Proverbs 18:3 “When the wicked comes, contempt comes also; And with dishonor comes reproach.”
I’ve learned through my years of studying God’s Word that when I was younger, I didn’t understand much of what I had read. There were certain words and phrases that I would read, maybe have some semblance of understanding and then just move on. The depth of meaning was lost to me and consequently, the ability to have a particular passage of truth be relevant in my life. One aspect of striving to understand more of God’s word involved defining terms.
In the back of my Bible I started making a list of words that I had realized I needed more knowledge of and their underlying meaning. Words like despise, righteousness, or contempt are ones that I would list, I would add subsequent scripture and then jot down a brief definition next to that. When I would read a particular passage, I would look at the definition and then read the passage with the definition in mind. This method seemed to really help me grow in the wisdom and knowledge of God’s Word.
I also discovered through this method of defining terms that there were different aspects of the definitions in application. The subject matter, the reference to particular people (godly/ungodly), or in some cases how a term is relevant in describing God versus how we relate to a particular subject. It was through this application I began to understand the nature of God better. How I relate to God and why it is so important became clearer the more I searched for meaning in scripture.
Proverbs 2:6 “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;”
*It is important to remember that ultimately it is the Lord who imparts understanding. We can grow in knowledge all day long and yet lack the understanding in how to apply that knowledge. If there is any aspect of God’s Truth that is awry, we will miss the mark when seeking to grow in wisdom.
When I think of someone showing contempt, I recall those myriad of court T.V. shows that depict people speaking out of turn or losing their composure during a hearing and being held in “contempt of court”. To show contempt of court is to show an open disrespect of the one presiding over a case. The judge is ultimately the ruler of the court and any act that shows a willful defiance of that judge is an act that is considered contemptuous.
Solomon likened the wicked with contempt. If you consider that a criminal in the justice system has shown contempt for the laws of the land by breaking them, the wicked show contempt for God when His laws are offended as well.
Deuteronomy 17:12 “Anyone who shows contempt for the judge or for the priest who stands ministering there to the LORD your God is to be put to death. You must purge the evil from Israel.”
God showed Moses the importance of honoring those in positions of authority over the people. If the people couldn’t honor a judge or priest presiding over them, they wouldn’t honor the Lord who established that judge or priest in the first place.
Remember: To show contempt is to despise someone or something.
In what ways have we shown contempt?
- Malachi 1:7 “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’” When we bring a sacrifice to God in an unworthy manner, we show a lack of respect for God’s holiness. Whether the sacrifice was on a real altar as in the days before Christ or a sacrifice we make today. If we present ourselves in a sacrificial manner while being disobedient, we show contempt for God.
- Proverbs 17:5 “Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.” If I despise people who are less fortunate than I am, I despise God. The poor aren’t always those with a lack of money, they may be those who are poor in wisdom, knowledge, or understanding. The poor may be those who are poor in spirit, also known as the ‘humble’. If I despise the humble, I establish myself as one of the proud and I place myself under judgement.
- Genesis 25:34 “And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” When Esau sold his birthright for a meal, he showed contempt for his father’s house. A birthright was a position that was typically given to an oldest son and this position was one that was given by the father. We are given a birthright through the Son of God, it is an honor that is bestowed upon those who receive the sacrifice Jesus made for them. When someone rejects the Son of God, like Esau, the reject the birthright our Heavenly Father has offered to those who have been estranged because of sin.
- Numbers 14:11 “And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people treat Me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in Me, despite all the signs I have performed among them?” A lack of trust in the Lord is to call God a liar. The bottom line is, if we say we would rather trust in our own understanding than to trust in God’s understanding, we not only make God out to falsely represent Truth, we make ourselves out to be more knowledgeable than God Himself. In the end, we place ourselves on the throne and diminish God’s position as Judge….we are idolatrous.
- Hebrews 10:29 “How much worse punishment do you think will he deserve, the one having trampled upon the Son of God, and having esteemed ordinary the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and having insulted the Spirit of grace?” Do you know who it was that calls us to repentance? God does. By way of His Holy Spirit, the Lord draws us to Himself and the subsequent action on our part is repentance. A reverence for the Spirit of God is necessary for those who desire new life. To disregard this call of God is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The reason this sin is unforgivable is because you reject the very grace by which you may be forgiven.
What shall we Do?
After examining a list of contemptuous actions, do you find yourself thinking that you have shown the same disrespect for God’s laws? Well if you do, your not alone…everyone has offended God’s laws, we all stand guilty.
Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
As Jesus was preparing for His crucifixion, He sat down with His disciples and performed a communion. He shared the wine and the bread with them and then described to them the significance of the moment. As Jesus took the wine, He spoke….
Matthew 26:28 “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
To show contempt for God is to sin. To show contempt for others is to defile the ones God loves and this is likewise sin.
The Lord is the Judge, He presides over the affairs of mankind and He renders His judgements based off of His laws. The laws of God is the Moral law, His courtroom is all of Creation and any sin that is committed is a result of breaking one of these Holy eternal Laws.
Job 16:19 “Even now my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high.”
In the courtroom of God’s authority, we have an advocate standing before us…..It is Jesus. His arguments are sound, He provides the necessary evidence that we need to be acquitted for our offenses, and our hope for freedom of guilt is found only in Him.
The final sacrifice was made by the Lamb of God and to those who have accepted this sacrifice, have been made clean, perfect, and forgiven.
We need not fear the Judge because He is the very One who has defended us.
Rest in the hope of Christ and you will rest in peace, knowing that He loves you….
You are no longer guilty.