Journal Prov 9 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.

Do not reprove a scoffer or he will hate you; reprove a wise man and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man and he will be wiser; teach a righteous man and he will increase in learning.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me (wisdom) your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life.” Prov 9:7-11

Observation: Talking to people has consequences; understand the use of discretion. There is a point to look to the mirror first, before looking at others.

Analysis: Why is the Gospel of the Kingdom to be preached by disciples?

Answer: Because Jesus said to in the Great Commission (c. Mark 16:16). He also said to make disciples which, reading the text of Mark 16:16 and Matt 28:19:20, could be considered a separate functional step.

How ever the two texts are perceived, everyone who has preached the Gospel, or has engaged in witnessing of the Kingdom, or has shared from the heart on what Jesus has done in their life, whether in public or in private,  has encountered scoffers, wicked people, unwise and/or people not wanting to hear about the Way.

Clearly, left to any conversation, one of the binary results (according to this Proverb) will be abuse or injury.

So, the question will be to the reader is: Do I want abuse?

A Christian is not invulnerable to abuse and was never meant to be. Being a Christian in this world is to be an enemy of this world—following Jesus with intent, preaching the Gospel, is being countercultural to the society at large: the Gospel is antithetical to the world, to sin. The Gospel grinds at the core of Man. Man wants to choose his own destiny, rejecting God’s rule and reign and becoming a traitor to God. (c. Gen 3:5 (Serpent speaking) “For God knows that when you eat of it (fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) your eyes will be opened, AND YOU WILL BE LIKE GOD, knowing good and evil.” Implication: Man can make his own decisions on what is right and what is wrong and does not need God—becoming a rebel to the King of Heaven.)

What the Proverb 9 reference does insinuate is that the muscle of discernment might need to be strengthened. This is a tough statement because it is too easy to be cowards, not entering a difficult conversation and citing the scripture as confirmation to avoid things. (Confession: I do just that many times.)

So, how do I strengthen discernment? Scripture gives the answer: Strengthen my foundations. Right back to Proverbs 4:

“My son, be attentive to my words; inclineyour ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart…Keep your heart with all vigilance…Put away crooked speech and put devious talk far from you…Ponder the path of your feet…” Prov 4:20-27

Preaching the Gospel at any level, at any intensity, has consequences. It has benefits as well (it is the Word of Life, after all), but it takes preparation to be ready spontaneously. Practice preaching the Gospel to the face in the mirror, not as a performance, but as someone who needs to hear it over and over.

Prayer: Father, If I am to be wise, then I need to practice discernment with vigor—I should pursue knowing the Gospel inside and out. Help me have a heart to do just that.

When opportunities come my way, I want to see them as coming from your hand. Help me fear You and not be afraid.


Ricky Two Shoes