Day 15: Proverbs 15: 9, 24, 31, 33
“The Lord detests the way of the wicked
but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
The path of life leads upward for the prudent
to turn him away from Sheol beneath.
He who listens to a life-giving rebuke
will dwell among the wise.
The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.”
- Rebuke has one of two outcomes:
- Reform: recognition of error, repentance, and correction of action.
- Rejection: refusal to acknowledge error, continuing to act in sin, and consequence [death (v 10), the grave (v 24), despising of self (v 32), and foolishness].
- Foolishness is the result of rejecting rebuke, and wisdom is the result of accepting rebuke
- The Lord rebukes us because he loves us and wants us to live our best lives
- If the Lord loves the righteous (v 9, v 26, v 29), and if rebuke leads to wisdom and righteousness, then the Lord must be showing us love when he shows us rebuke.
- If we live our best lives when we live according to wisdom, then when the Lord corrects us, it is because he wants us to be living our best lives. It is because he wants us to be fulfilled and to flourish.
- Rejecting the Lord’s rebuke is rejecting the Lord’s love
It’s one thing to understand rebuke as love; it’s another to respond to rebuke in love. Responding in love means responding in wisdom, but often I feel stuck in this circular cycle: if I don’t have wisdom, how do I get it? If I’m not wise, how do I know if I’m pursuing wisdom, or acting in foolishness? As Proverbs 1 tells us, and Proverbs 15:33 reminds us, “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” To fear the Lord, I have to know him, and I can know him through his Word.
When we read the Word, we understand God’s character, we trace his faithfulness throughout history, we know his will by his example in Christ Jesus. The Word shows us God’s sheer power in speaking creation into being, his omnipotence and might as he vanquishes the foes of his people with a jawbone or a mere stone from a brook. But it also shows a tiny baby in a manger laid, and a man stripped of skin, sagging from bloody beams, begging his Father to forgive us. I fear this magnificence, but I love this Christ.
This is the image that compels me to humility; the face that I hope to please with my thoughts, words, and deeds. The rebuke of Christ is the rebuke of the God-man who takes my face in his nail-scarred hands and invites, “Come, live your best life.” That is the love I refuse when I reject the rebuke of the Lord, because rebuke is an invitation to wisdom, to righteousness, to love, and to God himself.
Father, thank you for loving me enough to correct me. Allow me to see the challenges of my day through your eyes, and show me how to respond in love, with wisdom. Give me opportunities to reform my failings, and to trust that you will help me to live a life worthy of you. You have called me into your kingdom and glory, and are faithful to fulfill your promises. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
- Sarah Moon