PROVERB PRACTICALS   the love of instruction, proverbs 12:1, audio

 

Proverbs 12:1, Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. 

John 8:32, And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

There are millions this Sunday morning who have decided against truth, against knowledge and have taken to pleasurable activities separating themselves from those who could instruct them. 

Perhaps this fleeing from knowledge has much to do with this word ďreproofĒ for this word in this age is not a word which flows easily from the lips or is easily received in the ears.

But you are here today and I hope it is because you are a lover of truth, a lover of knowledge and accompanying that love of knowledge is a Biblical attitude toward reproof.  

I was going to say a love of reproof but I do not know if that can be accomplished in this life.

If you are a Christian you are sanctified and are being sanctified which means you have been set apart to become Christ-like. 

God is planting your feet on higher ground.

You are an active work of God for you have been born into his family and as a loving Father he leads you to the higher ground.

You have been set apart that you may have the mind of Christ and because you are a sinner part of that process concerns the matter of reproof.

You have been told to study, to show yourself approved unto God, that you be not ashamed. 

Our school students are in that period of this school year where they have been told to study and hopefully they will, but if they do not study they will be ashamed for report card judgment day will certainly come.

Also as a Christian you have been told to examine yourself to see if you be in the faith.

So within this proverb God give you a landmark, a touch stone, a grade level to reach to see if you are approved of God, to see if you are indeed in the faith and that mark has to do with how you deal with reproof. 

When you examine yourself to see if you are in the faith will that examination reveal that you love the knowledge that reproof brings? 

Does your heart joy when that which is preached stings and brings guilt because it applies to you? 

Do you realize that reproof is like a flashlight that brings light to your life so that you will not walk in darkness?

Are you glad to get rid of pride when the Bible brings to your heart necessary instruction that causes you to see yourself as God sees you? 

Do you receive that man or woman who honestly tells you your faults as a lover of your soul, and as one who cares about your relationship to God?

For in this process God has placed a preacher in your path and has commanded him in II Tim. 4:2, to "Preach the word; be instant in season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

So among the many responsibilities of your pastor lies the responsibility to reprove me and to reprove you.

And those of us who are reproved are to count this as a good thing for those who hate reproof are brutish as we are told in our proverb.

Now what is reproof and what is brutish?

For the best answer we go to Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary which is a dictionary that was produced during the years when the American home, church and school were established upon a Biblical and a patriotic basis. (Available in the CBC Bookstore)

Those were the days when the home, the church, and the school taught the same principles and that is what we try to do here.

Noah Webster considered education useless without the Bible and I am sure he would even be more convinced of that if he were privy to the happenings of today. 

For Satan is committed to making those three institutions, the home, the church and the school distinctly different from each other for he is the author of confusion.

Now Mr. Webster defines Reproof as: Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension, the exciting of a sense of guilt.

He defines Brutish as: Like a brute (any animal destitute of reason) or beast; Insensible; stupid; unfeeling; savage; ferocious; brutal; gross; carnal; bestial; ignorant; uncivilized; untaught

So meditate on this and digest what God is telling us about those who hate reproof for God minces no words. 

He is telling us, using very strong language, but sometimes strong language is necessary to bring instruction.

In telling us that he that hateth reproof is brutish He is telling us that:

he that hateth reproof is insensible (destitute of the power of feeling or perceiving)

he that hateth reproof is stupid (Very dull, senseless, wanting in understanding)

he that hateth reproof is unfeeling (cruel, hard)

he that hateth reproof is savage (A human being in his native state of rudeness, one who is untaught, uncivilized or without cultivation of mind and manners)

he that hateth reproof is ferocious (fierce, barbarous, cruel)

he that hateth reproof is brutal (merciless)

he that hateth reproof is gross (coarse, rough, vulgar)

he that hateth reproof is carnal (opposed to spiritual, pertaining to the flesh)

he that hateth reproof is bestial (below the dignity of reason or humanity)

he that hateth reproof is ignorant (destitute of knowledge, uninstructed or uninformed)

he that hateth reproof is uncivilized (course, indecent, not reclaimed from savage life)

and he that hateth reproof is untaught (not educated, unlettered, illiterate)

So in this proverbs we are informed by Solomon that the truly wise person loves to receive instruction.  

He loves knowledge and to love knowledge requires a heart that must love instruction.

God gives knowledge to those who are willing to receive instruction.

Those who are not willing to receive instruction will not be given knowledge.  

God does not force truth on anyone.

Itís a black and white conclusion; itís as simple as that.

The kind of instruction alluded to here is instruction that is of a nature concerning a fault;

instruction that requires censure;

instruction where there is blame cast at the one being instructed, instruction where there is a convincing of guilt.

So we see here that Solomon says the truly wise person loves the knowledge that reproof brings.

He may not love the reproof but he loves the knowledge that it brings.

He loves the knowledge because it brings him closer to God, closer to God's Word, closer to God's will as God conforms him to the image of his Son, and thereby closer to the mind of Christ.

Now reproof can be given in many ways but for this lesson let me give you two examples of reproof.

When I first taught this Proverb 20 years ago in 1993 I called this first example the respectable reproof, however reproof today is so rare and if done is preceded by gushy praise which in effect hides the reproof so today Iím afraid this reproof may not be thought of as respectable. 

But think of it in relation to the second reproof which I call the nasty reproof and you may not think it so harsh.

Example A: The respectible reproof: The principle, Mr. Edwards, says to the teacher: Mr. Johnson, I have been observing your seventh grade class and find your discipline lacking. Your students are unruly and your class has been out of control on every occasion I have observed. I have noticed that you are continually raising your voice above the noise level of your students and that you apparently receive no respect considering the authority that you have. I expect a change in your methods, and I expect you to observe the rules of this school and I expect to see improvement in the behavior of your students. Mr. Johnson, Have I made myself clear?

Example B: The nasty reproof, the principle, Mr. King, says to the teacher: Johnson, I'm sick and tired of your rotten seventh grade class. Your yelling at them fills the halls and disturbs classes that are well run.  Your students are a mess and you've made them that way. Your discipline stinks and you'd better shape up or you're out on your ear! Do you hear me? Out on your ear!

Now assume that Mr. Johnson, the teacher, is a Christian and that his class is indeed out of control, what should Mr. Johnson's reaction be in each of these examples?

In the first example Mr. Johnson was given instruction in a manner that was respectable.

And if he was a lover of knowledge he would take the instruction to heart and bring about change in his classroom, appreciating Mr. Edwardís concern for him and his desire that he thrive as a successful teacher.

In the second example he may be sidetracked by the method of instruction and burn toward the Principal.

I have witnessed on many occasions an attack on the method of reproof rather than a welcome reception of the instruction that the reproof was meant to bring. 

One of the goals of reproof is to excite a sense of guilt but our society today thinks guilt is reprehensible and to be avoided at all costs. 

So any finger pointed at my face must be re-aimed to point at another. 

We see blame from every level from our President down.

There seems to be from those who do not love knowledge a defense against knowledge by focusing on external things as a diversion from receiving truth.   Think Bengasi.

So Mr. Johnson, our teacher, may also engage in diversion as a way to isolate himself from truth.

He may say, I can't believe he treated me that way, yelling and carrying on, pointing his bony finger in my face like I was some kind of a child.  

Here I am struggling with this hopeless and ragtag bunch of students, a bunch he selected just to harass me and I get treated in this terrible way. 

All the other teachers get the good students and I get all the troublemakers.

No way is he going to get any cooperation out of me!

Now if he does this, he concentrates on the reproof and not on the instruction.

If he does this he will not grow but only shrink for he forsakes knowledge.

The lesson is, we must not concentrate on the method of reproof, we must concentrate on the instruction we receive from the reproof.

We cannot change the person giving the reproof but by the grace of God we can change the person receiving the reproof.

Now there is no doubt that the person giving reproof also has a responsibility to offer it upon a foundation of much prayer and to give it with much prudence and charity so as not to encourage a diversion to the method of reproof rather than the instruction meant to bring profit. 

The Bible says to provoke not your children to wrath and I believe that truth applies with reference to how you may reprove adults also.

But how the reproof is given is not to be that which determines whether or not we receive instruction.

It is rare to receive reproof in our day because the common belief is for people to be positive and to not censure or find blame with another.

But in many instances instruction by reproof is avoided because people are brutish about receiving this kind of instruction and what supervisor wants to face a brute.

A brute is uncorrectable and hopeless.

The verse in Jonah 2:8, applies here for it says They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. 

This verse literally says: They that erect about themselves hedges designed to keep in lies and prohibit the entry of truth proclaim to mercy ďdonít you dare come in here.Ē

If you reject reproof, you forsake instruction and therefore knowledge and with that knowledge, Godís mercy.

This type of instruction is not popular today because it does not go along with the drive for increased self-esteem so intensely sought-after these days.

Self-esteem puffs up and anything puffed up can easily be deflated.

But reproof, if received with the love of knowledge will truly build a person's character, upon which is built a life lived for God.

If we love God we are to be people who love knowledge and many times that knowledge brings us to face who we really are.

It brings us to unveil the coverings that we have made that give us a picture of someone other than our real selves. 

God desires to conform you and me to His Son and that requires careful sculpturing where we may think our honor is wounded when our sin is revealed. 

But we should think that sin has already wounded our honor and it will only be healed with a cheerful submission to Godís Word of reproof.

Proverbs 12:1, Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

 

Earlier and Shorter Version

Proverbs 12:1,  Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

II Tim. 4:2, reminds the preacher to "Preach the word; be instant in season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

Definitions from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

Reproof: Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension

Brutish: Like a brute (any animal destitute of reason) or beast; Insensible; stupid; unfeeling; savage; ferocious; brutal; gross; carnal; bestial; ignorant; uncivilized; untaught

Therefore:

he that hateth reproof is insensible

he that hateth reproof is stupid

he that hateth reproof is unfeeling

he that hateth reproof is savage

he that hateth reproof is ferocious

he that hateth reproof is brutal

he that hateth reproof is gross

he that hateth reproof is carnal

he that hateth reproof is bestial

he that hateth reproof is ignorant

he that hateth reproof is uncivilized

he that hateth reproof is untaught

In this verse we are informed by Solomon that the truly wise person loves to receive instruction.

He loves knowledge and to love knowledge requires a heart that must love instruction.

God gives knowledge to those that are willing to receive instruction.

Those that are not willing to receive instruction will not be given knowledge.

Black and white; its as simple as that.

The kind of instruction alluded to here is instruction that is of a nature concerning a fault; instruction that requires censure; instruction where there is blame cast at the one being instructed.

So we see here that Solomon says the the truly wise person loves the knowledge that reproof brings.

He may not love the reproof but he loves the knowledge.

He loves the knowledge because it brings him closer to God, closer to God's Word, closer to God's will as God conforms him to the image of his Son.

Let's discuss the following two examples:

Example A: The respectible reproof: The principle, Mr. Edwards, says to the teacher: Mr. Smith, I have been observing your seventh grade class and find your discipline lacking. Your students are unruly and your class has been out of control on every occasion I have observed. I have noticed that you are continually raising your voice above the noise level of your students and that you apparently receive no respect considering the authority that you have. I expect a change in your methods, and I expect you to observe the rules of this school and I expect to see improvement in the behavior of your students. Have I made myself clear?

Example B: The nasty reproof, The principle, Mr. King, says to the teacher: Smith, I'm sick and tired of your rotten seventh grade class. Your students are a mess and you've made them that way. Your discipline stinks and you'd better shape up or you're out on your ear! Do you hear me? Out on your ear!

Question the class: Assume that Mr. Smith is a Christian and that his class is indeed out of control, what should Mr. Smith's reaction be in each of these examples?

Discussions:

In the second example he may be sidetracked by the method of instruction and burn toward the principle.

He may say, I can't believe he treated me that way.

See if he gets any cooperation out of me!

If he does this he concentrates on the reproof and not on the instruction.

If he does this he will not grow but only shrink.

The lesson is, we must not concentrate on the rebuke or reproof, we must concentrate on the instruction we receive from the reproof.

We cannot change the person giving the reproof but by the grace of God we can change the person receiving the reproof.

It is rare to receive this kind of instruction in our day because the common belief is for people to be positive and to not censure or find blame with another.

Instruction by reproof is avoided because people are brutish about receiving this kind of instruction and what supervisor wants to face a brute.

A brute is uncorrectable and hopeless.

The verse in Jonah that our Pastor preached on Wednesday applies here also.

They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

If you reject reproof you forsake instruction and therefore knowledge.

This type of instruction is not popular today because it does not go along with the drive for increased self-esteem so intensely sought after these days.

Self-esteem puffs up and anything puffed up can easily be deflated but reproof, if received in the love of knowledge will truly build a person's character, upon which is built a life lived for God.

"PROVERB PRACTICALS" Article in "The Projector" for Proverbs 12:1, back to the standard