Solomon gave us a glimpse of the character of a good and godly man. Today we get a look at the flip side of that coin; the scoffer. The worst of the worst.
The scoffer wasn’t necessarily ‘born’ bad but made a few unfavorable choices along the way. The first on we see mentioned is when he “ceases to hear instructions.” This could be in childhood or as a young adult. But whenever it happens he “strays from the words of knowledge.” He stops taking good advice and starts listening to the wrong people. This was certainly reflected in the life of Rehoboam when he listened to the wrong advisors.
He also becomes a violent man. One who does violence outside of the home is not that uncommon and many abusers will turn against his own wife and children but his parents are still ‘off limits’ to him. The man who turns against his own parents has lost ALL respect for authority. There is no restraining him. No one is safe in his presence. I believe it is more prevalent in homes where the child perceived violence towards himself as a youth. And his violence towards his parents often times does begin in adolescence. I state “I believe” here because I have not made an exhaustive study in this area but I have worked with troubled teens in the past.
The scoffer is consistent in one thing. EVERYTHING out of his mouth is suspect as he is a consummate liar. He cannot be trusted to tell the truth, even when it matters most. If he said the sky was blue, you should probably check for yourself to make sure.
His trip down ‘liar lane’ probably started the same way most children deal with being confronted with an offense. “Not me” and “I don’t know” are two worst children in the household as they do everything. These little diversion of guilt don’t stop there for the early scoffer. He learns how to make sure someone else gets the blame for his actions.
Regular means of discipline and correction don’t work in the case of the scoffer. His heart is so hardened that even beatings do nothing to turn him from his path. Sometimes they reinforce his rage towards others. In a courtroom a scoffer would be the one who threatens violence against the judge, jury, and prosecutor and MEANS it. He learns nothing from being caught or punished for his crimes. In fact, he has a whole new group of people to try and dominate in the prison system. He will come out of prison as hardened or harder than he went in.
Verse 1 in chapter 20 speaks of wine and strong drinks. These are not strictly related to a scoffer but to one who loses his temper and inhibitions while under the influence of alcohol. One who continues to use of alcohol as a way out is more often than not bound up in its grasp. After a while there is not enough alcohol in the world to rid him of the pain of his own life.
ALL of this is MY interpretation of Solomon’s words. It is NOT hard evidence of where a person’s life is headed if/when he starts down the wrong path, or display some of the characteristics mentioned. God can change even the hardest of hearts. And He knows the hearts of every man. I leave it up to Him to define who is “the scoffer” and who isn’t.
I personally will avoid people showing these characteristics but I am grateful that others don’t. There are prison ministries that reach out to people the rest of us avoid like the plague. And they have some success in bringing these people into the arms of the Father. I tip my hat to them! And I thank God that He NEVER EVER gives up on anyone!
Father God, thank You for Your relentless unfailing love! I don’t know where I would be without it. And without the loving discipline of my parents. I pray for everyone who had to endure violence at home. Those whose parents didn’t include love with their measure of discipline. Those who were abused as children and those who abuse others themselves. I pray You take hold of their lives and shake them in ways NO ONE ELSE can so that You get their attention.
Thank You for those who know how to reach out to the “scoffer” with Your love. I pray for their hearts, safety and success. Thank You Father for their love.