Embracing Rebuke

Proverbs 1:28-30 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will earnestly seek me, but will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD. They accepted none of my counsel; they despised all my reproof.”

It seems to me that very few people enjoy being rebuked. You’ve probably seen it before or experienced it yourself–it starts with taking a strong position with little knowledge or understanding and then someone comes along who has far more experience or training and informs you otherwise.

It can be hard to admit that your wrong, it takes a certain measure of humility to swallow your pride and accept a reality that you probably were wrong.

It seems that many people struggle with admitting a mistake because they are either too afraid to be wrong or simply because of pride. The difficulty of being overly concerned with how people perceive you can limit your ability to grow. If we get so concerned with looking silly before others we might end up going down a path of foolishness that could bring far more trouble.

Being rebuked can be an opportunity for God to make straight our paths. If pride gets in the way of God’s correction, the lack of wisdom in listening will lead to a dead end road of hopelessness.

There was a babylonian king who experienced this the hard way.

King Nebuchadnezzar

Daniel 4:28-33 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

The Great Fall

When the Lord brings rebuke, He is rebuking man’s position of pride. When people walk in an elevated position of personal accomplishment, they neglect recognizing God’s hand in their life. Pride attempts to place mankind into a position that only God deserves to hold. Pride becomes a personal affront to His honor and glory and His name is blasphemed in sin.

Proverbs 29:23  "A man's pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor."

It shouldn’t be a surprise when the Lord brings a rebuke. It’s not like God feels threatened by a person’s pride, it is out of love in knowing that pride leads to personal destruction.

The Lord rebukes us because He loves us.

Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.”

When people attempt to establish a position that elevates man, they place themselves in a position to fall, it is unsustainable. They don’t have the power, authority, or knowledge to maintain such a position and ultimately it ruins those around them.

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

People are often humbled when they exalt themselves into a position they don’t deserve. It doesn’t take long for the world to try and knock others down from that perch.

Jealousy comes into play when others see you in a place that they feel you don’t deserve. When we exalt ourselves, we confront everyone else’s pride as well. We essentially make a statement that says, “I’m better than you”. Needless to say, this doesn’t go over well in a public setting.

Becoming Thankful

Psalm 138:6 “Though the LORD is on high, He attends to the lowly; but the proud He knows from afar.”

You see, when we place ourselves in a place of humility, it is the Lord who lifts us up. When the Lord does the lifting, then comes great honor.

Because of God’s high position, we can trust Him as He leads us. Believers associate with God’s Son, and it is His work in them that brings reward now and to come. It is by submitting to His authority that we see the faithful entering into His presence.

Isaiah 57:15 “For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

When the Lord lifts up, not only does honor come but so does healing. He restores His people into a position that they were originally meant to be in, a position that He ordained and will once again perfect.

Learning to embrace rebuke is a sign of true wisdom. Embrace it because it is correction and if the Lord didn’t correct, He wouldn’t love us. We can have hope that with each correction, He is leading us closer and closer to what He intended for us all along…Him!

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