember the first President Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush. He was famous for saying, “Wouldn’t be prudent. Wouldn’t be prudent.” All right. He understood the necessity of caution, as any great leader does when you’re thinking about a major decision like war or something else. Prudence. The simple have no prudence. They believe everything, and they dive into things without even giving a second thought to it and considering the necessity of caution.
Well, there is a second group. And this is the scorner or the scoffer. The scoffer thinks he knows everything, and he mocks the truth. You ever met a scoffer, a scorner who mocks your beliefs? Proverbs 21:24, “Scoffer is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” If there was ever a Mr. Smarty Pants, it’s the scoffer. He mocks God’s truth. And he kind of comes across like an expert in everybody. You ever met somebody like that? Oh, he’s an expert in geopolitical relationships. He’s an expert in how you’re supposed to raise your kids. He’s an expert in how the church is supposed to be run. I’ve met a few Mr. Smarty Pants in my time as a pastor. They’ve always got an opinion. They're an expert on everything. And they will mock your beliefs while they’re trying to wear you down with their opinions and their ideas until finally you just throw your hands up in frustration and say, “Okay. You're right. You're right.” And you escape the conversation. That’s the scoffer. That’s the mocker, the scorner. And what you also need to understand about the scorner is there is not much hope for him. Proverbs 15:12 says, “A scoffer does not like to be reproved.” No, he doesn't want to hear your opinion. He doesn’t want to hear what the Word of God has to say. He doesn’t want to be reproved. And he will not go to the wise, Proverbs says.
And the scoffer, one more thing about him. He is usually at the center of controversy. Have you noticed that? Proverbs 22:10, “Drive out a scoffer and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.” Have you ever noticed how things kind of calm down in an organization or in the office at work or maybe even in a church when the scoffer leaves? Because the scoffer can create tremendous damage inside an organization. In fact, Proverbs 29:8 says they can “even set a city aflame,” because they mock, and they tear down with their words. Lady Wisdom is trying to get through to the scoffer and the scorner.
There is a third person. And this just, you know, the guy who’s called a fool. A fool is somebody who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know. And he’s ignorant of the truth. That’s the fool. And the biggest problem that fool has is he won’t learn God’s Word. Do you remember Proverbs 1:7 in the introduction, the prologue to the book of Proverbs, this pivotal verse of scripture that we said…you know, it said you’ve got to understand, if you’re gonna understand anything about Proverbs, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” A fool is not just indifferent to the Bible. A fool hates the Bible. (0:19:00.0) He detests it. He despises wisdom and instruction. Problem is he doesn’t know what he doesn't know. And he’s ignorant of the truth, the scripture would tell us. He despises the truth so much, and what a contrast that is to King David, who in Psalm 119:97, David says, “Oh, how I love thy law; it is my medication all day long.” Hey, do you love the Word of God? Do you love the Bible? I hope you do. Do you delight in the Word of God? I just happen to think to think you're here this morning because you do. You wouldn’t be here if you didn't enjoy the teaching of God’s Word and the instruction from God’s Word. David went on to write in Psalm 1, “Blessed is the person,” blessed is the man or the woman, “who delights in the law of God.” What a contrast that is to the fool (0:20:00.0) who detests it and who despises wisdom and instruction.
Now, again, Lady Wisdom is giving this speech, the first of three in Proverbs 1-9. It’s interesting, in the first speech she address the simple, the scoffer and the fool. In chapter 8 though, she address the simple and the fool. The scoffer has dropped out. It’s because there’s not much hope for somebody who mocks God’s Word. He doesn’t want to hear the reproof. He’s gone. He has left. Now Lady Wisdom is focused on the simple and the fool. By chapter 9, her third speech, it’s merely directed at the simple, because the foolish person has joined the ranks with the scoffer. And it’s just a reminder that, you know, if you're not careful, you can run with the wrong crowd. And over time you just tune out the message, and the message maybe doesn’t come your direction anymore. And maybe this is why Solomon, in the Proverbs prologue in verses 1-7, the only one he really mentions is the simple. That the reason he gave these proverbs is to give prudence to the simple. Maybe the simple person who is rather naïve and young and…maybe we can reach that person. But the scoffer, well, that’s really hard. And the foolish person, unless he turns from his foolishness, one day he’ll be gone as well. Just sobering thoughts here.
We have to listen to listen to what Lady Wisdom says. We have to respond to her reproof. Thirdly, we’ve got to consider the consequences, because she really ramps it up here. Remember, this is straight talk to Mr. Smarty Pants. And the Lady Wisdom ramps it up in verse 4, and she lays out some consequences. She says, “Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof.” You get the idea here? Here is what she says. Verse 26, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord.” You see, friend, God has created us in His own image as free moral beings. We have the freedom to choose, do we not? We do not have the freedom to choose our own consequences. You have the freedom to choose to ignore the law of gravity and to climb up onto a building and just flail yourself and say, “I’m gonna fly.” You do not have the freedom to choose the consequences of that foolish accident. Likewise, God has written not just scientific laws into the universe, but moral laws as well. And we do not have the freedom to choose the consequences, but Lady Wisdom lays out three consequences.
The first is mocking laughter. She says in verse 26, “I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you.” There’s two kinds of laughter. There is joyful laughter that is full of humor. There is also jeering laughter that’s full of ridicule. There is the kind of laughter that says, “I told you so. If you had only listened to me.” And it reminds me of Psalm 2 where is says that the nations raged and the rulers conspired to counsel against the Lord, but He who sits on the throne laughs at them and holds them in derision and ridicule. You never want God to laugh at you that way, but it’s a reminder that God will have the last laugh. And it’s not comedy show. It’s the laughter that says, “If you had only listened to me, I told you so. I warned you about this. I gave you a success manual for life, but you did not listen to My counsel.”
The second consequence is unanswered prayer. Look at verse 28. “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; then they will seek me diligently but will not find me.” Why would we think that God is obligated to listen to our prayers when we don’t listen to His counsel? In time, He turns a deaf ear to our prayers. And there are many reasons for unanswered prayers. We could take an entire sermon to talk about reasons our prayers go unanswered. But one reason is we turn a deaf ear to the wisdom and counsel of God. You do that over and over and over again, and He turns a deaf ear to our prayers until we choose to turn an ear toward Him. Isaiah 55:6 says, “Call upon the Lord while he may be found.” The implication is there may be a day you can’t find Him. You can’t tune into Him. He’s not tuned into your frequencies of prayer life, because you have spurned His counsel too many times. And He’s saying, “Listen, if you’re not gonna listen to me, I’m not gonna listen to you until you turn.”
The third consequence is reaping what you sow. Look at verse 31. “Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.” Galatians 6:7 is a good corollary verse here. “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.” If you mock God and His counsel, one day He will mock you with mocking laughter and with reaping what you’ve sown. Okay. Just that principle of sowing and reaping. You sow to the spirit righteous, you will of the spirit reap righteous. You sow to the flesh, you know, fleshly things, and you will of the Spirit reap fleshly things, Galatians goes on to say.
You know, there are a couple of ways that we could go with some application here. And I just want to pause here and do that for a moment. One is in a national sense, because in verse…what is there? The end of verse 26 and in verse 27 I see the word “terror.” She says, “I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm.” When I read the word “terror” today, I just can’t help but think about the terrorism that has befallen our nation since September 11th, 2001. And some would suggest that maybe God got to a point where He lifted the protection from this nation and He allowed terror to strike us. And He sits back with mocking laughter and says to the United States of America, “I told you. I told you. I will bless if you follow my ways, but if you choose not to, the terror will come.” It’s not the terror that He sends, but there is a sense that God will lift His protection from a nation and just allow it to come in. And I’m not here to say that the, you know, best days of America are behind us. They are unless America turns. You know what will make America great again? It’s not a booming economy or a new military. It’s when this nation gets down on their knees before God and turns back to Him. But after an entire generation of murdering more than 50 million unborn babies in the womb, and now after turning a deaf ear and a blind eye to God’s plan for the marriage relationship between one man and one woman, after kicking prayer out of the schools, tearing down the Ten Commandments from our monuments and from our school classroom, and basically saying God is no longer welcome in the public square, why should we be surprised as the consequences that have befallen us as a nation? Only a fool would say, “God bless America.” That prayer may not reach heaven’s doors in our present state. You can sing it and pray it all day long for our nation. What we need is revival among God’s people and a great awakening to sweep across this land from sea to shining sea, for a nation to turn back to God. And when a nation does, you know what? He takes care of all that terrorism stuff. He takes care of all that economy stuff in a way that would make the wisest people on Wall Street and the military leaders just kind of shake their heads and say, “Wow, I don’t know how all that happened.” But God will take care of a nation that way.
So we could apply this in a national sense. We could also apply it, you know, personally. And I want to be careful here not to suggest that every time you face calamity or distress or some kind of, you know, difficult time in your life it’s because you’ve got some sin in your life or because you’ve ignored the counsel of God. Be careful with that. Because, you know, Job tells us that that’s not always true. Job was a righteous man. He hadn’t sinned in any way, and great calamity came upon his life. And make sure you’re not one of Job’s friends that come, you know, into somebody else’s life and, you know, wax eloquently about, “Well, you know, you have this cancer over here or you lost your job over here. There must be some sin in your life.” Be careful with that. But it is a time for self-examination. Not for you to examine somebody else’s life, but for self-examination, right, anytime, you know, calamity strikes. Is there some area of my life that is not rightly related to God? Some part of His counsel from His Word where I’ve played the simple or the scorner or the fool, and I’ve not listened. I’ve not turned my life and aligned my life to His counsel, and these are the consequences. It’s a good time for self-examination, is it not? And we should always do that. I know some people down through the years that I’ve met that—and I’ll just give an example—choose not to listen to God’s counsel, His financial counsel in the scripture, say, with regarding to tithing. And they go around saying, “Oh, God is first place in my life,” but He’s last place in their budget. And they wonder why their finances just never seem to work out. And they always have more month than they have money. And their finances are just a train wreck. Well, if you put God first in your budget as He tells us to in His Word, then maybe it’ll all work out. That’s been Cathryn and I’s story for, you know, 20+ years of marriage is a testimony of saying, “We’re gonna put God first in our finances and listen to the wisdom and counsel of God, even when it doesn’t make, you know, sense from a Wall Street perspective. We’re gonna give to God first, and He’s gonna take care of the rest of it.” And He has. And He does. But you can spurn that. You can say, you know, the culture today just says, you know, I’ve got to have some sexual experiences out there before I get married. And, you know, we just kind of live in that time. Really? Read Proverbs 5, 6, and 7. And we’re gonna have some straight talk to some smarty pants there and talk about sexual wisdom and how to manage ourselves there. And you may run into all kinds of troubles there because of that because you spurned God’s counsel.
This is hard words. Remember, this is straight talk to smarty pants, all right, to those who think they know it all. But I’m glad that Lady Wisdom speaks to us this way. She doesn’t dance around the issues very much. So there’s a fourth thing we need to do, and that’s accept the rationale. Verse 29, “Because they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord,” a reference to chapter 1 and verse 7, “because they would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.” It kind of reminds me of what my auto mechanic tells me. You know, some of you have probably had the experience of buying a new car. And the salesman, you know, tells you a little bit about that car and how it runs. And just before you drive it off the lot, he says, “Oh, and remember, inside that glove compartment there is something called the owner’s manual.” Now, when was the last time you read the owner’s manual in your car? Probably never, like me, right? And I’m not a very good mechanic. But I do know that the owner’s manual will probably tell me to change the oil in my car ever 3,000 or 5,000 miles. It tells me there are certain scheduled maintenances that I must do in that car. I learned a long time ago there is something in most cars called a timing belt. You have to change that baby out about every…you know, when it reaches 70, 80, maybe 90,000 miles. Because if the timing belt snaps, your engine is toast. All right? But most of us, we drive off the lot with the car. And we go on our merry way, and we get busy just living life and doing things. And we don’t change the oil in our car. And we don’t do the scheduled maintenance, despite the fact that the auto dealership sends us those emails and those postcards in the mail and those phone calls saying, “Come in for the scheduled maintenance. Come in for the scheduled maintenance.” And we just ignore all of that. And we get about 30, maybe 40,000 miles on our car, and we wonder why it doesn’t work very well. Why it’s kind of breaking down. And you take it in to the auto dealership, and he says, “Well, I sent you those emails. Did you get them? I sent you those postcards. I told you to come in for the scheduled maintenance. We talked about this before you bought the car and drove it off the lost.” “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I…you know.” What does Lady Wisdom here say? “Because they hated knowledge, [because they did not choose to fear the auto maker and respect what he said,] and would have none of my counsel and despised all of my reproof,” here you are with a broken down car.
And some of you are here today with a broken down life. The good news is God is in the business of restoring lives. And Lady Wisdom said it in verse 23. “If…” Remember that important word? “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.” There is guarantee you’re gonna take anything that God’s Word has to say today or any other day and put it into practice. You have to make that choice. You have to do it in the power of the Holy Spirit. But you have to say yes. You have to say yes to Jesus and come to the foot of the cross just like every other sinner who needs a Savior. God will draw you. He will woo you. He will go into your noisy places and the noisy streets, and He will cry out to you. But in the mystery of the sovereignty of God and the free will of man and all of that, at some point you’ve got to make a choice. You have to decide. “If, if you will turn at my reproof.” There are no lives that are totaled. Oh, I know of some cars that get totaled because of lack of maintenance. Nothing I can do for the car. You just totally ignored the maintenance requirements on it. But there are no totaled lives, because God is in the business of bringing us back to Him.
That’s the encouragement. That’s the hope. And it brings us back to the summary statement there in verse 32 and 33. “For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listen to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” I just have a feeling that’s how all of us in this room want to live. We don’t want to live with the dread of disaster that wakes us up in the middle of the night because we haven’t lived with integrity and we haven’t listened to the counsel of God. And we’re just wondering, oh, what have I gotten myself into? We want to dwell securely and to be at east within our spirits because we know we’re doing the best we can to align ourselves to God’s counsel. And the Holy Spirit does a wonderful job of tapping us on the shoulder here and tapping us on the shoulder there. He does that through our conscience, yes, but also through the living presence of the Spirit of God in our life. But, you know, the Bible tells us you can grieve the Holy Spirit. You can quench the Holy Spirit. You can resist the Holy Spirit. And that’s a very dangerous place to be when you say no to the Spirit of God enough to where that still, small voice becomes so small you just can’t hear it anymore until the train wreck happens. And you’re wondering, how did this happen?
If you’re at that place today, listen to the cry of Lady Wisdom and turn at her reproof. That word “turn” is the picture of repentance. You’re going this way at 90 miles an hour away from the counsel of God. Stop dead in your tracks, do a 180 and turn. And when you do, God will meet you right there. In fact, He’s the hound of heaven that has been pursuing you. He’s right behind you. He’s right behind your back. And when you turn, you’re gonna be face to face with Him. And that’s when you turn, He’ll pour His Spirit into you and He will pour His words into you. He will help you get out of the mess that you’re in if you just listen, Mr. Smarty Pants, to His counsel and you put it into practice, no matter what Mr. Worldly Wiseman might be telling you. You see, Mr. Worldly Wiseman just produces Mr. Smarty Pants who think they know everything. But if you turn, you’ll turn and you’ll be face to face with the hound of heaven that has been pursuing you all the while because He loves you. And He knows you’re on a road to the City of Destruction, and He wants to turn you to be on that King’s Highway to the Celestial City. The question is, will you do that today? Right now. Don’t wait to another time. You may be the scoffer or the fool that drops out, but today you’re here with this divine appointment. And God has intersected your life at this point with this truth. And it really demands a response for all of us. It demands a response for our nation and what little part you and I play in what this great nation looks like. Let revival start in your home and in your heart and spiritual awakening birth in your place. And then take that into the marketplace and into the crowded places. Raise your voice above the noisy voices, and cry out as Lady Wisdom does to try to turn a nation, maybe a neighbor or a family member or a friend or a coworker to the wisdom from above. Amen? Let’s pray together.
Father, thank You so much for Your Word. And just thank You for teaching us from it. Thank You for instructing me even this week. Every one of us in this room probably has some areas of our life where we need to listen afresh and anew to Your counsel. Help us to hear that voice. Raise the volume to whatever volume You need to in our spirit. I know You speak in a still, small voice sometimes, but there was also a time that You spoke and the worlds came into existence. And it was a loud thing. And we need some of that in our spirit today. I pray that every one of us today would take this truth and take it to heart and put it not practice. Some, Father, need to come to faith in Christ right now. They need to make that trip to the cross and kneel as sinner who needs a Savior. I pray that You would give them the faith to believe and the courage to take that step of faith today. And I pray this in the name of Jesus and for His sake, amen.