Today: [Proverbs 12] Are You Correctable? In Proverbs 12 Solomon teaches on the place and purpose of correction in our lives. Are you correctible? Who has permission to correct or rebuke you? What is to be your response when someone comes to you and goes so far as to rebuke or reprove your actions? Is there any place in the culture of the kingdom for reproof and is there is how do we go about making ourselves open in heart to God centered, Holy Spirit originated reproof?
[Pro 12:1-28 KJV] 1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof [is] brutish. 2 A good [man] obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn. 3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved. 4 A virtuous woman [is] a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed [is] as rottenness in his bones. 5 The thoughts of the righteous [are] right: [but] the counsels of the wicked [are] deceit. 6 The words of the wicked [are] to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them. 7 The wicked are overthrown, and [are] not: but the house of the righteous shall stand. 8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised. 9 [He that is] despised, and hath a servant, [is] better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread. 10 A righteous [man] regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked [are] cruel.
Verse 1 of this chapter speaks about reproof and correction. It is a strange thing that we become Christians by repenting but do so little repenting afterward. In my lifetime I have seen extremely few significant examples of Christian repentance. The person who hates reproof is considered “brutish” which in Hebrew translates “as a beast”. Are you correctable? Can you name one person currently in your life who has permission to correct you? According to Paul one purpose of the scripture is correction:
[2Ti 3:16 KJV] 16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
We can see then that the LOGOS of scripture is among other things intended to be used as correction or a basis of reproof in our lives. The LOGOS refers to scripture, the accepted canon of the infallible 66 books of the bible. What about the RHEMA? Rhema refers to prophetic words given through a prophet or through a prophetic person. Is the Rhema acceptably used as a means of correcting people or groups? Paul taught three things that prophecy and the office of the prophet was purposed for in 1 Corinthians:
[1Co 14:3 KJV] 3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
Look at this verse we don’t see correction or reproof coming through a prophet, a prophetic person or a prophetic word IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. In the Old Testament the prophet is almost universally used to reprove, rebuke, call down fire from heaven and generally speak destruction upon the sinful. Yet in Luke 9 when His followers tried to follow this Old Testament example Jesus corrected them:
[Luk 9:53-56 KJV] 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw [this], they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save [them]. And they went to another village.
We can see from this exchange that Jesus is actually RECONFIGURING the prophetic from an Old Covenant paradigm of destruction to a New Covenant paradigm of edification, exhortation and comfort. Does this mean there is NO place for rebuke in the New Testament pattern? Au contraire! In training young Timothy in apostolic ministry Paul commanded:
[2Ti 4:2 KJV] 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Again we come back to the LOGOS of the infallible word of God and also apostolic ministry as the basis of rebuke and the means through which it comes. We also see from this that we need all the 5 fold ministry of Eph. 4:11,12 in our lives and not just pastor, or prophet or teacher, evangelist, etc., we also need apostolic influence. Christian culture doesn’t lend itself well to plural ministry. We tend to have one or at the most two ministries that we connect with over time to the exclusion of others that influence us. That is not to say that one minister cannot actually move in two offices or ministries. A ministry can be apostolic / prophetic, or evangelistic / pastoral, etc., etc. The point being is that there is within certain constraints evidence and encouragement toward being reproved, rebuked, or corrected as Christians.
One thing to bear in mind is that correction in the New Testament is almost always relational. When you see correction taking place in the New Testament it is usually in the context of an existing or burgeoning relationship. It isn’t standing up in the crowd and pointing the finger either from the pew or the pulpit. Even in the Old Testament when Nathan corrected David is was relational. David was so close to Nathan that one of his sons was named after him. Let us pray about what these accountability relationships are and whether or not we have them. In the meantime let’s be SELF CORRECTING, shall we?
11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain [persons is] void of understanding. 12 The wicked desireth the net of evil [men]: but the root of the righteous yieldeth [fruit]. 13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of [his] lips: but the just shall come out of trouble. 14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of [his] mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him. 15 The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise. 16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent [man] covereth shame. 17 [He that] speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit. 18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise [is] health. 19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue [is] but for a moment.
Proverbs is full of discernment scriptures. Notice verse 11 where it says “he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding…” What is a vain person and how would you know you were following them? The word “follow” here means to “pursue ardently and aim to secure…” This makes me think of the passion with which both Christians and non-Christians lobby for their candidates in political situations or election seasons. They many times display no greater passion for any other thing than the political – not even their in their own walk with God. How do we know if a person we are following is a vain person and are we right to make the judgment? The word vain means “wanting, lacking, needing – understanding.” Why would we follow such a person? The verse says it is because we lack understanding. The word understanding is the Hebrew word for heart. Here is a great revelation. When we lose heart in life we cast about for anyone who claims to have an answer. Our walk with God is compromised. Our faith is weak. What is the answer? Return to the Rock that bore us. Look to God and not to man. Then from that perspective exercise your citizenship responsibilities in the fear of the Lord.
20 Deceit [is] in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace [is] joy. 21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief. 22 Lying lips [are] abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly [are] his delight. 23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness. 24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute. 25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. 26 The righteous [is] more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them. 27 The slothful [man] roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man [is] precious. 28 In the way of righteousness [is] life; and [in] the pathway [thereof there is] no death.
Verse 22 tells us that a prudent man conceals knowledge or doesn’t repeat everything he or she knows. Those with foolish hearts however proclaim foolishness. In other words whatever is on your lips is a betrayal of the condition of your heart. What is the definition of proclaiming foolishness? Think about the 24 hour news cycle. News organizations are not getting up at 4 a.m. to report on the wisdom of the just. 99% of what the media considers newsworthy is simply reporting on some one’s foolish nature or stupid choices. This is a betrayal not only of the character of the pundits and producers doing the reporting but the viewing public who consume the content. The only person who listens to the foolishness that fools proclaim are those who are likewise foolish. I have been astonished to hear sober minded people who consider themselves intercessors and prophets who say they must continually plug into the 24 hour news cycle in order to know how to pray. Really? I thought we got that from God on our knees with a bible not from Rachel Maddow or Bill O’Reilly in our recliners with a remote control in our hands. As verse 26 says the way of the wicked is seductive even to the righteous but as we avert our eyes and seek after the mind of God then true light and understanding will come to us.
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