by Rev Jason Phua
Readings: Acts 7:1-29; Proverbs 9:7-8
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Proverbs 9:7-8 “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.”
The book of Proverbs provide practical wisdom to daily living. Proverbs are also called “general truths” where spoken proverbs are generally true in most situations but there will be exceptions. Proverbs 9:7-8 is found in the midst of how “Wisdom” (personified as a “she”) is inviting people to come in to her house to gain insights. This is contrasted to “Folly”, also personified as a lady, who also invites (or rather seduces) people into her house. Those who are seduced by the seemingly “sweet” stolen water of “Folly” will find themselves deep in death and destruction; while those who follow “Wisdom” shall be blessed.
Hence, Proverbs 9:7-8 is a practical piece of advice that flowed from “Wisdom”; where it is said that to rebuke scoffers (or mockers) will only invite insult or even injury. However, the wise will learn even more when rebuked. On hindsight, we know that in Acts 7, Stephen’s proclamation of the Gospel (as well as a firm rebuke in verses 49-53) fell on foolish hearts. The result was that they stoned a faithful servant of the Lord to death. Ironically, the foolish ones didn’t realize that they have also stoned their own hearts to death in the face of truth.
I believe many of us can relate to Proverbs 9:7-8. We could have rebuked someone and dependent on the person’s wisdom or foolishness; they either learn in humility or reject the truth or even insult due to pride and foolishness. Today, I reflect on myself. Have I been constantly seduced by Folly or rather follow Wisdom when it comes to being rebuked by others? I can recall that there are once or twice where I could have reacted better in the face of rebuke. Even if I feel that the rebuke could have been given in a more godly manner; I can definitely grow to receive the rebuke in a more God-fearing posture and love the person more.
Lord God, may You help me to reject the door of “Folly” and readily march into the house of “Wisdom”. This is so I can grow in the fear of the Lord to serve You better. Amen.