Listening to a like-giving rebuke is not the same as hearing. Though this point is merely a difference in the definition of words the point is still true. The original Hebrew word “shama” implies giving careful attention, diligent obedience, and firm belief in the rebuke. The opposite of this proverb is found in 3:11, “do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke.” The opposite is despising and resenting a life-giving rebuke.
The result of listening to a life-giving rebuke is being at home among the wise. This is not only that the wise listen to life-giving rebukes as I would, but that they live together with the LORD God their Father “because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” (3:12)
After Jesus saved the woman caught in the act of adultery she told her, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11) This was a life-giving rebuke.
When the young rich man who loved money asked, “Rabbi, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus’ rebuke was life-giving. “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Matthew 19:21) The young man went away sad for he resented the life-giving rebuke.
Today and every day I must choose to listen to Jesus’ life-giving words and thus live with his majesty or walk away.