“He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.”Posted 11/29/13
By Reverend ray
“Brethren,” he then exclaimed, “every man in this standing assembly welcomes you!” We sprang to our feet feeling very much ashamed of ourselves, and profited by the reproof on every similar occasion in the days that followed.”
We have all heard the cliché; “some people never learn.” This would adequately illustrate those who might be described as incorrigibles. But the ethical force of this Proverb must include not only the unwillingness to learn but also the state of increasing obstinance to reproof and rebuke.
Israel was a recurring example of the behavior acquainted with incorrigibles. The moniker that was over and again hung on them was that they were a stiff-necked people.
God had sent judges, kings and prophets throughout their history and yet they seemed to relentlessly ignore the words of reproof transmitted to them through God’s agents.
Throughout western church history there have been voices of reproof that have called nations, empires and even the Church to correct their ways under the pain of certain consequences if the reprimand is not heeded.
In a recent broadcast, (perhaps his final message to America and the world) Billy Graham called the nation to turn to the cross of Christ. What was echoed behind this message was the implicit reproof that our country and people have wondered so far from her religious roots.
As we draw near to the Thanksgiving holiday, we are once again (though it be only a shadow in the minds of most) called to remember that not so long ago a people that had unusual fortitude and abundant grace smothered upon them from God to survive the brutality of a cold New England winter, poor dwelling conditions (most remained aboard ship during that first winter) and rampant sickness and disease were committed to a gratitude that was centrally focused on God’s goodness to them.
Their devotion to God stands as a voice of reproof from the past to a nation that has wondered far from its moorings.
In the ethics of the passage the principle established is that those who are continually reproved yet without any remediable qualities is bound to suffer the consequence of irreconcilable punishment.
Thus an obstinate is a man who doesn’t listen when reproof is given. This is further defined by the writer of proverbs 6:15; “Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.”
In other words, the man who spurns reproof neither learns from or bends to it and it shall follow in time that his end will be that he is beyond healing. This is always a dangerous place to be because it simply means there is no longer hope for that man.
As we survey the things we are grateful for during the thanksgiving holiday, we should take stock in the areas of our lives where we have been reproved and consider whether we have heeded the reproof or become more hardened by it.
True reproof, not criticism, is always intended to move us in a positive and good direction that avoids destruction. Again the writer of Proverbs says; “Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die.”(15:10) It is a sad thing when men are warned over and over of their soul’s depravity and need for a redeemer and yet they continue on in their life ever hardened more and more to that good thing of reproof that would have them avoid destruction.
But then, none are without some reproof so that it is more about the way we handle it that will determine the final outcome than the question of quantity of reproofs received. If we are reproved but once we are subject to the responsibility of dealing with that reproof.
Perhaps the reason that reproof is such a hard pill to swallow is because it tends to attack that area of our life that we esteem most highly; pride.
In short, the question is do we handle the reproof that comes into our lives with the spirit of obstinacy and incorrigibility which paths the way to destruction or do we embrace reproof that comes are way whether in work or home or in church with a spirit of surrender and learning?
If we search history, we should find that her pages are basted with accounts of warnings and reproofs that went unheeded and led to destruction. But one thing is certain; if we continue to drop a deaf ear to reprove we can count arriving at a point beyond healing.
Dribble from the pen