He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. — Proverbs 10:17
Our two-year-old daughter can be charming, sweet, and intelligent. And that’s not only a parent’s assessment — others comment from time to time that she seems like the perfect child. However, what most people are not aware of is that at home, our daughter can become a different girl altogether! While shy and quiet at church and around people she does not know well, at home she is often loud, rambunctious, and sometimes demanding. Like any toddler, she needs to be corrected quite often. In fact, her time-out chair might be the most used chair in our house!
Nevertheless, when my husband or I correct her, she is very contrite. She may have just yelled, “No!” and run the other direction in defiance, but after a few minutes in time out and a quiet discussion about what she did wrong, she sincerely apologizes and gives us a kiss. She is easily entreated after correction, and that eases the sometimes painful job of disciplining her.
As God’s children, on occasion our Father finds it necessary to correct or chastise us. When the Lord deals with us, are we as easily entreated and as accepting of His admonishment as a young child? Do we sincerely regret our mistakes and humbly ask forgiveness? Do we offer our love and devotion after we have been chastised?
In today’s focus verse, Solomon said, “He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.” If we accept correction and apply it to our lives, God will ultimately bring us to eternal life. When Jesus was on earth, He indicated this by saying that His followers must become as little children if they were to inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Perhaps in part He was referencing the way a child responds to discipline.
As adults, it is not easy to admit we are wrong or to realize we need to improve in a particular area. However, the Lord can help us respond in the right way. If we continue to heed His correction, we will mature spiritually, and ultimately gain eternal life in Heaven.
Chapter 10 begins a new section of Proverbs. In contrast to the first nine chapters of the book, which contain exhortations of various lengths with the theme of seeking wisdom and avoiding folly, most of Proverbs 10:1 through 22:16 consists of verses that stand alone. Each verse is a terse saying imparting common sense and spiritual wisdom for everyday matters. These maxims were composed by Solomon and are thought to be the portion of the book that was written first. In chapters 10-15, most of the proverbs show a contrast between people who are righteous and those who are wicked.
The rich metaphors throughout both chapters reinforce the truth of these observations. Several of the metaphors are humorous, such as Proverbs 10:26 and 11:22. In Solomon’s day, ladies often wore large nose rings, which were considered beautiful ornamentation. Not all verses use metaphors, however. In verse 4 of chapter 11, the “day of wrath” refers to the judgment of God which comes to the unrighteous after death.
Most of the verses in this passage are two-part antithetical observations (see below), with the two sections connected by the conjunction “but.” The major distinction of a Hebrew proverb is that it consists of two segments rather than only one. Hebrew poetry was not based on rhyme or rhythm, but on the relationship of the two segments (called parallelism). Below are examples of the various types of parallelism found in these chapters.
Synonymous: the second portion repeats the thought of the first with different words. (Example: “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself” — Proverbs 11:25.)
Antithetical: the second portion states the same principle of the first, only from the opposite perspective. (Example: “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight” — Proverbs 11:1.)
Synthetic: the second phrase augments and expands the meaning of the first. (Example: “He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool” — Proverbs 10:18.)
Comparative: the second phrase draws a comparison between some basic, ethical, or theological truth and some illustration, often nature. (Example: “As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation” — Proverbs 10:25.)
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
III. The sayings of the way of wisdom
A. The 375 proverbs of Solomon
1. The contrast of wisdom and folly in life (10:1 — 15:33)
If we allow ourselves to be humbly corrected and guided by God, we will find ourselves walking the path of righteousness and enjoying the benefits that come with it!