“The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they kept mocking the messengers of God, despising His words and scoffing at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord rose against His people, until there was no remedy.” II Chronicles 36:15-16
“Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.” Proverbs 19:29
“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.” II Peter 3:3-6
To scoff is to speak about something in a scornfully derisive way..
I’m afraid we have become a nation of scoffers – if not a world of them. It seems that our favorite form of humor is sarcasm and that our preferred method of argument is derision. If you listen to a political debate, more time is spent mocking the other side than is spent actually taking their positions seriously and answering them. When I read religious arguments, discussions, and debates, I see the same thing. We are experts at reducing things to absurdity – and then at acting as if that closes the subject.
The trouble is that anything – even the most serious things – can be made to appear foolish.
When Jesus, the sinless Son of God, was dying on the cross of Calvary, His detractors were busy scoffing, saying, “If He’s who He says He is, let him come down off the cross.” (Matthew 27:39-44). They sought to make a fool of Jesus, portraying the ridiculous picture of one claiming to possess the power and authority of divinity, but without the ability to even save his own life, let alone the souls of all of mankind. The truth of the matter, of course, is that Jesus didn’t want to get down off the cross. He was there on purpose, and for a purpose. And the whole world from the day of Creation until now can be thankful that He did it. But that didn’t stop the mockers from scoring with their one-liner. One of the strengths of scoffing is it takes a lot longer to answer the statement than it took to utter it. And we foolishly tend to think that the shortest answer is the best one. Imagine Jesus on the cross explaining the whole plan of salvation and the reason why He was up there to those who were mocking Him – He knew that they were not really interested in an explanation. They just wanted to poke fun and justify themselves.
The attitude has always been there. In the first Scripture I mentioned, II Chronicles 36:15-16, the Lord had sent prophets and warnings to spare the people, but they were so scornful that the warnings did not get through and the only thing left for the Lord to send them was His wrath – when He wanted to send mercy.
Today, too, we must face the jeers of the scoffers.
Scoffing and mockery are powerful debating tools, no doubt. But they do not undo one iota of God’s instructions. The only purpose they serve is to harden the heart and will into stubborn rebelliousness against God.
How do you react to Bible teaching that contradicts your beliefs or habits? Do you examine it and see whether it’s true? Or do you just dismiss it with contempt? Are you a scoffer?