Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Take Your Medicine (Proverbs 12:1; 15:5, 10; 29:1)

"Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid" (Prov. 12:1).

One of the most famous rebukes in Scripture is Nathan’s subtle but powerful reprimand concerning David’s murderous affair with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 12). Nathan’s rebuke took the form of a story about a stolen lamb. The story, of course, infuriated David, and, condemning himself, he ordered that the thief be brought to justice. Then the hammer fell. Nathan looked David in the eye and said, “You are the man!” At that point David had two choices. He could have denied it, either by lashing out at Nathan or remaining silent, or he could have admitted his guilt. He chose the latter. David took the path of humility and confessed his crime.

How do you act when someone rebukes you for something you have said or done? While we wish it weren’t true, more often than not, we respond to rebuke and confrontation, not with humble submission, but with defiance or biting sarcasm. Our pride keeps us unteachable—especially when it comes to discipline and rebuke. Yet, these are two of the most common ways God teaches us. Many a lesson is learned along the path of discipline. In fact, instruction often means discipline in Scripture, such as in Proverbs 12:1.

God disciplines and rebukes us through people and circumstances because He knows this is necessary to humble us. But so often we refuse to listen. “That irritable pride, that hates reproof, as if it were an affront to be told of our faults, argues not only want of grace, but want of understanding—brutish folly,” Bridges writes, “ ‘like the horse, which bites and kicks at the man, who performs a painful operation upon him; though absolutely necessary for removing a dangerous distemper. He is surely a brute, and not a rational creature, who has swallowed poison, and will rather suffer it to take its course, than admit the necessary relief of medicine, lest he should be obliged to confess his folly in exposing himself to the need of it.’ O for a teachable spirit to ‘sit at the feet of our Divine Master,’ and learn of Him!”

Would you rather die of an illness than take the medicine necessary for its cure? The next time someone rebukes you, or Providence disciplines you, suppress the urge to defend yourself, admit that you need the medicine, and submit to God’s instruction.

How do you respond when something bad happens to you—an illness, loss of property, etc.? How do you respond when someone tries to correct you? When was the last time you admitted that you were wrong? Think seriously about how you respond to God’s discipline. If you are unteachable, confess it to God.