Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Virtue of Scorn

Isaiah 37:22 (NKJV)
This is the word which the Lord has spoken concerning [Sennacherib, the King of Assyria]: “The virgin, the daughter of Zion, Has despised you, laughed you to scorn; The daughter of Jerusalem Has shaken her head behind your back!”

Sometimes Christian girls are far too nice. We have become hesistant to hurt others’ feelings; hesitant to tell men what we really think of their scandalous behavior; hesitant to shower scorn on those who deserve it. So let me speak this morning on the biblical virtue of scorn.

One of the things most evident in the relationship among the sexes is that men frequently overestimate their charms while women underestimate theirs. I recall a cartoon with two frames. The first showed a decidedly corpulent fellow, midsection protruding between shorts and dirty t-shirt, with unkempt facial hair who looked as though he hadn’t showered in a week. As he gazed at himself in the mirror, he couldn’t help but exclaim, “Go get ‘em tiger! You handsome devil!” Meanwhile the other frame showed a woman of stunning beauty, all dressed up, having meticulously groomed herself – hair, makeup, and all. As she gazed at herself in the mirror, she couldn’t help but exclaim, “Oh, I look so terrible!”

In our text today Isaiah pictures Sennacherib as a typical man – puffed up with himself, imagining that he is God’s gift to the female sex, sure that all the ladies will be swooning at his feet. For Sennacherib was treating the people of God this way. He was sure that Jerusalem would fall under his sway and so he tells them to acknowledge his greatness before he has to prove it. But here is the Word of the Lord to him: You are such a buffoon that the daughter of Jerusalem is laughing you to scorn! You are God’s gift to women – a gift to cause them to laugh. The virgin daughter of Israel is shaking her beautiful head of hair at your foolishness. For what was God preparing to do? He was going to crush Sennacherib’s pride, killing his army in a single night and sending him packing back to Assyria.

Here’s what I want you young ladies to see this morning. One of the lessons which you are to teach us as the people of God is how to scorn those who are full of themselves and rabidly opposed to God. Consequently, there are times when a young woman should scorn a man. Mr. Collins deserves your derision. Gaston is fool despite his three fauning admirers. Willoughby is a cad. When a fool presents himself before you, longing for your approval, longing for your admiration, sure that you will fall at his feet and acknowledge his charms, disappoint him. Scorn his advances.

And here’s a word of encouragement – your scorn can be a means of salvation. Nothing is more likely to cause a man to examine himself closely and evaluate himself than the scorn of a woman. Nothing is more likely to inspire a man to greatness than the prospect of earning a woman’s admiration. So young women – cultivate the biblical virtue of scorn and use it well. Do not be captivated by a fool.

And we as the people of God are called to learn this lesson from the young women in our midst. When the enemies of God vaunt over us, when they are swollen with pride and imagine that we shall soon fall under their sway, yes – even when they mock us and persecute us and kill us – we are to shake our heads in scorn knowing that God is on our side. Need we fear Sennacherib with his mighty host? No! Our God who sits in the heavens laughs, “As for me, I have installed My King on Mount Zion.” So we too can laugh, “As for us, our King is installed on Mount Zion. He is the King of Kings and Lord of lords and you shall have to answer to Him.”

Reminded that we have failed to cultivate the biblical virtue of scorn, that we have feared our enemies, showed pity where we ought not, indulged fools and answered them in accordance with their folly, let us kneel and confess our sins to God.