Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
The key term here is “listening.” Let the reprover be wise, but if the listener is not listening, then it will be to no avail, except in the future to serve as a reproach for not heeding. Most of us, most of the time, do not listen well to reproof. We quickly judge the reprover to be mean or ignorant, certainly not sensitive to our feelings.
Response to reproof shows the condition of our heart. For if we desire above all else to be pleasing to God and to be following his will, then we will welcome any reproof that alerts us to our error and puts us back on the right track. If, as we traveled to our destination, someone yelled to us we were going the wrong way, we would thank him for saving us from a great inconvenience. How then should we react when someone points out a moral or spiritual error?
But how stubborn we can be! We will reject the reproof of person after person, even elder after elder, claiming all the while we are right before God. We alone know what God is saying. Be aware. Some day we must appear before God, and he will ask where are the gold rings and ornaments he graciously sent to us through our brothers and sisters. Learn now to listen and to value wise reproof.
My God, whom I praise,
do not remain silent,
2 for people who are wicked and deceitful
have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
3 With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
4 In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer.
5 They repay me evil for good,
and hatred for my friendship.
6 Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is tried, let him be found guilty,
and may his prayers condemn him.
8 May his days be few;
may another take his place of leadership.
9 May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow.
10 May his children be wandering beggars;
may they be driven[a] from their ruined homes.
11 May a creditor seize all he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.
12 May no one extend kindness to him
or take pity on his fatherless children.
13 May his descendants be cut off,
their names blotted out from the next generation.
14 May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord;
may the sin of his mother never be blotted out.
15 May their sins always remain before the Lord,
that he may blot out their name from the earth.
16 For he never thought of doing a kindness,
but hounded to death the poor
and the needy and the brokenhearted.
17 He loved to pronounce a curse—
may it come back on him.
He found no pleasure in blessing—
may it be far from him.
18 He wore cursing as his garment;
it entered into his body like water,
into his bones like oil.
19 May it be like a cloak wrapped about him,
like a belt tied forever around him.
20 May this be the Lord’s payment to my accusers,
to those who speak evil of me.
21 But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
may those who attack me be put to shame,
but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.