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Seeds of the Kingdom

Apples of Gold

by Fiona Horrobin

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.
Proverbs 25:11-12, NRSV

Reading this verse of Scripture I became aware of how easily our fleshly nature looks and seeks for flattering, affirmative words. Our human nature is not bent towards seeking a rebuke. Yet, here the Scriptures are likening a rebuke to gold.

When I think of how much physical gold I own it’s a very tiny amount! It would fit into a small box! Of course I watch over this small amount of gold, because it is worth something, and it’s hard to acquire. It’s precious! So, I asked myself, ‘Is this gold that the Scripture speaks about something I want or desire’? ‘Why wouldn’t I seek it out as treasure’?

I then began to meditate about gold. It belongs to rich people. It holds the highest value of any commodity. It’s indestructible, and as a gift it’s everlasting. It can be passed down the generations. Gold doesn’t decay and even increases in value. Gold gives wealth, riches and power. It’s irreplaceable.

Here in Proverbs we have a picture of how God sees a wise word of rebuke. As gold! Those who give it are imparting something extremely precious, and those who receive it are blessed with a magnificent gift - a gift to be used and worn. It will not only transform their appearance, but who they are. This gold in their life will make them rich!

It’s so easy to say the things that people want to hear. It’s so easy to only give praise and affirmation. These are good things in their rightful place but they’re not to be the sole diet we give to others. The Apostle Paul says that he didn’t come to please mortals but to please God, and that he never came with ‘words of flattery’, nor did he seek the ‘praise of mortals’ (1 Thessalonians 2:4-5).

In English we have a saying: ‘call a spade, a spade’. In other words, call something what it really is. Don’t wrap it up and make it seem something it isn’t. Gold is gold and truth is truth. I want to be a person who can impart the gift of gold in the form of a wise rebuke. I want to be a person who can also discern and receive a wise rebuke. I don’t want to miss out on the gold that God wants to impart into my life as a gift of eternal value. Maybe we’re afraid of receiving condemnation, and much of man’s rebuke is condemnation, (although it’s sometimes in disguise). However, this shouldn’t shut us off from having a listening ear to the gold of a wise rebuke.

Maybe we can ask ourselves some questions today. Are we more open to words of flattery and praise, rather than a godly and wise rebuke? Are we more likely to reject a rebuke and take offence, rather than seeking the Lord whether the word is applicable and relevant to us? And have we become those who dish out words which please and flatter rather than saying what needs to be said as a timely rebuke?

Prayer: Lord help me to open my heart to discern and listen for the wise word of rebuke in my life. Please forgive me for only wanting to hear the things which don’t hurt my pride and which feed my self esteem. I want to receive the gold of a wise rebuke. In receiving this gift from You, I ask that You will help me to give to others the apples of gold, a wise rebuke. Amen.

Fiona Horrobin has been a key part of pioneering the work of Ellel Ministries International. From over twenty years experience of ministering into broken lives, she is passionate to see healing as integral to discipleship and Christian growth.

 

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