As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.
You can make fine jewelry – two ways. This jewelry exceeds anything sold in stores. God perpetuates His truth and wisdom by those who teach it and those who obey it. Are you good at both? It is a beautiful thing for a wise man to teach an obedient hearer.
It takes two to fight. It takes two to tango. Human relations require at least two people. For God’s rare truth and wisdom to remain in the earth, there must be a teacher and a follower. Are you good at both? Do you obey God’s truth fully? Do you teach it well?
It takes two to make fine jewelry. If a wise reprover corrects and instructs a submissive hearer, a beautiful combination occurs that spreads truth and increases wisdom. Do you see the beauty? Do you comprehend the power? Are you a good hearer and teacher?
You have opportunities to be an obedient hearer, like reading and practicing this and other proverb commentaries. This is the first half of making beautiful gold jewelry. You also have opportunities to be a wise reprover, like sharing this and other proverb commentaries with other persons. This is the second half of making beautiful jewelry.
Do you rejoice at the thought of perpetuating God’s truth and wisdom in the world? You should! What a privilege! You first must be an obedient hearer, so you can acquire the truth and wisdom of God to convey to others. Then you need to apply yourself to be able to teach and defend them from God’s word (Pr 22:17-21; Heb 5:12-14; I Pet 3:15).
Think about the effort, expense, emphasis, and honors placed on learning man’s wisdom at universities. Think about it! Only lies and folly are taught at universities in all matters of morality, origins, philosophy, etc. Think about the effort and years to get a Ph.D., so you can be foolish and ignorant enough to believe evolution, global warming, same sex marriage, corporal and capital punishment do not work, deficit spending does work, etc.
Fathers have the fabulous opportunity to teach children God’s truth and wisdom, and God sends those children to fathers as infants with blank slates and obedient ears. Fathers are encouraged to think of four generations they can affect (Ps 78:1-8; Joel 1:1-3; Deut 4:9; Job 42:16; Ps 34:11; Is 38:19). Beautiful! Fathers could change the world, but most have not even learned God’s truth and wisdom to convey to their children, and most cannot think or invest past sending their children to a university to become fools. Terrible!
A simile compares two things by “as” or “like.” A wise reprover giving correction to a submissive hearer is like a gold earring or piece of decorative gold jewelry. Gold earrings are beautiful, and so are other pieces of jewelry made of fine gold. Likewise, a careful reprover speaking faithfully and kindly to an obedient hearer is also a beautiful thing.
A wise reprover knows how to rebuke and warn those out of the way of righteousness. He is discreet and prudent. He chooses the occasion and his words carefully. He is neither too harsh nor too lenient. He does not enforce personal preferences, but he does apply and defend the Word of God. He approaches the encounter with humility and affection, truly desiring the best for the hearer (Lev 19:17; Gal 6:1-3; I Thess 5:14; II Tim 2:24-26).
An obedient ear is a submissive and ready hearer – ear being synecdoche for a person who hears obediently with their ears. As the noble Bereans, these gladly receive reproof and instruction with ready minds (Acts 17:11). As Cornelius, they want to know what they should do to please God and men (Acts 10:33). They are exceptional persons in that they appreciate the value of rebukes and instruction (Pr 1:5; 9:9; 12:1; 27:5-6; Ps 141:5).
Nathan the prophet and David the king were beautiful. David was guilty of aggravated adultery and murder. Nathan, an inspired wise reprover, came discreetly with a sad and provoking story of cruel oppression by a rich man over a poor man. David, an obedient ear, was righteously indignant at the cruelty and confessed his own sin (II Sam 12:1-14).
The Day of Pentecost was beautiful. Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, was a wise reprover indeed, as he rebuked the Jews for crucifying the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:14-36). Three thousand hearers, pricked in their hearts by this glorious message, were obedient ears indeed, as they immediately wanted to know how to repent (Acts 2:37-41).
Elihu is one of the greatest reprovers ever. The Bible book of Job tells how God sent terrible calamities on Job to test him. Job and his three friends, four old men that were the wisest men on earth, got into a terrible debate that misapplied truth and wisdom and showed no humility or compassion. The young man Elihu set them all straight in Job chapters 32-37. Every young man should memorize Job 32 for its courage and wisdom.
Wise reprovers are often frustrated by disobedient ears. There is no beauty when haughty, stubborn, or rebellious hearers reject wise and skilled reprovers. Though they approach the offender with care and love, they are rebuffed and hated for daring to correct them (Pr 9:7-8; 23:9; 29:1; Matt 7:6). Jesus Christ, always a wise reprover, was rejected by His hometown, in spite of being overwhelmingly gracious (Luke 4:14-30).
Obedient ears are often frustrated by foolish and lazy reprovers. Sometimes the reproof is poorly given, so the hearers are offended (I Kgs 12:1-19). Other times the reproof is not given at all, so the needy hearers, craving correction and instruction in righteousness, go their way without any help (Jer 23:22; Ezek 33:7-9; Matt 9:37-38). This is terribly true today, when effeminate pastors smiling like politicians never tell them anything of value.
Faithful pastors have labored hard with little fruit due to stubborn and rebellious hearers – disobedient ears that refuse to obey (Jer 25:4; 29:19; Ezek 33:30-33). The blood of the hearers will be on their own heads. Submissive hearers have starved due to foolish and lazy pastors (Jer 23:25-32; I Tim 4:16). The hearers’ blood will be on the pastors’ heads.
Are you good at both? Are you both a wise reprover and submissive hearer? You must be both to please God and men and fulfill a godly destiny. Wisdom is measured by the ability to receive a rebuke or warning and learn from it (Pr 1:5; 2:1-5; 5:1-2; 8:33-36; 15:5,31-32; 22:17). But wisdom is also measured by the ability to give a reproof or instruction to those needing it (Pr 24:26; 25:11; Ro 15:1; Gal 6:1; Ep 4:29; Heb 5:12-14).
Are you a piece of fine gold in God’s sight and in the sight of good persons? Or are you dross in His sight, which is the impurities removed from gold or silver by refining? Take heed how you hear and speak. You will give an account for the truth and wisdom you have heard and the truth and wisdom you have given to others. You have been warned.
The churches of Jesus Christ are the most beautiful ornaments and things in the universe. There you will find a group of God’s children committed together to help one another be obedient hearers. There you will find men that God chose and Jesus charged to faithfully and fully preach His gospel. See the gathered hearers and ordained reprovers. Beautiful!
The combination, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, is gloriously beautiful and powerfully life-changing. Each church is the pillar and ground of the truth until Jesus Christ returns to burn up and destroy this wicked world and all ungodly men (I Tim 3:15). If you are foolishly not part of a true Bible-preaching church, you have chosen to be neither an obedient hearer nor a wise reprover. You are a loser today and in a day fast approaching.