Warnings and Instructions
Proverbs 29; I die daily devotional.
1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
The immediate reaction to this verse is… “TO ARMS!“ right, because naturally our internal defenses go up in preparation for war. Who enjoys being told that they’re being stubborn, especially when they already know it? If we do enjoy it, then I would say that we might be beyond broken, and are in need of the spiritual hands of a Surgeon. How do we react to the thought of God using His holy Word to expose what we need to repent of?
If I’m honest, the sin that is present with me is alerted by forces of evil that invade my thoughts, whispering dark ideas of narcissism: “Close the hearing of my ears.” “Ignore the egotism that so desperately desires my subjection and allegiance.” “The intent is my humiliation once conceded; don’t give in, don’t back up, head up, back straight.” “I’m right, God is wrong.” “I’m justified” “‘But God is goo‘—” “That’s a lie”. The enemy is hard at work to keep me from the truth about being reconciled to God. Our spiritual war is real whether the world has convinced itself of the lie or not. (Let me ask you, reader. Do you sense any stubbornness by me [Nathan] in this post? ).
It is okay to acknowledge the potential of unaware elements to stubborness in our conversations even if our intent is not at all to be stubborn, or to harden our necks even if our motive is not to win the arguments. Ask someone that knows you—and knows you well (or even not well)—whether you’re being stubborn about something (anything), and just listen. They might even have fun with it; attempting to get a rise out of you, but let them try; practice balancing your emotions to accept the spiritual reproof—that’s the key—because it’s not about the person reproving you, it’s about tuning into the Holy Spirit of God at work in you. I’m not saying not to be truthful about how you will feel during this exercise, quite the opposite actually, be honest about what you’re feeling; be willing to accept time to revisit the necessary conflict for more practice at psychological development, but more importantly, resolution for a more intimate connection with God. Remember this verse when in conflict:
Ephesians 4:26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
- Is God good?
- Is God your heavenly Father?
- Is God love?
- Does God love you?
Proverbs 29 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org
1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. 2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan. 3 A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth. 4 The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it. 5 A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps. 6 By transgression an evil man is ensnared, But the righteous sings and rejoices. 7 The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern. 8 Scorners set a city aflame, But wise men turn away anger. 9 When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. 10 Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the upright are concerned for his life. 11 A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. 12 If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked. 13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives light to the eyes of both. 14 If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever. 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. 16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall. 17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul. 18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. 19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response. 20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 21 He who pampers his slave from childhood Will in the end find him to be a son. 22 An angry man stirs up strife, And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression. 23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor. 24 He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing. 25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. 26 Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the LORD. 27 An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.
- Here, (Prov 1—Matthew Henry)
1. The obstinacy of many wicked people in a wicked way is to be greatly lamented. They are often reproved by parents and friends, by magistrates and ministers, by the providence of God and by their own consciences, have had their sins set in order before them and fair warning given them of the consequences of them, but all in vain; they harden their necks. Perhaps they fling away, and will not so much as give the reproof a patient hearing; or, if they do, yet they go on in the sins for which they are reproved; they will not bow their necks to the yoke, but are children of Belial; they refuse reproof (ch. 10:17), despise it (ch. 5:12), hate it, ch. 12:1.
- 2. The issue of this obstinacy is to be greatly dreaded: Those that go on in sin, in spite of admonition, shall be destroyed; those that will not be reformed must expect to be ruined; if the rods answer not the end, expect the axes. They shall be suddenly destroyed, in the midst of their security, and without remedy; they have sinned against the preventing remedy, and therefore let them not expect any recovering remedy. Hell is remediless destruction. They shall be destroyed, and no healing, so the word is. If God wounds, who can heal?