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Proverbs 25:12, As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
This is a proverb that describes reproof that gets results.
It is a proverb where we learn what it takes for reproof to be of value.
Reproof is common, but successful reproof is uncommon.
Successful reproof results from a wise reprover and a hearing ear desiring to profit from the reproof.
This combination will guarantee growth in both the reprover and the one reproved.
This is typical of God's solution to problems.
God's works work everything to a successful conclusion.
God's plan for each party of any relationship is a yes-yes plan.
God's plan is not for gain to occur for the one by the suffering of the other.
That is the world's system, not God's system.
God is interested in both parties where reproof is concerned.
Both parties are to profit if things are carried out by both in accordance with the word of God.
Reproof is good. Reproof is an act of love if the reproof is given for the benefit of the one reproved.
But much reproof is given, not for the one reproved, but for supposed gain of the reprover. One-upmanship!
Lemme at him! I'll show him! I'll give him a piece of my mind.
(With all the pieces you've given away are you sure you have any left to spare?)
This will teach him a lesson! I gotta get this off my chest!
I'll really chew him out! He'll shape up or else!
Nobody gets away treating ME like dirt!
These are not wise reproofs. These are selfish reproofs.
These are reproofs given only from a heart that cares for self.
The proverb previous to this proverb reminds us that: A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.
It is a picture proverb as is our proverb of today and our proverb builds on this picture.
The picture is a word painting and describes apples presented in a manner that make the apples more desired to be eaten.
The beautiful silver basket frames the golden fruit contained in the basket thereby causing the observer to desire and select the golden apple.
In other words there is a way that words spoken will be accepted more readily if spoken properly or fitly.
God expects his children to use words that are fit to the need.
He expects us to use words in a way that enhance the attractiveness of truth.
Words that frame truth in a way that attracts, a way that enhances the word's ability to accomplish a purpose.
As God sends forth his word to bear fruit so does he expect our words to be used in a way that will bear fruit!
But reproof is normally presented in such a way that it repels.
And many times the reprover is glad and proud that it repels.
But God desires that reproof be presented in a fitting way, in an acceptable way.
Reproof is not to be given just to be given.
It is not spoken just to relieve our conscience.
I must not say it just to make me feel good or to get it off my chest.
Reproof, to be most effective, should be fitly spoken.
Reproof should be spoken to accomplish the purpose of correction of a fault.
And that must be kept in mind when reproof is given.
This proverb asks us to picture an earring of gold upon an ear, an ornament of fine gold.
Earrings perform no practical function. They do not help the ear stay attached to the head.
They do not improve physical hearing.
But earrings are worn to make the ear more attractive.
Earrings go with ears. Earrings of the right size and shape enhance the ear.
The ear with the right earring is comely.
The right earring should enhance the appearance of the ear.
The wrong earring draws attention to itself apart from the ear.
In Ezekiel 16:10-12, we are given a picture of God preparing Jerusalem as his bride.
It is a beautiful picture of the bridegroom preparing the bride to be exceeding beautiful:
I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.
God placed earrings in the bride's ears.
All of the ornaments and the clothing was designed to enhance her beauty.
All contributed to her comeliness. The earrings were a compliment to her ears.
Just as wise reproof is a complement to obedience.
They best go together. One encourages the other!
The picture that this proverb draws us to is a picture of reproof that enhances the hearing of the reproof.
The wise reproof is one where the reproof is so given as to encourage the hearing or acceptance of it.
But there must be an ear to hear the wise reproof if the beautiful picture is completed.
There must be an obedient response to the reproof.
An earring without an ear to hang it on is a useless device.
There must be an ear to place the earring on.
And likewise if wise reproof is to be effective there must be a hearer of that reproof that is obedient to the reproof.
The picture is only beautiful if both parties carry out their responsibility in accordance with the word of God.
If you are a reprover then you must be a wise reprover.
If you are the receiver of reproof then you must have an obedient ear.
And each party must remember that each responsibility is independent of the other.
An obedient ear or a disobedient ear should not affect the wise reprover.
The reprover is responsible to God for the way he reproves.
And likewise with the one reproved.
His response is to be with an obedient ear regardless of whether the reproof was given in wisdom.
He is also responsible to God in how he receives reproof.
The principle is: Your action is not to determine my reaction.
You are not to be my teacher.
My teacher and your teacher is to be the word of God.
Therefore your action and my reaction are to be determined by the word of God.
Each party has a responsibility to God.
If you are not a wise reprover that does not excuse me from the responsibility of having an obedient ear.
An obedient ear is more important than having to receive a wise reproof but both are the standard of God and both together will accomplish the greatest good.
"PROVERB PRACTICALS" Article in "The Projector" for Proverbs 25:12, THE WISE REPROVER AND THE OBEDIENT EAR"