[Pro 29:1-27 KJV] Are You Reprovable? In Proverbs 29 Solomon warns against the destruction that comes to those who cannot, or will not receive reproof. Are you reprovable? Can you point to a time in your recent personal history that you received reprove, and at great personal cost made a course correction? If the answer is no – is it because you do everything right and simply don’t need correction? One of the primary purposes of the scripture is to provide us with much needed reproof as Solomon in this chapter makes clear to us.
1 He, that being often reproved hardeneth [his] neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. 2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. 3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth [his] substance. 4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it. 5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet. 6 In the transgression of an evil man [there is] a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice. 7 The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: [but] the wicked regardeth not to know [it]. 8 Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise [men] turn away wrath. 9 [If] a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, [there is] no rest. 10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
Verse 1 of our chapter admonishes us regarding stubbornness and refusal to be teachable. He that being often repoved hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed and that without remedy. How does the reproof of the Lord come? The book of Job is full of reproof but the vast majority of what is found there is the unenlightened opinions of Job’s friends concerning his suffering. Where do we find the reproof of God? Where do we find what God has to say about our situation? In John 15:3 Jesus said “now you are clean through the word I have spoken to you…” God reproves us through His word. The implies that we actually have a relationship and exposure to the word of God that contains the reproof that we need. In order to actually find the reproof of God in the scriptures we have to read more than just our favorite verses. If a person has a problem with dishonesty it is unlikely that Ex. 20:16 (thou shalt not bear false witness) is going to be that person’s life verse. How then do we correct this problem of cherry picking the scriptures and only clinging to the ones that don’t challenge us? The answer is giving yourself over to expositional, chapter by chapter study of the bible and not just topical study. If you want to know what God is saying to you look at the verses that are not underlined. We are to be a people of the book. We say we believe the bible but very few Christians have a daily, ongoing relationship with God’s word.
Reproof also comes through the inward witness. In 1 Sam. 24:5 we read that David’s heart smote him because he had cut off the corner of Saul’s garment. When was the last time that the indictment of your heart provoked you to change course? David’s heart smote him and he exposed himself to great danger in order to repent openly before Saul and his army. 1 Tim. 4:2 warns about ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit and winding up with a conscience seared and incapable of repentance. If you cannot look back in your life and find many instances where you repented, often at great personal cost is it because you don’t do anything wrong? Or is it rather you have an understanding of God and an approach to life in Christ that justifies whatever course of action you choose to take and sears your conscience to the point that you are in danger of becoming reprobate in areas of your life that are obnoxious to God’s sense of holiness and godliness?
Reproof also comes from Christian leadership, particularly the office of the apostle. Who is the apostle in your life? The question is laughable as the modern church for the most part rejects the idea of modern apostolic ministry. There is a difference between an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. The apostle is the only office gift that is mentioned by name and connected with the responsibility to do what Paul admonished Timothy regarding in 2 Tim. 4:2:
[2Ti 4:2 KJV] 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Rebuke can be difficult to hear. In the giving and receiving of rebuke there is an implied relationship. An apostle is more than someone you sit in a pew and watch them speak on a platform once in a while. Apostolic leadership is personal. When Peter stood before Ananias and Sapphira it was an up close and personal encounter. The fear of God is involved. The fear of God is not just some ambient sense of reverence we are expected to draw out of thin air once in a while so we can feel pious before God. The fear of God is a very presence, palpable and immediate resonance of the immediate and demanding nature of being before the throne of God and knowing outside of His mercy we fall pitifully and disastrously short. It is uncomfortable yes, but as Psa. 19:9 tells us – it is clean. When was the last time you felt clean? When was the last time you were in the midst of an anointing that left you chastened, yet secure in the knowledge that a loving God was not abandoning you to your own carnality and waywardness?
11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise [man] keepeth it in till afterwards. 12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants [are] wicked. 13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes. 14 The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever. 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left [to himself] bringeth his mother to shame. 16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall. 17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul. 18 Where [there is] no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy [is] he. 19 A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.
Verse 11 is a wonderful word of counsel. A fool uttereth all his mind but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards. Learn to be quiet. Paul admonished the Thessonlians in this area:
[1Th 4:11 KJV] 11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
Why did they need to be quiet? It was because they didn’t have anything good to say. If someone’s tongue is a well of life speaking forth the words of life then you want to hear from that person. The Thessalonians were full of negativity. There were rumors running rampant in their midst that the day of the Lord had already come and the apocalypse was upon them. They were being taken advantage of by legalists, Judaizers demanding the people to come under the bondage of the law when they had been free in Christ. Panic was running amok in their midst. Fear mongers and naysayers were infecting every strata of the community and hopelessness abounded. Into the midst of this Paul gives a simple command – be quiet and get back to work. There is a point to get your attention off of matters that you have no control over and pay attention to what you are responsible for and can do something about. In 2 Thess. 3:12 Paul again admonishes the Thessalonians to quietness. Some people can’t be quiet and can’t stand it when things are quiet. They have to have something going on at all times. If they are not in a crises they will create a crises. Is that you? Would you be able to admit it if it was? Learn to be quiet.
20 Seest thou a man [that is] hasty in his words? [there is] more hope of a fool than of him. 21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become [his] son at the length. 22 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. 23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit. 24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth [it] not. 25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe. 26 Many seek the ruler’s favour; but [every] man’s judgment [cometh] from the LORD. 27 An unjust man [is] an abomination to the just: and [he that is] upright in the way [is] abomination to the wicked.
Proverbs 29:20 warns about the man who is hasty in his words. We call that shooting off your mouth. Have you shot off your mouth lately? Solomon certainly meddles right down were everyday man lives doesn’t he? Learn to count to 10 before you open your mouth. Opinions are toxic to faith. Let opinion die on your lips and find no place in your heart. Have you heard the steady stream of lies coming forth lately in the media? If you have ever been personally involved in something that was reported on in the media you get a sense of just how untrue, false, twisted and skewed the media is in their reporting. The media, and the content they produce constitutes mental pornography that the western world is deeply addicted to. What sexual pornography is to the eye, the 24 hour news cycle is to the mind. In Ecclessiastes Solomon exposes the connection between lust of the eye and the lust to consume what we glibly call “news”:
[Ecc 1:8 KJV] 8 All things [are] full of labour; man cannot utter [it]: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
Jesus said time and again “be careful how you hear…” and “he that hath an ear let him hear”. Did He say this because He was ministering at a deaf school? No – the crowd were physically capable of hearing but they were distracted and filled with other narratives rather than the word of God and the voice of God. If there is one deep and urgent need in the body of Christ it is to cleanse our hearing and return once again to the pure narrative of God’s word to fill our ears and fill our life.
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