Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, 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. 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.” – Proverbs 1:29-33 ESV
There are passages in scripture that I always try to apply 100% to other people. I don’t like to shine the light of awareness into my heart to see if there is a shred of reflection in me. The passages in Proverbs that deal with sinners or the unwise are often in this category. I’m a child of God, and I’m good. Therefore, this is not me ever, under any circumstances. It’s only those bad people, over there, far away from me.
How I wish this was true! No matter how long we’ve walked with the Lord, we will always have areas that the Lord wants to shine a light onto and show us how we can learn to let go of pain and self and be transformed to look more like Him. Proverbs 1:29-33 is one that often contains little bits of truth that we can turn over to the Lord for cleaning. Verse 29 uses the pronoun they which refers to simple ones or fool from earlier in the chapter (v. 22). Now the Lord is getting to specifically what the trouble is and what the consequences will be.
They Hated Knowledge
The first aspect that we’re warned about is hating knowledge. It doesn’t talk about people who didn’t have a chance to learn or who were apathetic about learning. It’s referring here to people who hated it. Hate connotes not only avoiding it, but actively working against it.
Knowledge is defined as awareness of facts, or familiarity with circumstances, events or subjects. So, those who are actively working against that choose ignorance of facts or circumstances. They don’t know and they don’t want to know and they are going to stop you from helping them to see.
Knowledge can sometimes refer to what we refer to as traditional education, but it can be encompassing more than that too. Knowledge is what we need to have to help our families and our friends. Knowledge gives the ability to do well at our jobs, or to provide help to others. We gain knowledge in any area that we choose to become aware of and learn from.
For us as Christians, we need to ask ourselves in what areas of our mind are we walking away from an awareness that the Holy Spirit is trying to bring to us. Are there subjects that we don’t want to bring up because we are afraid of what we’ll have to face? Are there situations that we only go emotionally in and not mindfully in?
One defense that we bring up in this area is what psychologists would call confirmation bias. Basically, when we want to hear a certain thing, we seek out people and information that support the idea that we already have. Confirmation bias doesn’t want to hear that there might be other things to learn or that we might be missing certain pieces of information. We want to hear what we want to hear and we dismiss or fight against anything else.
We can’t be changed when we are fighting against an awareness or knowledge. Change is a multi-step process and one of the key ones is the ability to see the difference between where we are and where we need to be. Confirmation bias always breaks that step because we are pursuing information that keeps us where we are. In fact, we don’t even want to listen to anything that would show us as being wrong.[This is part 1 of 4 covering Proverbs 1:29-33. ]