The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 12:1-10 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid. A good man will obtain favor from the Lord, But He will condemn a man who devises evil. A man will not be established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous will not be moved. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones. The thoughts of the righteous are just, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, But the mouth of the upright will deliver them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand. A man will be praised according to his insight, But one of perverse mind will be despised. Better is he who is lightly esteemed and has a servant Than he who honors himself and lacks bread. A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.
If you have visited my home, you have surely had the pleasure of meeting the family dog, Piper. Piper is a beagle. As such, she is a slave to her instincts. Squirrels, food, and lap-nap, in that order. Her nature is to have her appetite satisfied immediately, and to resist any attempts at being corrected.
Attempting to withhold any of these things from her results first in the staredown. After that comes violent tail wagging. Next, whimpering. Fourth in line is a combination of whelping, barking, and what my family calls the “slinky dog”. “Slinky dog” is when Piper strangely folds her body in half, tail tucked, head down, combined with the whimpering and whelping previously mentioned. If Piper is not humored at this point, what follows has become affectionately known as the “zoomies”, a frantic, maniacal running, jumping, and scampering around, with Piper frequently left lying in the middle of the floor, panting, totally spent. She doesn’t like to wait, be told no, have what she wants withheld, or receive something that is contrary to her will at the moment. Why? Because she is an animal, and as such, is stupid. The appetites of her stomach, and her desire to pounce on squirrells overrides any sense of what may be safe, prudent, or in her best interests. To catch the squirrel, Piper would dash into oncoming traffic and NEVER take heed of my command to stop. To fill her belly, she would gladly lick up the antifreeze leaking under my van, not caring in that moment that the food I provide to her in her dish is good for her, and all other such delicacies found outside the food dish could kill her.
She does not willingly accept reproof, because it is completely contrary to her nature as a beagle.
Men, women, boys, and girls who have not been born again, are no different than Piper the beagle.
They are what the scripture here today calls brutes in the KJV.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, But he who hates reproof is stupid.
Stupid, or brute as used here, is meant to convey the idea of someone which consumes by fire or by eating up. It relates to the idea that a person is a Natural Man, who does not understand the things of God, and when the truth of God is spoke in a fashion meant to correct, a consuming fire of mocking and scoffing ensues. Atheists Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking come to mind. Brilliant men in their respective fields of study. Very, very intelligent men capable of communicating complex ideas. Yet, they were essentially highly educated brutes who professed to be wise yet were fools. Brute, it’s the essence of man. For the brute, a word of correction from THE Word is answered with scoffing and mocking. An attempt to reprove a stupid person will lead to hatred, dishonor, and insults (Proverbs 9:7, 8).
Matthew Henry says this of those who hate reproof:
“ He that hates reproof is not only foolish, but brutish, like the horse and the mule who have no understanding, or the ox that kicks against the goad. Those that desire to live in loose families and societies, where they may be under no check, that stifle the convictions of their own consciences, and count those their enemies that tell them the truth, are the brutish here meant.”
So the question is for you, young man: Do you despise the discipline of your father? When you are being disciplined through chores and a strict homeschool regimine, do you recognize that this is for your good, or long for the endless days of cartoons, video games, and entertainment of your peers?
Men, when you are reminded to love your wife and remember that she is the weaker vessel, that you are to honor her as a co-heir of the grace of life (1 Peter 3:7), does this lead you to kick against the goads? Does a constant reminder that you are to lay down your life for her, the crown of your head, turn you into a brute?
Young ladies as your Pastor, father, and mother encourage you over and over to look to God’s word for a picture of godly adornment, is your instinct to run instead to the world and the examples you may find there? Are you seeking God’s will for your life in regards to your sexuality, marriage, career, and future, or, are you longingly observing your less than godly friends, waiting for that day you may show yourself to hate reproof?
Older young ladies, does God’s command for you to be subject to your husband cause you to cringe and blush? Do you find yourself lovingly accepting the leadership of your husband as head, or, do you read all the chatter on social media about how deprived you are, oppressed you are, and enslaved you are, and start to believe it rather than the eternal word of God?
Do we hate reproof, or love it?
Let us kneel together at this time and ask God to forgive us where we have despised correction in our lives.
O THOU THAT HEAREST PRAYER,
Teach me to pray. I confess that in religious exercises the language of my lips and the feelings of my heart have not always agreed, that I have frequently taken carelessly upon my tongue a name never pronounced above without reverence and humility, that I have often desired things which would have injured me, that I have depreciated some of my chief mercies, that I have erred both on the side of my hopes and also of my fears, that I am unfit to choose for myself, for it is not in me to direct my steps.
Let thy Spirit help my infirmities, for I know not what to pray for as I ought. Let him produce in me wise desires by which I may ask right things, then I shall know thou hearest me. May I never be importunate for temporal blessings, but always refer them to thy fatherly goodness, for thou knowest what I need before I ask; May I never think I prosper unless my soul prospers, or that I am rich unless rich toward thee, or that I am wise unless wise unto salvation.
May I seek first thy kingdom and its righteousness. May I value things in relation to eternity. May my spiritual welfare be my chief solicitude. May I be poor, afflicted, despised and have thy blessing, rather than be successful in enterprise, or have more than my heart can wish, or be admired by my fellow-men, if thereby these things make me forget thee. May I regard the world as dreams, lies, vanities, vexation of spirit, and desire to depart from it. And may I seek my happiness in thy favour, image, presence, service. Amen
Please stand and listen to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Isaiah 40:1-2 Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God. “Speak kindly to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.”
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 1/12/20 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)