Proverbs 15:31

The Hearing Ear


1. Vs. 30-33 all speak about wisdom and how it is obtained.

2. It comes through reproof, instruction, and the fear of the Lord.

3. We might do well as believers to think of this concept of hearing reproof as not only reproof from men… but especially reproof from God—which He gives us through His Word and His people continually.

4. We all need ears that hear.

31a The ear that heareth the reproof of life

A. Reproof of Life

1. Reproof Defined:

a. Strong’s: rebuke, correction; reproof; punishment; chastisement.

b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: the infliction of a just penalty, often with emotional or physical pain (Ps 149:7).

c. Complete Word Study: The primary thrust of this word is that of correcting some wrong.

2. Its Usage

a. It is employed to express the concept of rebuking.

b. For correction
→ Prov. 15:10 – reproof is used as a synonym for correction in this passage.
→ God corrects our behavior as a Father corrects His son.
→ Ps. 73:14 – chastened every morning…
» Chastened = reproof
» Why? Because his attitude was wrong.
» He needed to be rebuked not for anything that he DID, but for the way he was THINKING…

c. The argument of a claim – Job 13:6 – reasoning = reproof

B. Reproofs of Life

1. Solomon states here that reproofs are PART of life… a big part of life. The psalmist was chastened every morning!

2. Everyone is reproved… not everyone responds well to it…

3. Life involves growing up and maturing… and there will be precious little growth or maturity without reproof.

4. If our lives were perfect, we wouldn’t need reproof.

a. But because we are NOT perfect… and are NOT complete/mature/full grown… therefore we NEED to be reproved.

5. Heb. 12:5-6 – Our whole lives as Christians are characterized by reproofs and rebukes.

a. Vs. 6- it comes from a loving Father.
• He chastens and reproves EVERY son… no exceptions.
• A Father demonstrates His love by CONTINUAL reproof…
• God is never satisfied with our progress until we are perfectly like His Son. And we should never be satisfied either.
• We should DESIRE to be like Christ… and thus be THANKFUL when reproved…
• However, we are rarely thankful at the time. It hurts. But afterward, we should learn to be grateful.

b. Vs. 5 – Don’t faint or get discouraged. This is part of life.
• Rebuked = present passive—the chastening or rebuke is ONGOING… it is a continual part of life…
• Get used to it. In this life, God will NEVER stop reproving our behavior, attitudes, deeds, etc… because He will never stop loving us!
• Here we are told not to FAINT… don’t grow weary of it because it never seems to stop. That’s what life is like!
• And when a young child leaves home, he may think reproofs have ended.
» Finally! No more being rebuked and reproved by my parents! My days of reproof are over!
» Not so. He will be receiving reproofs in college, and then at his job, and even in the local church—and from the Lord through the Word of God for the rest of his days!
• The reproofs of life are the reproofs that are ongoing throughout our entire lives till glory.
• Don’t get weary of them and don’t ever quit listening!
• Why do you suppose we are told not to get weary? Because we DO get weary and tired of being told this is wrong… that is not the best way to do that… your attitude needs correction here and there…
• Kids get tired of their parents continually reproving them.
• Christians can get tired of our heavenly Father continually reproving us.
• But the wisdom from God is easily entreated.
• Wisdom and maturity accept the fact that reproof is a normal part of life.
• They learn to accept it, submit to it, deal with it, grow through it, and be thankful for it! (It was GOOD for me that I have been afflicted!)

C. Hearing

1. Hear Defined:

a. To hear; listen to; obey; hearken.

b. Listen; take heed; pay attention.

c. There are three aspects to this concept of hearing:
• Hear with the ear
• Pay attention
• And then to obey

2. It takes HUMILITY to hear reproof.

a. Pride rejects it… hates to be told what to do… thinks it knows better… and lets it go in one ear and out the other.

b. Pride likes to cover up one’s faults… pretend they aren’t there… or aren’t so bad… refuses to discuss them…

c. He puts a shield around all his faults… thus shielding his worst enemies!

d. But the humble person realizes that he has faults… he realizes that his faults need to be exposed and dealt with.

e. He realizes that he has a lot to learn… swallows his pride, and LISTENS…

3. Prov. 1:23 – When God’s wisdom speaks, He expects us to TURN at His rebuke! He expects us to repent… and change direction!

4. Prov.17:10 – The reproof ENTERS IN… is accepted, received, submitted to…

a. Reproof penetrates into the mind, heart, and life of the one who has hearing ears.

b. The message of the reproof sinks in. He applies it, and benefits from it.

c. The one who responds to reproof does not need to be whipped or punished. The reproof accomplishes the same task.

d. If we allow God’s Holy Spirit to gently reproof us, He may not have to severely chasten us!

e. LISTEN to reproof. It is good for us.

5. Prov. 27:6 – It is often an expression of friendship. Don’t misjudge the one rebuking! Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth. LISTEN to the friend who attempts to reprove your ways.

6. Prov. 15:12 – A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.

a. Don’t be like the scorner who HATES the one who rebukes.

b. He’s doing it for your own good. LISTEN!

31b Abideth among the wise.

A. Result: Lasting Wisdom

1. Prov. 19:25 – The one who submits to it LEARNS and grows in understanding and wisdom.

a. The message of rebuke is taken in intellectually, but it is WISDOM which moves this man to receive the lesson in the first place.

b. The hearing ear INCREASES his wisdom. (Cf. Prov. 1:5 – a wise man WILL hear and will increase learning.)

2. The man who receives reproof ABIDES among the wise.

a. He has a lasting place in their presence.

b. He becomes one OF them… one of the wise.

c. He is numbered among them.

d. Prov. 6:23 – reproofs are in the way of LIFE. Wisdom ABIDES in the way of life…

e. Wisdom settles down and gets comfortable in the place where he knows his faults will be exposed, critiqued, and dealt with.

f. The fool hates his faults exposed and dealt with. But the wise man APPRECIATES it.

g. Consider a disease that leaves his skin with infected, oozing sores.
• One man with this disease—like a fool—seeks to cover up his sores… sores that will eventually kill him. That is folly.
• Another man with the disease is WILLING to have the doctor expose his sores and deal with them. If dealt with soon, they can be taken care of… and health will return!
• In a sense, this is the folly and wisdom of our response to reproof.

3. Note the main emphasis here: it is the nature and character of wisdom is RECEIVING instruction and reproof.

a. Wisdom is described here as a WILLINGNESS to receive and a WILLINGNESS to learn… and a WILLINGNESS to change.
• It is a TEACHABLE spirit…
• David had this kind of wisdom! (Ps. 141:5)

b. Psa. 119:67 – It was GOOD for me that I have been afflicted!
• The psalmist was GLAD for his affliction… which he took as a reproof from the Lord to LEARN a lesson he wasn’t learning otherwise!

c. The wisdom from above is EASY to be entreated. (Jas. 3:17) That is the one with a hearing ear.

d. Prov. 25:12 – As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
• The “hearing ear” is described as an “obedient ear” here.
• The reprover is likened to a golden earring.
• An ear isn’t all that beautiful all by itself, but its beauty is greatly enhanced by a golden earring.
• Thus, the beauty of a hearing or obedient ear is greatly enhanced by LISTENING TO and OBEYING reproof!
• That’s a beautiful person! Being easily entreated… listening to, obeying, and appreciating reproof makes a person beautiful… a beautiful character quality.
• The one who KNOWS this and believes it is more likely to PRACTICE it. And when he does practice it, he is WISE. His wisdom is his beauty.
• This kind of wisdom (listening to advice and reproof) is early likened to the beauty of a necklace…

B. Fools Reject Reproof

1. Prov.1:25, 30 – Ye would none of my reproof.

2. Prov. 12:1 – Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.

3. Prov. 13:18 – Poverty and shame comes to the one who rejects reproof… and defiantly chooses to do it his way!

4. Ecc. 7:5 – fools prefer other fools to sing them happy songs and either wink at or encourage their faults, rather than to hear the reproof of the wise.