The Value of Discipline
Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware
A. Smite the Scorner
a. To scorn; talk arrogantly; mockingly.
b. Talk big, i.e., speak words which show no respect for the object, and make fun of the object.
c. To use colloquial expression, he is a big mouth, who is also arrogant and rude, and makes fun of others in a mocking way.
d. This is not poking fun in a good natured way. This isn’t fun for the other party. This is a hurtful kind of mocking.
2. Scorners come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.
a. A little toddler might scorn or mock his younger brother.
b. A high school student might mock some of his fellow students… perhaps those who are a little different.
c. Teenagers mock one another if they don’t like their clothes…
d. An employee might mock the boss… or other workers…
e. A politician might even mock his opponent.
f. People mock their politicians…
g. Different nationalities and races mock each other…
3. The unsaved mock Christian beliefs…
a. We have heard people mock the idea of Jonah being swallowed by a fish…
b. People mock the Biblical concept of a family…
c. Sinners mock sin. (Prov. 14:9 – Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour)
d. Sin is a laughing matter to them. It is a game or sport to them to cause mischief. (Prov. 10:23)
e. If you watch movies or sitcoms on TV you will see men mock at sin… and over time you will become de-sensitized to sin. It is not spiritually healthy for a Christian to watch such things.
f. Humor is a powerful medium.
g. And the folks in Hollywood have an agenda: to make fun of Christianity and Christian values… to get people to LAUGH at them, so others will be intimidated to practice them… for fear of being laughed at.
4. Even as believers, we are not above mocking or scorning one another.
a. I know that pastors get mocked and scorned by those who didn’t like what he preached on—especially if it hit a little too close to home… It’s easy to attack the messenger in a mocking way.
b. We can also mock one another—perhaps for different convictions that are held… or because of some other difference…
c. Believers sometimes mock the church… or the decisions leaders make… or the Sunday school teacher… or the message…
d. Christians are not above mocking.
e. Unfortunately, mocking and scorning are very common experiences of life.
a. Smite, strike, beat, afflict, scourge, chasten, punish, used of a military victory.
6. Smiting a scorner speaks of DISCIPLINING a scorner…
a. Solomon is speaking here of some sort of authority DEALING with the scorning through discipline or punishment.
b. It could be a physical smiting for scorning. (A child may be spanked; you might get a punch in the nose for your big, rude, arrogant mouth.)
c. But perhaps more often it is a verbal smiting.
• The scorner is “smitten” by a verbal rebuke.
d. It could take on many other forms too.
• A scorner could be “smitten” by his boss by getting fired.
• A scorner could be “smitten” by losing his friends. (Prov. 24:9 – a scorner is an abomination to all men. Nobody likes a mocker.)
• A scorner could be “smitten” by going down in the polls (politician).
e. For the believer, it could take the form of Divine chastening.
• Prov. 3:34 – Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.
• The scorner reaps what he has sown.
B. The Simple Will Beware
1. Simple: Inexperienced; naive; pertaining to persons that are easily deceived or persuaded, showing lack of wisdom and understanding, yet having some capacity to change this condition.
a. Prov. 1:4 – The book of Proverbs was written to give subtly to the simple.
b. Prov. 14:15 – They are often easily led and naive. But on the other hand, they are easily taught too
a. To be crafty, be or become shrewd, cunning or wise.
b. This verb has a neutral tone but can assume either a negative tone: crafty and tricky (1 Sam. 23:22; Ps. 83:3); or a positive tone: prudent and wise.
c. Here is it used in a positive sense: the simple is made wise. He learns from what he sees.
3. Prov. 21:11 – when the scorner is punished, the simple observe, learn, and are made wise.
4. Prov. 9:7, 8 – The simple might beware, but the scorner will not learn. He will hate you for it!
a. Prov. 13:1 – Scorners usually don’t listen.
5. But the simple onlookers DO pay attention to what they hear and see. The simple learn…
6. This principle has great application in MANY settings.
a. In the home:
• For example, a parent may spank a child for his big mouth… mocking and scorning and making fun of others.
• His younger and less experienced brothers will be sure to observe the spanking. They will hear their big brother cry.
• The younger simple brothers will become wiser and shrewder as a result… even if his big mouth brother DIDN’T learn his lesson from it.
• Dealing with a proud, scornful son can have a good effect on others who are observing in the background.
b. In the local church:
• God may “scorn the scorner.” God may allow the scorner to reap what he has sown.
• And even if he doesn’t learn from this form of chastening, other believers may learn.
• The believers who observe his actions and the results of his actions may be simple (inexperienced in the kind of scorning for which the scorner is being chastened) but by observing he can learn… He can beware… and become wiser as a result.
c. The point of the first part of the proverb is this: even if the scorner who is smitten for his scorning doesn’t learn his lessons… the smiting is worthwhile.
• OTHERS may learn from it… and often do.
• The smiting has a deterring effect—if not on the part of the scorner… surely on the part of those who observe.
• It may not cure the scorner, but it will prevent others from scorning.
• Matthew Henry put it this way: “If it cures not the infected, it may prevent the spreading of the infection.”
• Deut. 19:20 – that others may hear and fear.
• I Tim. 5:20 – “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.”
• Sometimes it is necessary to make a public example of a sinner or criminal so that OTHERS will learn from their bad example.
• Teachers need to do that on occasion in the classroom.
• Judges need to do that on occasion in the courtroom.
• God told Moses to do it in Israel.
• In fact, church discipline is designed for the very same purpose. (Acts 5:5,11)
And reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge
1. Reproving a man of understanding is parallel with smiting a scorner.
a. Reproving and smiting are similar concepts. They both speak of confronting a man for the wrong he has done.
b. But the scorner and the man of understanding stand in contrast to each other. They are in some ways, opposites.
c. The proud, arrogant scorner doesn’t have understanding, and therefore, doesn’t learn.
d. But a man who may scorn… who may transgress in other ways, when he is reproved, he LISTENS and LEARNS.
e. And as a result, he understands even MORE knowledge. He learns through his failure.
f. Whereas smiting (physical punishment) is needed for mockers, a verbal rebuke is often sufficient for a man of understanding.
g. Prov. 17:10 – “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.”
• The scorner who will not listen to reproof, continues to be a scorner… in the end he is a fool!
• But the simple man (inexperienced) who does pay attention to the consequences of being a scorner, DOES learn… and in the end he becomes a wise man.