Prov. 6:23 “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life”
Some of us who are older can recollect being spanked by our parents. (It’s a sad state of affairs today where children threaten their parents with reporting them to Social Services if they spank them!) With each spanking I received as a child, I learned that what I did was wrong – sometimes I learned quickly and other times not so quickly. But the key here is that I learned from each spanking.
So it is with our Christian walk. Instead of parents, however, we have the Word and our Heavenly Father. God has given us the Word to intruct us. I love the way Proverbs 6:23 says that the Word is a lamp and a light for us. It is not a deep dark secret with hidden messages only to be interpreted by a priest or rabbi. It is a light to the one who is seeking God’s will. We all can know what the Bible has to say without depending on another for intepretation. I find it interesting that the Holy Spirit impressed upon Peter to pen the following verses:
2 Peter 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (20) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (21)
It is not man’s interpretations that we should be seeking. We should be seeking the Holy Spirit’s interpretation because He wrote the Bible using men who submitted themselves to be used by Him. This is not the way I was raised as a catholic. In fact, not once was I encouraged to read the Bible from the time I could reason to the age of 25. Not once… instead I was told to listen and obey my parish priest blindly. I was told that this was true faith. Now that I am born again and can read and understand God’s Word on my own, I say that this was not true faith but sheer stupidity on my part. Only I will be accountable before God for my actions – not anyone else but me! So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Rom 14:12) No one can stand before me in a court of law today and give an account and take my punishment for breaking a law in the United States. No one! Why should it be different before God – the Lover of righteousness? I cannot blame my actions on anyone else.
The second thing I noticed in this Proverb was that reproofs of instruction were a way of life for the believer. Daniel Webster defines reproof as:
1. Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension.Those best can bear reproof, who merit praise.
He that hateth reproof is brutish. Prov 12.
2. Blame cast; censure directed to a person.
Why would God include this immediately after stating that the Word was a lamp and light to us? Clearly the Word has been given to us to teach us the right way to go. When we get off the right path and disobey that instruction, God then corrects us and sometimes must chastise us. For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Pro 3:12) For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Heb 12:6)
Don’t follow man’s teaching blindly – no matter who that man is. It is good to listen to good preaching but it does not remove your responsibility as a born again child of God to make sure that what you are hearing is in line with God’s Word.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2Ti 3:16) When a man (or “church”) teaches something contrary to God’s Word, you must search it out for yourself. We will each be accountable to God for what we did in life. We won’t be able to blame another when we stand before God and give an account for believing what “the church” or “the preacher” taught us. The Word was given to each of us as a lamp and a light – it is clear that this is not a case of the blind leading the blind – the blind see no light. The born again believer is no longer blind!
Therefore, God makes it quite clear that His Word shines brightly with His teachings and doctrine. For the believer, this is very encouraging because we are not left alone to our own devices. Rom 1:21-22, “But to the unsaved, you are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (21) Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (22) Dont’ be a fool today. Let the light of the Word shine in your heart and draw you to the cross where your burdens may be lifted!
Your Word lightens my way
No more in darkness I hide
Desperately seeking I find
Your Precious bleeding side