An open rebuke is better than hidden love! – Proverbs 27:5
The wise author states several things about what happens when fools are involved in various things. Among these statements, the author notes that an open rebuke is far better than hidden love. Let us learn this lesson.
Just three days ago I attended the third and last evening of a tent “revival” in Loudoun County, VA. The speaker that night began preaching and made an outrageous statement. She said, “You can command the hand of God, and he will move on your behalf.” I nearly fell out of my seat while cringing the whole time! It was not bad enough she made the comment but repeated it several times before I’d had enough of the heresy and left the event. So sad.
Then later than evening I had a private conversation with the person about the one-verse-out-of-context false doctrine she spewed. She tried telling me that Isaiah 45:11 (KJV) “Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me” authorizes us to command the hand of God?!? There is no place in the whole of scripture where we are allowed to command God anything! So, I responded with the same verse and more from the NLT to show her the error of her doctrine.
“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’ Does the pot exclaim, ‘How clumsy can you be?’ How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father, ‘Why was I born?’ or if it said to its mother, ‘Why did you make me this way?’
“This is what the Lord says—the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: ‘Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command. I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people—without seeking a reward! I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!”
The passage obviously has NOTHING to do with commanding the hand of God and then seeing him move on our behalf! He asked rhetorical questions of Israel questioning God’s motive for using the Persian king Cyrus to do his will in the earth! She’s not the only one to believe this way unfortunately. There is a whole community of people who have taken this verse out of context and stretched to meet their own vain expectations! God forbid! Their pride and arrogance will have to be accounted one day before the Lord God Almighty!
Here is the sad reply I received in return from this supposed preacher…”Primarily, we do not command God, but secondarily we do. When we command a thing in obedience to Him, like the disciples commanded healings, deliverances, provisions and miracles, it is God Who performs them…When we in obedience command, “thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” God is the one who does it. In effect; we are commanding Him. However, we command what he has told us to command and given us the gift of faith to command. This is what He means by “concerning the work of My hands command ye me.”
I only went to her privately so as not to confront her in front of others because I have more respect for people than to publicly humiliate them. It was an open rebuke rather than hidden love because the word states, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right” (2 Tim 3:16)? Paul also told Timothy, “When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God” (1 Timothy 1:3-4).
To top it off, this individual then went on to berate me and libel me with all manner of ill-fitting words and phrases… “dangerous and divisive”…”dishonorable and part of the problem not the solution”…”out of order”…”someone with no fruit or power”…”I report to God not man and certainly not to a rhetoric wielding sounding brass!!” This unfortunately, my friends and neighbors, is the stuff we have to deal with in this life when we try to do the right thing and address issues that are wrong, just plain wrong.
She has no idea how many tens of thousands this devotional blog reaches and has reached over the last six years and how many repressed and free countries into which it reaches that I might not otherwise be able to visit. To the glory of God, this blog makes me a missionary to the world via the Net. The fruit exists; I just don’t know to what extent because I don’t have these articles open for discussion. The power lies strictly with the Holy Spirit because it’s not by my might or power that anything gets done but solely by the Spirit of God!
I could have continued to “love my neighbor” and feign that all is okay, but what kind of disciple of Jesus would I be? The word teaches us here in the proverbs that an open rebuke is better than hidden love. I would rather have her yelling at me and hopefully hearing the truth of Scripture versus the errant doctrine she spews. However, based on her response that she answers only to God and not man, I doubt it seriously. I feel for those under her teaching who are believing a lie. God help them!
Father, I hold no ill will against this said individual. I went to her out of love because my heart was grieved by her heretical doctrine, and I am sure your Spirit was grieved beyond measure. Why? Because she claims to be your child and anointed to preach the gospel. She may even deny that we are all called to preach the gospel according to our Lord Jesus in his great commission. I don’t know. What I do know is that I have love for her as a fellow human being as I should. I pray that she comes to grip with the errant doctrine she believes and teaches and finds correction from you. Holy Spirit I leave the conviction up to you. I was merely a messenger that evening doing what I was supposed to do. She is now in your hands. I pray the truth wins out. Your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.