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TO CHEW ON: "Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear." Proverbs 25:12
Rebuke isn't a word we use often these days. It means to reprove sharply, reprimand, check or restrain by command. Its synonym reprove (to rebuke, censure, blame) is almost as rare.
Perhaps we don't use these words because we don't do much rebuking or reproving. When the news carries stories of people getting beat up for trying to check or restrain bad behaviour, can we be blamed for keeping our mouths shut?
Yet here Solomon praises the person who learns from a rebuke. Other references to rebuke in the Bible help us understand from whom rebuke might come and how to receive and give it.
- Sometimes it comes from unexpected sources. In the Old Testament, rebuke came to Abram and Sarai from an Egyptian Pharaoh and Abimelech, the king of Gerar, when they lied about their relationship - Genesis 12:18 and Genesis 20:16.
- Rebuke is valuable when it comes from a righteous, wise person. In Psalm 141:5 the psalmist calls it "excellent oil." Our focus verse likens wise rebuke to gold jewelry.
- Parents are expected to rebuke their children and wise children will respond with corrected behaviour - Proverbs 15:15; Proverbs 2:1-22; 9:15.
- Rebuke is most helpful when it's "open" vs. hidden, as in not delivered - Proverbs 27:5.
- We demonstrate whether we are foolish or wise by how we respond to it - Proverbs 17:10.
- God, our heavenly Father, shows His care for us when He rebukes us - Hebrews 12:5.
Have you been rebuked by someone lately? Or by God Himself? How do you tend to respond to rebuke?
Instead of getting our hackles up, or objecting "Who are you to tell me I'm wrong?!" let's prove ourselves wise by valuing righteous, helpful, needed rebuke and responding to it with an obedient ear.
PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be open to rebuke today and to respond with an obedient ear. Amen.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.