Proverbs 15:5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.This is almost a companion verse to several that we've studied before . . . like this one:
Proverbs 13:1 A wise son heareth his father's instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.This one has a little different tone, though, and I'll lay it out here as concisely as I can, so you don't think I'm plowing the same ground here.
In the verse in chapter 13, the emphasis was on whether or not the son "heard" the instruction. The implication was that if you truly "hear" what someone is saying, you will take it to heart, internalize it, remember it, and value it.
Today's verse has the word "despiseth" in it. Some of the similar words for this Hebrew word are: scorn, abhor, blaspheme, hold in contempt. Whoa . . . there are some pretty negative meanings, there! I think we can safely say there is more going on here than the typical roll-my-eyes-sigh-and shrug attitude of some teenagers that I know!
Contrast this scornful attitude that Solomon shows us, with the second half of the sentence: "he that regardeth reproof is prudent." I hope that I am correct on this one, but I was really taken with the meaning of "regard" in this verse. It means "to hedge about, as with thorns." Hmmm, if I remember correctly, that was one way that shepherds in ancient times protected their sheep.
Sometimes they would find a natural enclosure, an area where the stones could be used to make some makeshift walls, and pieces from thornbushes would be laid on top to discourage thieves and wild animals. If it was a pasture they often used, there might be a more permanent sheepfold made, along the same lines, with stones or a low building, and abundant use of thorns for protection. Many times the opening to this enclosure would be blocked by the shepherd himself, who would lie down and sleep there, to be vigilant over his precious livelihood.
So, this got me to thinking - I don't need to pat myself on the back because I'm not scornful. I certainly don't treat God's instructions with contempt. But when I receive a reproof from my heavenly Father, do I "regard" it? Do I hedge it about and protect it, and treat it as something of highest value? I know that I should, for a reproof will guide me in becoming more like Christ. But I also know that if I'm honest, I sometimes shy away from that reproof, and try to justify my mistake or sin. This verse has "lit a fire under me" to change the way I respond to reproof!