Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 1:23
"Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you"
This little proverb tucked near the end of the first chapter could be considered the key to the whole book of Proverbs. God is alive and will have conversations with you throughout your life when you wander off the path of life. He will converse with you through the difficulties, problems, obstacles, rebukes, and turmoil of your life. He wants to show you that He loves you by caring enough to discipline you. He desperately wants you to listen so that you will not ride the picket fence of difficulties that He has placed on the boundaries of acceptable behaviors. We want to call Him unloving because these rebukes are there. He wants us to know that He placed them there because He loves us.
This verse opened my eyes to what life is really all about and how it works. This verse is so important to living a blessed life. You will mess up. You will make mistakes. God will rebuke you, but His rebuke is an evidence of His love; and if you respond correctly, then even this rebuke will be a wonderful blessing.
This is the Hebrew word tokeha, which means reproof or rebuke. What is clear from this section of Proverbs and from the Scriptures is that God has built the universe to respond to a certain way of living. If you do not live that way, then you will receive regular shocks or rebukes or "red flags" which are trying to warn you to stop and go in a different direction and try something else. God's rebukes – which are designed for our benefit – come from all different places. It could be the circumstances; it could be finances; it could be authorities; it could be colleagues; it could be internally either emotionally or physically.
The consistent testimony of the Scriptures is that God is still in the business of telling people when they are moving beyond His will for them. We have, however, turned a deaf ear to His reproofs and then proclaim that He doesn't send any.
He rebukes us with a lack of money. He rebukes us with a failed relationship. He rebukes us with guilt. He rebukes us with a deal that falls apart. He rebukes us with a troubled spot in our marriage. He rebukes us with a child that begins to rebel. Each of these rebukes is designed to get our attention and cause us to stop and examine why this thing has happened.
We have embraced a naturalistic-chance universe and, therefore, are unable to see or understand His rebukes. We do not connect the difficulties that we are having with any type of lesson the Lord may be teaching.
It is true that some in the past went overboard with this way of thinking and have seen a message from God in every fallen leaf or bark of a dog. This is ridiculous, but it is naive to deny a larger message and issue behind some of the difficulties and problems we are facing.
At times we might call these the natural consequences of our actions, but they are a part of God's rebuke. If one person doesn't want to be your friend, then it may just not have worked out; but if no one wants to be your friend, then it might be you need to learn something about how to make friends.
turn into my rebuke
Listen to what God is saying. These four words are so important and crucial to living a great life. God orders us to do the very thing that we don't want to do. When something difficult is happening, we naturally want to get away from it. But when we had some part of the cause, then we should turn into it and learn from it.
How often have we seen the teenager who is not listening to the reprimand from their parents. They are turning their head or refusing to listen. They want to do what they want to do, and they don't want anyone to tell them they shouldn't or that bad things will happen to them if they don't stop.
We are just like this. It is, however, absolutely crucial that you and I listen to God when He is rebuking us. What is He saying we should do different? What is He saying we should stop doing? What is He saying that we should learn?
I have watched so many people who have rebelled from this wise advice. They destroy their first marriage and blame their spouse, and then begin the same patterns and behaviors in their second marriage. They have been repeatedly fired from jobs, always blaming the boss for the firing and never listening to why they got fired or changing their behavior. They have been overbearing with their children, driving them away; and then at a moment of tenderness in their grown children's life, they again are overbearing and condemning. They rebel from their parents, not wanting anyone to tell them how they should live; and then they continue this pattern of selfish independence in their jobs, marriages, and friendships.
God promises that if you would be willing to listen to what He wants to teach through all these rebukes, He would pour out His Spirit on you. This is such a wonderful promise and so powerfully true. When the alcoholic finally stops, hits bottom, and faces the wound they have been running from and the drink they been using to hide, they receive a new level of God's Spirit to walk in wisdom and wholeness. When the teen stops being so selfish and rebellious and listens to the things that their parents are saying, then God will give a new measure of His Spirit to understand how to embrace that information.
This verse is very New Testament in its promise of a pouring out of the Spirit of the Living God. God will pour out His Spirit on any true seeker and will guide them into a great level of connection and love. God wants to pour out a new measure of His Spirit on those who already have a relationship with Him but are in need of more help in one of the areas of life.