August 04, 2020 | Books of the Bible | Proverbs by Nicole Caldwell
He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing. (ESV)
An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices. (ESV)
Proverbs 29 begins with a firm warning about a lack of rebuke (reproof). Rebuke means to express sharp disapproval or criticism of someone because of their behavior or actions. While the word can stir in us a negative feeling, we see in Proverbs that a lack of receiving rebuke is the greater danger. Often in the Bible, the "hard neck" is used as a figure of speech to point out a stubborn attitude or unwillingness to bend. It characterizes those who resist correction and disobey God. Those around them often rebuke these individuals, yet they fail to recognize the rebuke as a catalyst for repentance and turn away from sin. The author warns that persistence in sinful patterns, without reproach, will undoubtedly bring destruction.
As we continue through the passage, we get a similar warning in verse 6. Again, we see the risks associated with unrepentant sin. His acts of transgressions ruin a man who may be evil in his character. There is not only punishment at the end, but a snare in the act of continual violations. The repeating pattern brings destruction. While these individuals may seem to coast through life celebrating their freedom through transgressions, they have fallen prey to a trap set to ensnare them.
In contrast, the end of verse 6 describes the righteous. The righteous rejoice in freedom from the snares of sin made possible by the blood of Christ. He rejoices in Christ's salvation, that salvation being fully suitable, fully free, and for the full glory of God. The righteous rejoice in the pardon of his sins that the blood of Christ provides. The righteous rejoice.
- Does sin enslave you? Have you been rebuked by a brother or sister in Christ, but continue your path of destruction?
- Do you recognize the freedom available in Christ? Is your heart filled with rejoicing?
- Pray for the wisdom and discernment that will allow you to recognize areas in your life where you may be a slave to unrepentant sin.
- Pray for the Lord to provide you with Christian friends who will bring biblical and loving rebuke.
- Pray for the Lord to inspire you to rejoice that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).