“Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. 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 1:24-33
One of the most important skills to develop is how to weigh opinions, advice, and counsel. You must listen to some people, and you must ignore other people. If you get this wrong, you will be lost.
Although God is merciful and gracious, there is a limit to how long he will extend his gracious invitation to repentance. There is a time coming when you will no longer have the option to turn away from the foolishness of your rebellion against God. There will be a time when you will wish you could turn to the Lord, but your life will be so full of the sour fruit of your own ways that you will be unable to do so. Therefore, you need to turn now at the Lord’s reproof while there is time. If you hear the Lord’s voice today, do not harden your heart (Hebrews 3:12-19).
Turning away from the reproof of God leads to the destructive force of complacency. In Hebrew, this word carries the meaning of “feelings of false security.”1 Indulging your desires, ignoring God’s commands, or going your own way can offer a temporary sense of relief from the battle against sin, and the judgment for that folly is often delayed, as God graciously gives even the wicked common grace (Matthew 5:44-45).
Then, complacency, or false security, settles in as you feel that your folly of rebellion has had no consequences. You might even appear to be succeeding in this world and enjoying the good life without having to listen to God. Watch out! That complacency will destroy you in the end. Your folly will be judged. You will reap what you sow.
How, then, do you avoid being destroyed by complacency? Listen to God while you still have time! There is a promise for those who listen: they will live in true security and will not have to fear disaster. If you respond to the message of the gospel, confess that Jesus is Lord, repent of your sins, and believe that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved and you will receive the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will then give you grace, wisdom, peace, and strength to follow all that God says, he will forgive you when you fail, and He will make you holy as he is holy. You will be eternally secure.
Do not be destroyed by complacency but wake up and hear what the Spirit is saying! The voice of God is the one voice you simply cannot ignore.
1Bruce K. Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 1–15, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), 212.
Thanks Clark, for all this wisdom. I don’t think we can get too much. Mike