Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start #3577

Jump Start # 3577

Ecclesiastes 7:5 “It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than to listen to the song of fools.”

  The Holy Spirit guided Solomon to write some of the most practical and useful helps from Heaven. As with the Proverbs, many lines coming from Ecclesiastes are written in the form of contrasts. Such is our verse today. Rebuke is contrasted with song. And, wise man is contrasted with fools.

  Better is the rebuke of a wise man than to listen to the song of fools. Most often, Solomon doesn’t explain the “why” behind such noble and novel statements. Why is the rebuke of a wise man better than the song of a fool? We like songs. We like listening to music. My wife and I often go to the orchestra. I love hearing our little grandchildren sing. Songs put a smile on our hearts. They lift our spirits. We love listening to songs.

  Rebuke on the other hand means something isn’t right. We have several words for rebuke. Words such as, censure; reprimand; criticize; reproach; give a talking to; or, common to our times, ‘a come to Jesus meeting.’ There are two stings that come with a rebuke. First, is realizing that we were wrong. The second, is that someone else recognizes that we were wrong. The rebuke doesn’t come from ourselves. It’s a wise man that gives the rebuke.

  And, herein lies the problem. We like listening to songs, but we don’t enjoy rebuke. It doesn’t matter if it comes from the pulpit, and the preacher has knocked the shine off your shoes; or, from work; or, from our spouse. Rebukes sting. They hurt. And, the natural and most common reaction to a rebuke is to get defensive, search for an excuse and turn the tables on the one confronting us.

  Our passage is more than just stating a rebuke, but it is better if we have listened to it. We received it. We have accepted it. We have considered it. And, we need this because we are often blind to our own faults. Some have done wrong for so long that they no longer see what they are doing is wrong. Faults are like the headlights of a car. The ones’ coming toward you always seem brighter than yours.  

Now, some thoughts from this:

  First, it is better to listen to the rebuke because who is sharing it with you. Our verse identifies this person as a wise man. Do you think he enjoys giving a rebuke? He’d rather compliment. He’d rather praise. But he can’t and he won’t. And, the reason is he cares so much about you, that he wants you to do what is right. He loves your soul and he is trying to help.

  We muddy the water and make matters difficult when we refuse to listen to what a wise person says to us and we close our ears to any suggestions that would lead to a more righteous life. The wise man cares about you. He doesn’t want to see you continue down the path you are going. His wisdom allows him to see things that you may not see. He sees consequences. He sees what it does to our habits and attitudes. He sees how it wounds our family. He’s seen enough. Now he speaks. In gentleness, wrapped in love, he rebukes. He realizes how difficult this is. You may explode. You may walk away. You may be finished with him, forever. He takes that chance. It’s worth that chance, to try to help you.

  Second, a fool won’t rebuke. A fool only thinks about himself. A fool is only in the moment. He doesn’t know consequences or eternity. This is why he is a fool. Dance with me, the fool says. Listen to my songs, the fool says. Happy, happy, happy, is all the fool is interested in. Don’t think about rules. Don’t think about others. Just be happy. Oh, that song has many different titles. Ole’ blue eyes Sinatra sang, “I did it my way.” Another song declared, “If loving you is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.” From the past to the present, the fool keeps singing.

  Third, the goal of the rebuke is a changed life. Repentance is the outcome of a rebuke listened to. A course correction takes place. Wrong has been stopped and now right is being pursued. A life has been saved. The prophet Nathan rebuked king David. Jesus rebuked a demon and it came out of the person. Peter rebuked the Lord and in turn was rebuked by Jesus.

  There are some who are would love to sign up to be the policemen of the church. They’d love to write out tickets for kids running in hallways, people sleeping during services, and for a pitiful contribution given. Quick to rebuke and quick to find fault is the joy of some. And, some do it so often that no one listens to them any more. Every time they open their mouths, out flies a rebuke. And, it never ends. Every service. Every get together. Every singing. Every opportunity and even when there is no opportunity. Such is wearisome and discouraging. Some are never happy.

  I saw a cartoon years ago. A very unhappy woman was standing at the customer service counter. The man at the counter said, “Ma’am, if we refund you the money, give you a new product, close the store and shoot the manager, would you be happy?” And, for most the answer would be a profound, NO.

  There is a time and a place for rebuke. A wise man recognizes that. There is a way to rebuke. A wise man recognizes that. The purpose of a rebuke is not to crush and destroy someone, but rather to make a person do better. The goal is success, not destruction.

  Better is rebuke than a song. Better is what a wise man says than what a fool says. Better if we listen than we ignore. Ageless truths and treasures from God’s word.