We will next consider just a few verses in chapter 9. The truth they declare is so evident in world society today.
Proverbs 9:7–10 “He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.”
I remind you that the context of this passage is a teaching about wisdom. In that regard I think it is important to look at the truth of verse 10 first—“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom….” Solomon is clear in declaring that the wisdom about which he is teaching is rooted in a holy reverence for YHWH, the self-existent, eternal God. He is the one and only God, the Creator of all we call our reality.
Isaiah 45:5 “I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me….”
Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
Isaiah 45:22 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
With that foundational truth, we can now rightly identify the “scorner,” the mocker. Those who choose to reprove or correct a scorner of wisdom, will only be shamed and insulted for their efforts. There are very vivid examples of this truth in the professing church today as we witness so many who claim Jesus as Savior very boldly distort the truth of God’s word to fit their own agendas and belittle those who stand firmly to the truth as declared in scripture.
Those who choose to rebuke the wicked/ungodly/immoral person can expect to be vilified and abused. It seems that cultures throughout the world today declare this truth.
It seems to me that the Spirit is saying through Solomon that your words of rebuke against a mocker are wasted. However, if you point out to a wise person the error of his/her ways, he/she will treasure you as a friend.
It is obvious to me that pride is again the issue. Those who are self-righteous and hard of heart are not able to receive rebuke because they are not willing. They have set themselves against God and the truth He declares; they have no fear of God.
When the wise person receives rebuke or teaching from the truth of God’s word, his heart is receptive because he “fears” God. His desire is to honor God in what he says and does. His initial response might be one of surprise and dismay, or it might be one of relief to finally be held accountable. He/she will truly appreciate the one through whom God shares His wisdom, His truth. I might also say that we should follow the LORD’s example when rebuking one another; it should be done in love.
Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten….”
When talking to the grandchildren, I often remind them that we only discipline them because we love them; we care about the kind of person they will grow to be. We should only rebuke or chasten one another in love with a heart to produce good in the one being rebuked.
1 John 4:7 & 11 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
Paul adds that our rebuke should be done from a heart of goodness and patience.
Romans 15:14 “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”
2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”
To fear the LORD is to know the LORD. To know the LORD is to discover the truth about Him as revealed to us through His Son, His Word, and His Creation. To deny that revelation only positions one as a fool and leaves you with no excuse on the day of judgment.
Hebrews 1:1–2 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son….”
2 Timothy 3:16–17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Psalms 19:1–3 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.”
Romans 1:19–20 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
Psalms 14:1 “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
Proverbs 14:16 “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.”