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Rebuke Better than Flattery (Proverbs 28:23)

Introductory Thoughts

Today's passage proves the Bible truth that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts, neither our ways His ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). God's thoughts are always unimaginably loftier than ours. Unlike God, our thoughts are bound by our limited knowledge. Contrary to the Lord’s, our knowledge is easily corrupted through various influences. This is why scripture reading and preaching often conflicts with our natural thought process. For instance, our natural mind considers rebuke something harmful, negatively affecting the person receiving it. We also naturally consider flattery as something beneficial and uplifting to the recipient. Yet, we have already seen how flattery can be harmful, but have you ever considered the superiority of a rebuke? The Bible says rebuke is better because of what it yields “afterwards.” In the long run, rebuke is far superior to flattery.

Devotional Thoughts

  • (For children): The prophet Nathan did not enjoy telling king David that he had sinned (2 Samuel 12:7). Yet, David had been miserable hiding his sin and felt better once he had confessed it to God (Psalm 32:1-5). Though Nathan rebuked David, David continued to love Nathan (Psalm 141:5).
  • (For everyone):  How do you feel when you have to rebuke someone? How do you feel when you use your tongue to flatter someone? What does this teach us concerning our feelings and their connection to right and wrong?
  • A godly rebuke presents the reality of our condition. Flattery, on the other hand, presents a deceitful view of our condition. Knowing this, how can a rebuke be so superior in the long run?

Prayer Thoughts

  • Ask the Lord to help you consider what is best over the long term.
  • Ask God to give you wisdom to choose rebuke over flattery.