Jan15WedInstruction Is the Sure Cure For the Brutish January 15, 2020
Proverbs 12:1, Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
I don’t often begin at the end of a verse when explaining a subject. However, we are now so familiar with the twin terms instruction and knowledge as they are used in the book of Proverbs that I hope little explanation of them is necessary. There is a new term in this verse that we have not considered yet – brutish. The word is interesting. It means to burn or to eat. The reference is a vivid way of describing the brute. Lay something valuable in front of him/her and they will instinctively either eat it or set it on fire. They have no appreciation for what is important or valuable.
The word brutish is a term sometimes used to describe livestock, or cattle. It is a masculine noun and a synonym of the word “stupid” and it is also often rendered “foolish” in our King James Version. I think the picture is getting clearer now. In contrast to the brute, those who love instruction and knowledge are refined and have been mastered by the disciplines of self-control.
Let me point out that even an animal can be domesticated. Animals that were once in the wild have been caged before and placed into zoos for display. However, we have all seen the videos of those zookeepers who have let down their guard around animals and paid a high price. A man once stopped by the cage of a tiger that had been captured and brought into a zoo for display. He humorously tried to provoke the tiger by lunging forward and barking at it like a dog. The tiger just paced back and forth by the bars of its cage and never seemed to respond or appear alarmed by the man. The man asked a nearby worker what was wrong with the tiger, and suggested that if the tiger were ever let lose it could not survive in the wild because it had been ruined by domestication. The zookeeper informed the man that this particular tiger had been caged for so long that if he were ever to get loose it would be a savage.
This is similar to the condition of many young people. You may feel as if you have been caged for a long time by your parents, or your church, or your school. Once you escape your cage, you may very well show everyone how brutish you really are. That is, unless your nature has been changed. You see, you were born wild. Your flesh and mine is savage and has to be brought under the dominion of the Word of God through instruction. That dominion is effective as long as it penetrates beyond your habitat and gets into your heart. If it has not made its way into your heart, you will be a savage beast when you escape.
The characteristics of an instructed and wise young man/woman lie in the capacity for progress and improvement. The brute beast is characterized by his/her instinctive savagery and their propensity to ruin what is delivered to them by eating it or burning it. The brute has no appreciation for the things of God. For them, its all about their ravenous appetite. They also don’t learn. Whatever skill they acquire is not passed on to their offspring genetically. So every generation is just as dangerous as the previous one.
The solution: love instruction, knowledge and reproof. Otherwise, prepare for the extended caged life, or the escaped wild life.
Brad Bailey is a husband, father of four, author, pastor-teacher and college president in Brandon, Florida.