This week in Proverbs is about discipline. Discipline is necessary because our hearts are wicked and inclined in the wrong direction. Through discipline comes wisdom and from wisdom comes righteousness and peace. In all this we must remember that Christ is our wisdom and righteousness and the Bringer of Peace.
By mere words a servant is not disciplined,
for though he understands, he will not respond.
Did you ever hear your mother say, “You know better than that”? I did, and sometimes it was followed by the yardstick. Sometimes more than words are required.
This proverb presents the principle that understanding does not necessarily lead to an appropriate response (Koptak). It lays down the principles of sanctions and incentives that are to be applied by employers to employees.
But, we in spite of our knowing better do not always respond appropriately. James calls us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves (1:22).
James goes on to say that we need to look carefully in the mirror (the law), remember, and do (making changes in ourselves). Next, he tells us that “God bless you is not enough.” When you see a naked person, you need to clothe them. When you see a hungry person, you need to feed them. James embraced the practical wisdom of Proverbs.
The religious leaders whom Jesus addressed looked into the mirror (the law), but did not remember and deceived themselves into believing that they were OK, when in fact, they needed to repent. In the parable of the two sons, Jesus points out that tax collectors and prostitutes were more doers of the word than they were. Why? Because they heard and repented. In Matthew 21:28-32 the first son said, “No, I won’t go.” But later he changed his mind and went. The second son, the nice one, said, “Yes, I’ll get right on it.” But did nothing.
Reflection for Today
Remember that we know better and that we need to do better.