Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, But he who regards reproof will be honored. Proverbs 13:18
Everyone would like to see their hopes and dreams realized. One of these dreams is that of earning a fortune. The conventional wisdom of this world says that if you work hard and apply yourself these things can be yours. But the Word of God counsels us a little differently. There is more to success than just making a lot of money because you work hard. Far too many men who stepped on the road to their riches - wound up unable to achieve them because they would not listen to counsel and accept discipline. They would not take wise advice - and as a result were not honored in the end.
The Word of God ties the whole idea of wealth and blessing to something more than hard work. The Bible teaches us to work hard and apply ourselves in what we do. That is why we hear about the "protestant work ethic." But there is so much more to "true success" than just having a lot of money. Real success biblically is tied most of all to knowing and walking in God's favor. Beyond that God also speaks of things like character and virtue. These things are developed by not only working hard - but also in submitting to the counsel of wise and godly people. What many people do not understand is that submission to such wise counsel also means being willing to accept criticism. Let me put before you two Old Testament examples from which we can learn.
We first come to a King in the Old Testament named Rehoboam. He was the son of Solomon who received the kingdom when his father died. The people came to him asking for him to lighten the load that his father put on them. Rehoboam asked his father's counselors what to do. They advised him to take a position of servant to the poeple, lighten their load, and they would serve him. He rejected such counsel and chose instead to listen to his own friends who said to be harsh and tell the people who was king and who was in charge. He rejected wise counsel from godly men. The end was that he was NOT honored. He wound up losing 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel. He also was humbled further when he would not listen to God's life-giving rebuke and turn from his idolatrous ways. In the end, his kingdom was severely weakened and eventually overrun by Egypt.
The second king we seek to learn from is David. David was confronted and rebuked by Nathan the prophet for his sexual sin with Bathsheba. Instead of neglecting this correction and discipline, he received it - and was restored. He had some pretty severe discipline for what he did - but never rebelled against it. He knew he deserved far worse - and therefore submitted himself to God in all of it. David was honored for being a man after God's own heart. Such praise was given because of his repentance and willingness to undergo and learn from discipline. It turned him from a disastrous course and back into the arms of God.
It is so important that we be wise and learn that it takes hard work and discipline to truly succeed in life. Those who do such things will be blessed in the end. Their lives may not be profiled among the rich and the famous - but they will be honored in the one place where it matters. They will be honored before the throne of God in the day of judgment. It is there where we find out whether we are blessed and wealthy - or whether we are going to know eternal poverty and shame. Be wise - choose the former - submit to God - and listen to life-giving rebuke.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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