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by Ray Ewers

Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee (Proverbs 9:8)

God uses the Bible to reprove or rebuke us.

All scripture is … profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).

When the Word of God is written on the table of our heart it will speak to us morning and evening so that “reproofs of instruction are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:23).

Therefore it is God’s intention that we use His Word, not only to encourage, but also to reprove another. I thank God for those who have used it to bring correction to my life. Our text reminds us that when we rebuke a wise man he will love you.

…rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee (Proverbs 9:8).

Reproof should start in the home. Parents need to confront their children, even as young adults, with clear direction. We are living in a day where to say “NO” is regarded as negative. Rather than train by clearly stating, “We forbid you!” many young people are left to just figure things out for themselves. David in Psalm 1 gives clear direction and states:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1).

He is saying: “Walk not …; Stand not …; Sit not …”

God instructs us with “Do nots” in the Ten Commandments, and Jesus clearly taught “Do nots”. Concerning the scribes and Pharisees He said, “Do not ye after their works” (Matthew 23:3). He also taught:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth (Matthew 6:19).

When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do…be not ye therefore like unto them (Matthew 6:7-8).

Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24)

Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1).

There is a warning in our text against giving reproof to a scorner. There are those in life who scoff at any kind of rebuke, as Proverbs 13:1 says: “a scorner heareth not rebuke”, and Proverbs 15:12 states: “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise”.

Disciplinary action may also be necessary in Church life, for God says:

Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease (Proverbs 22:10)

We are therefore to discriminate concerning those to whom we give help. Since wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, the “know it all” cannot learn, and whilst they maintain this attitude they can never learn. They are doomed to remain in ignorance, having locked the door of their mind and thrown away the key.

The wise man is ever turning his spiritual radar to the Word of God. He approaches it with an open mind and with the humble attitude of a learner. He knows his limitations and is ever open to correction and reproof.

Therefore, in Church and family life we are our brother’s keeper. As we see a need it behoves us as parents, and brothers and sisters in Christ, to prayerfully and graciously use the Word of God to reprove one another. It takes wisdom and humility to both give reproof and to receive reproof, but this is one of the means by which God is conforming us to the image of His dear Son.

It is encouraging to remember that while “no chastening (correction) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).