Noah must have been a REALLY patient man – can you imagine what it must have been like to work on the ark for 120 years while putting up with a constant backdrop of laughter and mockery? He was doing something nobody had ever done, to avoid something that had never happened, because he had been told to by a God that nobody had ever seen.
And yet, he continued. Day after day, just as God had instructed. He didn’t let the mockery he received sway him from his daily tasks. While the leaders of the day may have been critical and snarky, his faith and belief were in God.
At the time of Pentecost, the disciples launched into the sermon of the decade, praising Jesus and what He had done here on earth. Multiple speeches, multiple languages, multiple converts. But just as in Noah’s day, the civil and religious leaders were having none of it, and mocked their earnest efforts with sneers and head shakes.
Like Noah, the disciples humbly continue to follow what God had taught them, and by the end of the day of Pentecost, more than 3000 people had become members of the new Christian church.
Even patient Job had to endure the jibes and mockery of people – and the fact that they were his friends (?) made it even more painful. He knew well that all of the bad things that had suddenly happened to him were beyond his control, and didn’t know what to do about it. But his friends did, or so they thought. And they were far from kind about it.
I am sure that as Job sat in his ash heap scraping boils, these words of ridicule and self-importance were just about the final straw. He muttered under his breath, “I am one who is mocked by his neighbor, a just upright man who is laughed to scorn.”
And yet, like Noah and the disciples, he was wise enough to recognize that mockery and criticism of others is not a trait to be proud of. In fact, it’s a pretty good sign of what those delivering the harsh words are really all about. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 3 that God has no use for “the proud mockers, but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.”
Timothy Keller says that the mocker’s “talent for cutting insults and invective looks like intellectual sophistication. Behind the mask of witticisms, however, is a vastly inflated confidence in his own opinion and intelligence. That is why Proverbs contrasts the mocker with the humble.”
Full of that self-confidence, Job’s friend Elihu trumpeted, “Listen to me, I will show MY opinion! Pay attention to ME, keep quiet, and I’LL teach you some wisdom. For Job has spoken without knowledge, and his words are without wisdom.”
We live in a world today where making fun of others has become a sport. Criticizing others and their choices while lifting up our own tower of wisdom is the status quo. So be like Noah and be patient. Be like the disciples and be humble. And be like Job and know that God will win out in the end, no matter what the mockers may say! - Dave Fairchild