They Hated Knowledge

“[W]hen 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.” (Proverbs 1:27–31, ESV).

God provides us with plenty of opportunities to learn and to grow — a lifetime full of them, in fact. As we stretch ourselves out toward that closer walk with him, we often fail at our tasks... but God is patient. We taste and see that he is good. We also know intrinsically that God does not treat us like little puppet children — moving us through life by manipulating our strings—and that's important to know. For without the freedom to choose to love, there can be no love. And God insists on the real thing.

God is brave in this. He does not exempt himself from love's risks — even though personal rejection and rebellion offend him. I must assume, therefore, that he considers requited love as worth the risk. Why else would God put up with all the problems caused by this free will business? And make no mistake: We are markedly free.

Look at our options for the typical day. We may follow our hearts and walk closely with God, praying, listening to him and finding ways to sidle up to him. Or we may choose to distance ourselves from him, fleeing that tender closeness, fleeing that wonderful light. We may choose, at any turn, to live for God or to live for self. And just as God allows us our choices, he also allows us our consequences. Like no one else, God rewards or punishes us by giving us just what we want.

As babies, we learned that the falls, the pinches, and the occasional hot stove were all part of an unforgiving feedback system — a system designed to grow us in wariness. Hopefully, we turned those boo-boos into lessons — and were better equipped to face the adult world because of them. God works the same way with a sincere seeker. He allows him to stumble around a bit — testing the limits of his behavior and of God’s responses. But a seeker of God is never doomed to bumble around endlessly. The Holy Spirit will help him see his own sin and evaluate the Gospel message.

But there are plenty of people out there who do not want anything to do with God. The Holy Spirit woos them also, but the more frequently they ignore His whispers, the more calloused they grow to God. Do they truly think that God will ultimately let them alone—that he will somehow stop his plan for the universe… or at least give them a pass on this heaven/hell thing? They delude themselves in this. All persons must engage the truth directly because there are no excuses for not finding God.

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, ESV).

This type of not finding is better described as willful ignorance, and willful ignorance is plain old arrogance—pride! The original sin! There's nothing original about its consequences, however: "therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way," and the fruit of their way has been well described on the bumper sticker that says, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!” That blurb speaks directly to the sin of willful ignorance. Every human being has an opportunity to educate himself concerning God. But beware. God posted limits on the enterprise. According to our key verses, there is a time beyond which God will no longer respond to the cry.

God is longsuffering... but longsuffering is not forever-suffering. His patience has a length — and anything with length has a terminus. Sure, God provides generously for the salvation of every individual, but there comes a point when it's obvious that some will refuse to raise him above being some kind of a talisman. They want the lucky God or the fire insurance God — and not the living God of the Bible. These are people who were either too lazy or too distracted to do their homework; they have shown themselves to be stupid-on-purpose, and… no one will be allowed to play the ignorance card at the Final Judgment!

On some future date, we all must give an account of ourselves to the Sovereign Judge. Believers will account for their Christian lives at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is a place of reward — a place far removed from any possibility of condemnation (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 8:1). Non-believers, however, will account for themselves at The Great White Throne of Judgment, on a dreadful day where no excuses will be accepted — and no persons will be spared the sentencing to hell (Revelation 20:11; 20:15).

The marking period will soon be closed. No make-up tests, no sick days, no hall passes, no trips to the school nurse — no excuses! Make sure that you've done your homework. It is far better to account to Jesus the Savior-Judge than to the Jesus the Sentencing-Judge... and everyone must come! There are no exceptions, and there will be no excuses.

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