Regarding or Refusing Instruction
Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction
A.) Him That Refuseth Instruction
1.) Instruction: discipline; chastening; correction.
a.) This term is translated “chastening” in Job 5:17
b.) This is repeated in Prov. 3:11
c.) Chastening is child training… it is God’s method of teaching His children… instructing us… molding us…
2.) What we are NOT to do with instruction:
‣‣ Don’t REFUSE it…
• Refuse: to let go; let loose; ignore, let alone.
• This term is translated variously in the Old Testament.
• In the Pentateuch it is usually translated: to uncover; to make naked.
‣‣ It is translated in several different ways in Proverbs:
• 1:25 – set at nought all my counsel…
• 4:15 – avoid …
• Several times it is translated “refuse”—as here.
‣‣ While the term CAN mean refuse, that word might have too aggressive a connotation in English.
• It is a refusal but can be quite passive—by simply ignoring… not paying attention to…
• It can even imply one who AVOIDS instruction…
• The term is broad enough for all of those shades of meaning…
B.) Various Ways in Which Instruction is Refused
1.) The point is that refusing instruction CAN occur in an open, defiant, confrontational manner.
a.) Like the little child shouting NO, or in a much more subtle manner.
b.) Some hear instruction and argue, fight, oppose, and openly rebel against it.
c.) I Kings 12:13-15a – Here Rehoboam refused the counsel of the older, wiser men… openly, defiantly, and rebelliously.
d.) There wasn’t any question as to what his opinion of the counsel and instruction was.
‣‣ Sometimes WE defy instruction that way. Sometimes our kids do.
a.) After hearing counsel, they might say, “I will not! Don’t tell me what to do! Who do you think you are!”
b.) This kind of refusal is easy to spot—and often easy to deal with in kids.
c.) Usually the rod will drive this kind of rebellious foolishness from them.
‣‣ Poverty and shame shall be to him!
a.) Consider Rehoboam: he lost the kingdom! He was brought to shame! (I Kings 12:16)
• He was warned—but defiantly rejected the instruction.
• The nation was divided—civil war—because one man defiantly refused to listen to instruction.
• This is the point of the proverb: terrible things can happen when we reject counsel!
b.) Prov. 5:9-13 – the man who defiantly refused to listen to instruction concerning purity. He pursued immorality and fornication—and was brought to shame… and lost his wealth… ended up poor and disgraced. That happens every day.
c.) Prov. 6:26 – Lady Wisdom was crying out—but this young fool rejected her counsel and pursued immorality—and was reduced to a piece of bread!
i. The context indicates that it was not just the immorality that is to blame—but the rejection of the counsel!
ii. This goes for young men and young women.
iii. When teenagers get pregnant—they bring shame to themselves immediately…
iv. AND they are often condemning themselves to a life of poverty…
b.) Ask any number of teenage mothers—who find themselves irretrievably TRAPPED in poverty, welfare—unable to go to college… unable to find a moral young man who is looking for a faithful wife and mother of his children…
c.) Shame will set in… but it’s too late to reverse history then.
d.) That is not always the case—but these are proverbs… USUALLY!
e.) One more good reason to remain pure.
f.) One more good reason to LISTEN to those giving counsel concerning the purity of life God expects.
3.) Other people may avoid situations where they know the possibility for correction or instruction may arise… (the Sunday school lesson is on a topic that makes you uncomfortable—so you skip Sunday school till it’s over…)
a.) I Kings 22:8 – King Ahab didn’t allow Michaiah to prophecy in his presence because he never said what the king wanted to hear! He avoided hearing that prophet altogether…
b.) Such folks don’t want to bother with instruction. He avoided hearing the instruction from this prophet—because he knew that Michaiah would tell him what he didn’t want to hear! So he avoided it altogether…
c.) They become astute at learning when and where and from whom instruction or reproof might occur—and avoid it like the plague.
d.) The person that avoids counsel and instruction will NEVER gain or benefit from it.
e.) I have counseled with couples in years gone by—during which it was discovered that the wife ended the counseling sessions and insisted on going elsewhere for counseling (for $80.00 an hour!). The reason? To avoid hearing instruction from the Word it was worth $80.00 an hour to have someone tell her what she wanted to hear!
f.) Folks will go to great lengths to avoid instruction… or correction.
g.) I Kings 22:37-38 – the king died and dogs licked his blood… he lost his royal dainties (his throne, his crown, his gold) and died in shame.
4.) Other folks will refuse instruction by PRETENDING to listen… pretending to be very interested… feigning to see its value… but then go their way and do what they were going to do anyway…
a.) These are the YES men… and women. Yes and thank you!
b.) They politely listen, and appear to hang on your every word… but INWARDLY are rebelling and refusing.
• They are hearers but not doers.
• It is exactly the same kind of rebellion; it just appears under a different mask.
• Some people have naturally meek, shy, non-aggressive, non-confrontational temperament…
• In a situation where their behavior is being confronted, they meekly listen… but inwardly are as adamantly as a rock opposed to the instruction.
c.) This kind of meekness is NOT the fruit of the Spirit—but is natural… fleshly… a cowardly meekness… the fear of man.
• True meekness is meek before God.
• This shy person appears to be meek (fear of man) but is not at all meek before God.
• This person is a rebel… but too shy or too afraid to let it show…
d.) Don’t let your kids fool you with their passive rebellion—that appears to be submissive and receptive to correction—but inwardly rebels.
• Even if they comply—check their attitude in obedience!
• Because they passively comply does not necessarily mean that they have inwardly received the instruction.
e.) Ezek. 33:31 – they sit before the prophet AS IF they wanted to be instructed, but their rebellious hearts were unchanged.
• Read about the shame and poverty that came to Ezekiel’s generation—the Babylonian Captivity!
• They lost their homes, their nation, their temple, and were carried away as defeated captives… shamed!
f.) Jer. 42:1-4 – the people came to Jeremiah for counsel… to be instructed in the things of the Lord.
• Jeremiah agreed to give them counsel from the Lord.
• Vs. 6 – they all agreed to hear and to submit to the will of the Lord whether it was good or bad!
• This appears to be a most hopeful setting—the people seem eager to hear what the Lord had to say!
• Jeremiah then reported to them the word of the Lord. The instruction they sought, they received!
• Jer. 43:1-4 – the people pretended to want instruction, but deep down inside, they had no intentions of changing.
• They simply wanted see what Jeremiah would say. If it was agreeable to them, then they would continue their charade, and pretend to be submitted to God.
• But they DIDN’T like what he had to say… and hence, they rejected the counsel and instruction.
• Lots of folks approach instruction and counsel that way.
• Their self will and rebellious spirit is temporarily MASKED by their superficial and apparent eagerness to hear instruction.
g.) This is just another FORM of refusing instruction. God sees through all of our masks. He knows the intentions of our hearts.
h.) Approaching instruction that way will lead to poverty and shame. Jeremiah and his so-called listeners ended up in poverty, famine and shame in Egypt! (Jer. 42:17)
But he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
1.) Proverbs speaks much about instruction—and tells us exactly what to DO with instruction. Consider the various verbs associated with instruction in Proverbs:
a. 1:2 – know wisdom and instruction…
b. 4:1 – hear instruction…
c. 4:13 – take fast hold of instruction…
d. 8:10 – instruction is to be received over choice gold
e. 10:17 – he that is in the way of life keepeth instruction…
f. 12:1 – we are to love instruction…
g. 23:12 – apply thine heart to instruction…
h. 23:23 – buy wisdom and instruction… and sell it not…
i. 24:32 – receive instruction… learn from it…
2.) The one who responds PROPERLY to instruction will be honored.
a.) Honor: heavy; weighty; glory; of value… as in gold…
b.) 13:13 – he will be rewarded…
• The student will be rewarded with good grades…
• The worker will be rewarded with good pay…
• The friend will be rewarded with more friendship…
c.) 13:18 – he will be honored… rather than living in shame
• He will avoid the shame of Rehoboam, those who pursue immorality, those who rejected Jeremiah’s counsel…
• He will instead receive HONOR…
• Ultimately, he will be honored at the Bema Seat…
• But even on earth—the one who follows instructions is honored.