Proverbs 17:10

A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.


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You need a WQ test. Forget IQ, it often has an inverse relationship to WQ. Solomon, the wisest man ever, was significantly over the top of every IQ scale. He could sit and talk for hours about any subject to the world’s smartest men (I Kgs 4:29-34). But he had no regard for intelligence in comparison to wisdom. Wisdom is far more important. He wrote this simple comparison to measure your wisdom: how well do you take reproof?

Intelligence is the ability to put the yellow blocks in the yellow buckets without too many mistakes before it is time for graham crackers and milk. Wisdom is the ability to please both God and men in the daily unique moral situations you have never faced before. Wisdom excels intelligence as light excels darkness. Wise men are great men. Are you ready? This is a timed test. In just ten minutes your wisdom quotient will be revealed!

God has no respect for human intelligence. He has chosen men of low intelligence to be His children, so He can crush the pride of intellectuals (I Cor 1:26-29). He laughs and mocks man’s so-called intelligence (I Cor 1:19-20; 3:18-20). He knows it was the most intelligent men in Israel who crucified His Son, and He knows it is the most intelligent men in America who think their ancestors were monkeys and the NEA is not a WMD.

What do you do when you are rebuked? Men with intelligence get irritated and justify themselves with scores from past games with yellow blocks. Men without intelligence just stare with a glassy look in their eyes, wondering when they can get back to ESPN and their video games. Wise men, regardless of intelligence, take it to heart, meekly submit to the correction, purpose to change immediately, and love the one rebuking them.

Since all men arrive in this world totally helpless and ignorant, and their lives only span 70 years on average, here is the factor that indicates the greatest potential for greatness. Development and progress of a man in his short lifetime requires frequent and significant change. Change requires correction and instruction. Men marked for greatness love to be told they are wrong and quickly grasp the opportunity for advancement and refinement.

How well do you take reproof? Do you only have to be told once you are doing something wrong to change your conduct? Or do you need to be told repeatedly? Or do a hundred stripes of punishment from men and God only harden you? This is the acid test of wisdom. How well do you take reproof? A wise man is improved by a single reproof, but a fool does not change, even with devastating punishment. A fool’s arrogance and stubbornness are so great, he cannot and will not learn. Where are you on the WQ scale?

“A word to the wise” is a weak American expression similar to this proverb. A wise man only needs a single correction or reproof to learn and change his behavior. A fool resists, rebels, and rejects correction and reproof. He bristles defensively when you tell him he is wrong – either in heart, face, body language, or words. He has no heart for wisdom.

Of course, the fool never has a wise answer for his errors; he just does not like being told he is wrong. That is why he is a fool. Though God, or men, or both, give him a hundred stripes, he continues on in stubborn rebellion. He is too smart to be wise – he is a fool. Nobody is going to correct him. He is beyond help or hope (Pr 27:22).

Children, agreeing and obeying when your parents tell you to do something you are already willing to do only proves cooperation or selfishness. It is when your parents say you are wrong and you need to change something dear to you that you can prove your wisdom. It is then your potential for greatness is clearly seen. How much do you have?

Christian reader, saying “Amen” when a pastor preaches something you already believe proves nothing. Sending a link or outline of an agreeable sermon to others proves nothing. For it is submitting to a reproof – a censure, rebuke, or reprimand – that proves wisdom. The blessed God sent His pastors for the work of reproof and correction (II Tim 3:16-17). Wise men will love both the reproof and the reprover (Pr 9:8; 19:25; Ps 141:5).

What a perfect WQ test! Only wise men can pass it. Fools are discovered every time. Every family has them; every church has them. No matter how much a minister belabors the point, the intelligent fool smugly sits and counts himself wise, proving himself a loser (Pr 26:12). The idiot fool daydreams of cars he saw or sports scores he read that morning.

As is common in these proverbs of Solomon, the single greatest measure of a fool or wise man is his ability to receive and follow instruction. Reader, you must ask yourself soberly in the sight of God, How well do I receive rebukes from parents, pastors, and counselors? It is imperative for you to find your WQ and improve it today by taking reproofs well.

God perfected wisdom in His children, regardless of age or intelligence. The childlike faith commended by Jesus Christ is the simple confidence that God’s Word and God’s representatives – whether parent, pastor, or other – are to be obeyed. This wise rule for greatness summarizes learning simply – God said it; I believe it; that settles it!

Wisdom is freely offered. All you must do is come in out of the cold and take it (Pr 9:1-6). It is received by rejecting your own thoughts, and those of other fools, to humbly be corrected, rebuked, and reproved by God and His Word. Rebellion is like witchcraft, and stubbornness is like idolatry, to God, and the consequences are terrible (I Sam 15:23).

The final measure of wisdom and folly is how you receive the Person and reproofs of the Lord Jesus Christ. He recognized that His Father had hid true wisdom from the intelligent men of this world in order to reveal it to His chosen babes (Matt 11:25-27). It is your wisdom this day to humble yourself before the Lord Jesus Christ and own Him as your Lord and King, which is proven by your eagerness to receive His reproofs (Rev 3:19).