“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge." NKJV
I want to share something Ravi Zacharias wrote in Can Man Live Without God?:
“I ask you, does anyone really need to tell our Hollywood elites that there is too much violence on screen, glorifying the debased? Does anyone really need to alert our society to the dangers of promiscuity? Yes and no. Yes, because the warning cries ever need to be sounded to keep our young alerted to the pitfalls of the moral squalor to which they are subjected But no, because for most, the truth does not really matter – it is the will that is wrong.”
That gets to the heart of the rhetorical question of this Proverb. You see, Lady Wisdom is in the street, in the market, shouting out to any who will listen. She is offering wisdom to anyone and everyone, and yet, fools never bite. Why is that?
It's because, simply put, the choice between wisdom and folly is a moral decision, not an intellectual one. "It is the will that is wrong." This is why it is not merely a good idea for the Christian to pursue a life of wisdom, no, it is a moral imperative (Eph. 5:15).
Wisdom shows itself in so many ways, but some of the most significant are relational. Wisdom tells us how to relate to God, with humility; it shows us how to relate to ourselves, with discipline; it teaches us how to relate to others, with patience, self-control, respect, and kindness. Wisdom is about morality and relationship. It is about obeying God's laws, both as revealed in Scripture, and as revealed in the workings of the universe.
Thus, even when it seems so obvious that the way of wisdom is better in every way, the fool refuses to listen and conform. He refuses to obey. Thus, as the Proverbs attest time after time, the fool will meet destruction in some form today, and in the ultimate form once he steps into eternity. Folly leads to death because folly, at it's root, is rebellion against the creator.
Let's look again at verse 22. How long will fools love their folly? Implied answer: forever. Why? Look at the text: because they delight in it; because they hate knowledge. It is not an intellectual problem. "It is the will that is wrong."
There are two take-aways I want to point out:
First, when we face the choice between wisdom and folly, we must recognize it for what it is: the choice between obedience and rebellion, between righteousness and sin, between good and evil. We must acknowledge our decision as a moral one.
Second, when we see others ruining their lives in folly, we have to remember where to focus our prayers and counsel: in the Gospel. People don't ruin their lives because they "make poor choices," no, they make poor choices because they delight in scorning God's law; they hate knowledge. So let's make sure we do not counsel our friends with dead moralism, but with the eternal Gospel of God. Let's not waste time praying for their minds, but focus on praying for their hearts first.
Go out there, choose wisdom and proclaim it. Live well! But know what you are dealing with. In your hands, in your mouth, is the great conflict, not between knowledge and ignorance, but between good and evil.