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Bible Reading: Proverbs 15.23-33

Proverbs 15.23-33
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! 24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath. 25 The Lord tears down the house of the proud     but maintains the widow's boundaries. 26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, but gracious words are pure. 27 Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live. 28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. 29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. 30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. 31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. 32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. 33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

Greetings all, and Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was terrific. In today’s section from Proverbs, we see many topics discussed. One area that jumps out in verses 31-33 is the giving and receiving of godly instruction and correction. Pride is often a large roadblock, but this should not be so. We all need instruction and correction at times, and we should be thankful when God provides it through a fellow believer.  So in addition to reading today’s 10 verses from Proverbs 15, I want to also invite you to read Exodus 18 where Moses and his father-in-law Jethro give us a clinic on what humble correction looks like.  Below is what the giving and receiving of godly instruction and correction looks like in Exodus 18.  

Jethro observed his son-in-law at work. Moses was clearly an extraordinary prophet, leader and judge. But there was a problem. Moses spent his whole day judging one dispute after another. Pending cases were backing up. Jethro could feel the mounting frustration and draining fatigue. When Moses finally took a break, Jethro asked him a clarifying question: “Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning till evening?”  Asking this question was wise and kind. Jethro didn’t jump to a conclusion based on his own perspective. He asked first.  It is important that when we seek to correct someone we ask clarifying questions.

Jethro was frank: “what you are doing is not good.” No beating around the bush. But Jethro was also gracious. Defective systems can undermine the best mission. His goal was to lift a burden.

Jethro’s goal wasn’t to undermine Moses leadership but undergird him. He observed a problem, sought to understand it, identified the core weakness, and offered a helpful solution. Note Moses’s remarkably humble response: “So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law and did all that he had said”. If God used Jethro’s correction to direct Moses to greater effectiveness, how much more should we be humbly listening for God’s direction in the correction of those he sends to us?

Jethro’s correction wasn’t just God’s provision for Moses, it was also God’s provision for the needs of thousands of people. If we pridefully resist correction, we are likely plugging up a channel of grace to others. Correction is a form of the Lord’s discipline. And Proverbs 12.1 says, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”

May the Lord help us to love knowledge this New Year!

Memory Verse: There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14.12