He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck,
shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
1. This is a simple proverb. It doesn’t require a lot of explanation.
2. It is brief and to the point: the one who refuses to listen to reproof will be destroyed—and suddenly.
He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck,
1. Solomon is speaking about a man who has been reproved.
2. “Reproof” has been a common theme in the book of Proverbs.
3. Reproof defined: speaking words of strong disapproval designed to change behavior; the words of disapproval are often followed by threats of punishment if not followed; the correction of some wrong; rebuke; discipline.
4. Job 5:17 – God corrects His children.
a. It is to be received with thanksgiving because it is for our good.
b. HAPPY is such a man! Why? Because if something is wrong, we ought to want it to be corrected.
5. Prov. 27:6 – Believers are to reprove one another.
a. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
b. When a friend reproves a friend, it is done out of love and for the good of his friend. He doesn’t want to see his friend experience the awful consequences of his error.
c. Reproof from a friend is to be considered a great blessing: “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.” (Ps. 141:5)
d. Think of it as if, in a moment of distraction, you pulled on to the highway going the wrong way. Wouldn’t you want your passenger to reprove you… to correct you… to bring to your attention your error? The right response to reproof is “Thank you! You saved me from a tragedy!”
e. Prov. 15:5b – “He that regardeth reproof is prudent.” It is wise to regard (pay attention to and obey) reproof… especially if you were just reproved for driving onto the highway in the wrong direction! It is a sign of wisdom to respond properly to reproof.
B. Often Reproved
1. Someone who is often reproved refers to a stubborn person who has heard the reproof but did not respond properly… and therefore has to be reproved again… and again… and again.
2. The proper way to respond to reproof is to respond right away—especially if you drive on the highway in the wrong direction.
a. The one who is often reproved did not respond right away. Perhaps he thought about responding and then procrastinated.
b. Perhaps he was reproved for some error and was warned of the danger, and he avoided the danger.
3. Sometimes when we don’t see any consequences to our wrong actions right away, we assume that we will never have to pay any consequences for our wrong actions.
a. We begin to think we can sin with impunity.
b. We begin to think that we are smarter than the ones reproving us: they are just paranoid, old fuddy duds who don’t know what they’re talking about!
4. Ecc. 8:11 – “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.”
a. The heart of the fool deceives him into thinking that because he got away with his crime or sin once—that he can get away with it again… and again…
b. He hardens his heart to warnings of reproof.
5. Being “often reproved” indicates that a person has been ignoring or rebelling against the reproof.
a. Solomon had much to say about this kind of person in Proverbs.
b. Prov. 15:5a – “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction.”
c. Prov. 13:1 – “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.”
d. Prov. 13:18 – “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.”
e. Prov. 15:12 – “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.”
f. Prov. 12:1b – “he that hateth reproof is brutish.” (stupid)
g. Prov. 15:10 – “Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.” It is grievous to the one who is out of fellowship.
6. They heard many reproofs, but hardened their necks.
a. This speaks of stubborn rebellion and resistance… like an animal resisting the yoke by stiffening his neck and refusing to be yoked.
b. Nehemiah defines this expression: Neh. 9:16-17a – “But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, 17And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion…”
c. He links “hardening the neck” with “refusing to obey” and hearkening not to the commandments… and “rebellion.”
d. The stubborn heart refused to listen to friendly advice, counsel, and reproof from friends, family, and brethren. The hardened neck will soon develop into a chip on the shoulder that could last for years.
e. It is an evidence of an obstinate heart that needs to be broken—like a wild animal needs to be broken before it will submit to the yoke and become useful to the master.
7. When we stand aloof and look at these proverbs clinically, it is easy to see the folly of the one who is often rebuked but refuses to respond in faith and obedience.
a. But have we ever thought of applying this to the way God’s indwelling Spirit deals with us DAILY?
b. How many times has the Spirit of God convicted us of thoughts, words, deeds, or motives and we ignored His gentle rebuke?
c. How many times has He attempted to gently nudge us away from a particular activity or direction and we have resisted Him?
d. How many times has the Spirit gently nudged us towards some activity He wanted us to do or say or be involved in… and we refused… and knowingly grieved the Spirit of God?
e. The principles in these Proverbs apply to me and you when that is the case.
• We are fools. We are brutish – stupid.
• We are despising our Father’s will. We are grieving the Spirit… even scorning Him!
• Just because we escaped judgment for that kind of inward rebellion for 10 years doesn’t mean that there will be no consequences.
• That’s what the second part of this proverb is about.
Shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
1. Being “often rebuked” by God may mean His chastening hand – repeatedly.
a. If God’s Spirit convicts us and we don’t respond, God may reprove us with a mild form of chastening.
b. If we refuse to respond by submitting to Him, He may reprove again—perhaps with a deeper application of chastening.
c. And on and on it goes.
2. That rebel who often reproved also repeatedly refuses to respond to the many reproofs and chastening, shall suddenly be destroyed!
a. This destruction will come suddenly… quickly… out of the blue… without warning… unexpectedly.
b. It may result in a loss of life… or the loss of well being… or in 1001 other forms. God knows exactly how to get to each one of His children.
c. He knows what hurts—and reproofs by their very nature, hurt.
d. But the hurt is with a purpose: to bring repentance and submission.
3. Prov. 1:29-32 – “For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.”
a. These fools hated knowledge. They refused counsel from Lady Wisdom.
b. Therefore – the result of this action is that they will “eat the fruit of their own ways.” There are severe consequences to pay… maybe not immediately, but eventually.
c. And when the consequences come, they will come suddenly… unexpectedly.
d. The irony is that that it comes unexpectedly. It’s ironic because they SHOULD have expected it—they were warned repeatedly… but it never sunk in.
4. The destruction comes suddenly.
a. The reproofs were not sudden and instant. They occurred over a long period of time. The persons described here were no doubt reproved by their parents, their teachers, their friends, and perhaps the police department. The reproving went on for years.
b. But the destruction doesn’t take years. It can come suddenly.
c. Prov. 1:27 – It will come like a whirlwind.
d. Prov. 6:15 – “Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.”
• God is sovereign over all. It doesn’t take Him a long time to send calamity.
• The fact that it doesn’t come instantly simply means that He is gracious and longsuffering.
• But His longsuffering doesn’t last forever.
• Eventually, the shoe will drop… the chastening will come. Don’t tempt the Lord. He is omnipotent.
e. Prov. 28:18 – “Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.”
• He seems to be walking about normally without any chastening from the Lord. He seems to be walking about safely and without any repercussions to his sin.
• But out of nowhere, he falls—suddenly and without warning. It doesn’t take long to trip and fall.
5. The kind of destruction (judgment for sin) of which Solomon speaks has “no remedy.”
a. When God’s longsuffering comes to its end, there is no stopping God’s purpose. It will be accomplished in the life of the sinning son.
b. This makes the warning all the more sobering.