How do you respond to reproof?

Dear BPCWAians, I hope that from last week’s Pastoral, we have searched our hearts to see if our hearts have reflected the traits of the simple, the scorner and the foolish. We must realise and be concerned about that because such people have rejected the true wisdom that is in God’s word, and have elevated other things above God’s wisdom. And there are great consequences. That is why God warns us and reproves us for our good. How would you respond? This week, we will conclude with the remaining 2 messages preached at the morning devotion.

What is reproof? Reproof is God’s way of restraining us, to stop us from doing something; or to start doing something that we do not naturally like. We may feel that it is too strict and do not want to follow it. The wise will want to change and arrange his life and behaviour according to God’s word.

The simple, scorner and foolish ignore reproof (Prov 1:20-32). As long   as we do not turn when God reproves (v23) and scolds, we are simple, scorners and fools who look down and do not care about God’s reproof (v30). God keeps stretching out His hands to us through the many Bible studies in the church. But we do not want God’s counsel when we do not want those Bible studies and are not interested in doing our devotions. We think that as long as we come to some church activities and serve in church, and call ourselves Christians, we are not simple, scorners and fools. Or we may think that we  can do things  our own way,  according to what is convenient and easier for us. We must awaken to the fact that we are simple, scorners and fools, if we ignore these opportunities and think that they are not important. A Christian who sees the study of God’s Word as an optional thing after salvation has rejected God’s wisdom. A truly saved child of God who receives God’s reproof may struggle in obeying because of his flesh, but won’t disagree to say that it is foolish and that God is wrong. We must be sure that we are saved, no matter how long we’ve been in church.

The simple, scorner, and foolish will reap consequences. There are consequences when we reject God’s wisdom. God asks how long will you resist and continue to reject God’s wisdom (v22)? There will be a time when things will happen to you. These things are not an “if” but a “when” (v27) and they will come. These things will happen, whether or not you believe it will happen. Fear, destruction, distress and anguish will come upon you. (Prov 1:26-27) But at that time when you want to find God, He will say too late – He will not answer, because “they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD” (Prov 1:28, 29). He is the holy God and unbelievers will be judged for their sin. The chance is only when you are living. Even for Christians, if we will not turn at God’s reproof and choose to live a different kind life from what God directs, you too will one day face the consequences of rejecting God’s wisdom. If you have children, it may not just affect you, but may also affect your children. Sin always has consequences. God may step in and do something severe so that we will fear when we see the desolation (v27). God will bring emotional and physical pain to get us to stop because He is loving and doesn’t want us to continue this way. But if we do not stop, God will leave something drastic in our life which will always be a reminder of the consequence of our sin so that we will not go back to it. Some things that God leaves can affect our families, our loved ones. God is patient, but if God is your Father, He will chastise. The unbelievers who turn away and do not accept God’s reproof will suffer permanently in hell. For believers, the wrong choices that we made will have consequences, and there is nothing else we can do but swallow the bitter results of what we sow. It will become part of our life. There is never a good ending for the simple, the scorner, the foolish because there are consequences. The wise may have troubles in life, but not the troubles which are consequences of sin.

The wise will listen to reproof (Prov 1:31-2:12). Those who are wise do not have to be afraid of the desolation, destruction and fear that will come upon those that reject God’s wisdom. Even if we do not do well, we will be honest. We do not do half-truths even if it means we will make a loss or miss out on a promotion. If we want the false “prosperity of fools”, it “shall destroy them” (Prov 1:32) and they will live in constant fear. The only way to not get the consequences of sin would be to listen to wisdom’s reproof. But if we are wise, we may not have much materially, but we will sleep better than others. And when you have much through obedient means, you will still sleep well. We must stretch out our hands and gladly take wisdom in and make God’s commandments part of our heart (Prov 2:1-2). This is opposite to the fool. The wise will incline their ear and want to know, but the fool will scorn, saying that they’ve heard that many times already… and sadly, think that they know better than to follow God’s way.

The wise will obey and make changes in all things. The wise wants to understand what to do. Having wisdom means changing our lives and letting God’s truth control us. The fool can even be attending Bible studies and know God’s model, have knowledge, teach it, but as long as they leave that sin undealt with in their lives and do not obey God’s commandment in that area, they are a simple scorning fool. Some can answer Bible questions, their lives may even be changed in some areas, but yet not all. To obey, we must receive God’s truth humbly. The wise will not have wandering minds. And it is not just about being present, but listening to obey in all things. The wise will want to be taught as much as possible about what God says about everything (Prov 2:3), as compared to the fool who picks and chooses. We do not listen because we do not think it is important, and think that nothing is going to happen.

How to get wisdom? There are conditions to get wisdom. Prov 2:4 says, “If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as [for] hid treasures”. It speaks of someone who values God’s commandment as being more precious than their career, good results and good health. When there is a need to choose, you must choose to know God’s word. Searching implies serious effort. Hidden implies digging and not giving up. Some people may say that the Bible is too difficult, but will learn to operate complicated recorders to record TV programs. Some will say that coming to church is too difficult, but happily make the effort and time for other activities besides church. Some will say that serving in church is too troublesome, but readily make time for major projects at home. A change has to occur in our lives for us to get the hidden treasures. The only way to become wise is to take God’s Word as your treasure. Only if you make these true in your lives (Prov 2:1,3,4), then it will become true in your lives and you will find God working in your life (Prov 2:5-10). We will be very firm, safe and secure in God. God will preserve us and we will be on His safe path. “Paths” becomes grooved in when we keep hearing God’s word, and having the habit to obey it. It becomes a norm in our life because we had always done it that way. Then, at the moment that we need to make a decision about life in great temptations or crisis, our natural reaction is still to obey because we have been ingrained with the truth and naturally reject what is wrong. We will feel very uncomfortable with disobedience. Our hands will do what is right. Our mouths will keep asking for more of God’s wisdom. Our feet will bring us to where we can learn and understand God’s word. We will be naturally safe in God’s wisdom. Christians, we will be wise not to sin.

May every worshipper at BPCWA choose rightly to be wise and not be simple, scorners and fools.

Yours in our Lord’s service