Mocking the Maker

Proverbs 17:5

Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;
he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.

One of the greatest weaknesses in materialistic worldviews is the simple question of worth. Any worldview must be able to answer for a thinking person the question of what makes human life special. What is it that separates us from the beasts or from the chemicals bubbling in a beaker? Ultimately, when one denies that we are created by God, logically that one will eventually deny any true reason for our value.

Here in Proverbs, we read a warning against mocking the poor or delighting in calamities. In our social-justice seeking society, one would expect this little verse to be popular. But in it, we see something that those who embrace critical theory actually cannot embrace. What is it that makes mocking the poor an evil act? The answer is that to insult the poor mocks their maker.

The writer of this proverb draws for us a simple principle. We must not delight when people suffer. Nor can people insult the poor with impunity. The reason why is that the poor are people made in the image of God. Thus, to attack them is to attack the image of the King.

The word of God calls for justice for the poor, the oppressed, the victimized. But this is not based on a social binary of powerful versus powerless. Neither is it based on perceived discrepancies of rich versus poor, ethnicity versus ethnicity, male versus female, or any other social dividing line. The reason the Bible calls for justice for the poor, for right treatment of others and right application of the principles of God’s law, is that all human beings have equal worth as image-bearers. From the poor to the rich, from the old to the young to the infant in the womb, every human being has worth because of the Lord our Maker. And to treat people cruelly is to dishonor or even to attack the Lord whose image they bear.