Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 1:30
"They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof "
This proverb continues the dissecting of the reason that the person who rejects wisdom ends up with no answers and in the midst of deep trouble. Solomon here adds that those who end up in very difficult places without answers were the same ones who rejected the small little changes that wisdom suggested earlier. They didn't want to modify their lifestyle at all.
This is the Hebrew word etsah which means counsel or advice. The meaning of this first phrase in the proverb is that wisdom kept whispering suggestions on how to be less selfish and how to have others also win. But this was rejected.
These wise courses of action would lower the level of selfish pleasure. We see this all the time when we interview those who have had accidents and killed people or been involved in college hazing accidents or become addicted to drugs. They were just having fun and even though a little voice in the back of their mind said “don't do this” they never thought this would happen to them. The counsel came either in the form of a friend, a counselor, an internal prompting, a teacher, a book, or something. But they thought they were immune from the consequences; they just wanted to do what they wanted to do.
This is the Hebrew word tokechah which means rebuke, correction, punishment. The idea here is that there are consequences to foolish actions. These are called rebukes. They are meant to cause a person to stop and go in another direction. But we become addicted to our form of selfishness and push through these problems and difficulties and consequences as if they were normal. Everybody has these kinds of problems.
I am amazed at the number of times I hear that people have destroyed their marriage because of their love for a hobby or a job or friends, and yet they just continue right on doing the thing that destroyed the center of their relational life. I have listened to people tell me how they destroyed every relationship and good thing in their life to get more of a particular drug. I have listened to men and women tell me how exciting their affair is and how they are willing to give up their family and sometimes their job in order to have this illicit relationship. Then three months later have that relationship be a complete bust with more problems and more arguments, and now they have no family support and sometimes no job.
Solomon is saying that people who want to be really selfish will push through almost anything to continue being selfish. It is not as though they were not warned or rebuked or had a shot across their bow – they did. But they were not going to stop.
Now there are two lessons here. Whatever selfish thing you are right now beginning to pursue, you need to listen to counsel and heed rebuke and not let it take you too far. Second, you need to realize that people may blow your advice and wisdom off as they pursue their selfish counsel. You still have to give it and you still have to try and be there after they have destroyed their life with the solution.
The answer is always repentance. Turn away from your present ways and turn to the Lord for forgiveness and grace to live a new way. He has said that in Jesus Christ, He is willing to start again with anyone who will hear His voice and turn to Him in faith.