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Summary: We need to be aware of how to distinguish scorners & the wicked from those simply ignorant of the way of wisdom. The wise are those who heed wisdom by responding to & learning from rebuke.We need wise counsel to guide us in this difficult but necessary ma

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PROVERBS 9: 7-12

CORRECTIONS FOR LIFE

[2 Peter 1:2-4]

Wisdom has been issuing her invitation and calling us to walk in the way of understanding. She directs her invitation to the simple, the naive, the ignorant, to those who have not already made up their mind. There are others who have accepted the call of the world or folly. We need to be aware of how to distinguish scorners and the wicked from those simply ignorant of the way of wisdom (CIM).

Now Paul was one who had lived ‘ignorantly in unbelief' (l Tim.1:13) but he would heed Jesus' rebuke. His countrymen though scorned the Way, so Paul turned from them (Acts 13:45, 46, 50; 18:6, Mt. 10:14ff). How do you tell the difference between those who might be receptive to the gospel and those whose hearts are too hardened to accept it? It all has to do with being willing to be corrected. The scorners who follow follies invitation are not open to correction. They are mockers unwilling to be corrected and hardened in their pride. But the wise are those who heed wisdom by responding to and learning from rebuke (CIT).

We need wise counsel to guide us in this difficult but necessary matter of reproof. We need to know how and to whom to give correction. But even more, we need to know how to receive it.

Reproofs are like sharp knives, very needful and very useful, but they should not be used by children. The immature handle them rashly and wound both themselves and others. Yet reproofs are often needed, often given, and, often unlovingly not given. When we are in contact with others they see our faults and we see theirs. All men, even the wisest and the best, may at times require reproof, but the administration of it is difficult (Ps. 141:5). Thus we need to learn to be wise concerning reproof.

I. A SCOFFER'S RESPONSE TO CORRECTION, 7-8a.

II. A WISE MAN'S RESPONSE TO CORRECTION, 8b-9.

III. WISDOM'S PREREQUISITE AND REWARD, 10-11.

IV. DIFFERENT RESPONSES LEAD TO DIFFERENT REWARDS, 12.

Verse 7 and the first part of verse 8 enlighten us as to why preachers are so often hated, insulted, and dishonored. "He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself. And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself." (8a) "Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you."

The scoffer [fancies himself a free thinker and] casts off all that attempts to restrain him--be it religion or virtue. A scoffers is one who ridicules, maligns, jeers, disparages, discredits, or depreciates. Scoffers or scorners are self-ignorant, audacious, callous and irreverent. They think of themselves as in the know and are proud of their skill. They take aim at those near them who stand in authority by jabs of wit and ridicule to raise a laugh or sneer against them. They belittle goodness, humility, and integrity.

So the scoffer is paralleled with the wicked or godless man who shuns restraint and sees nothing wrong with passions of malice. He relishes iniquity and is intoxicated with sin's deceitfulness. It is exceeding difficult and costly to teach moral or spiritual wisdom to the scoffers and mockers.

To reprove or correct these types of individuals is injurious. They refuse to learn spiritual truth and their rebuttal brings pain to you. Trying to challenge one who mocks truth, integrity, and wisdom to change his ways will only intensify his resentment and turn him against you completely.

So we must learn to distinguish between the ignorant and the haughty, the untrained and the rebellious, the misguided and the misguider. When there is no hope of receptivity for the message or invitation to wisdom we have given that which is holy to the dogs, and cast pearls before swine (Mt. 7:6f). These are those who are beyond the reach of God's elevating influence and it is worse that wasted time endeavoring to improve them (Jude 18-19). They are like the lady who dashed the mirror to the ground because it showed her the wrinkles of her face.

Yet this prudence must not degenerate into cowardice and compromise of our primary obligation to boldly proclaim the gospel, confess our Master, and rebuke sin. Thus we need to gain wisdom as we walk with our Lord in order to discern the difference. Every sinner is not a scoffer (Jude 22-23).

II. A WISE MAN'S RESPONSE TO CORRECTION (8b-9).

Bless the Lord though that there are people receptive to correction, who want to improve themselves, who want to become wise. Look at the second part of verse 8. "Reprove a wise man and he will love you for it."

There is a double blessing record here, one to him who receives the reproof and one to him or her who gives it. A mark of a "wise man" is that he loves the reprover who tells him his faults. Conscious of his own failing, and wanting to be better, he will take suggestions, and he will correct the error pointed out. He even loves the compassionate and infrequent correction because he knows that it is in his best interests (Lev. 9:17, 1 Sam. 25:33, 2 Sam. 12:7-14). He knows that the faithful wounds of a friend are better than the kisses of an enemy (27:6).

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