“I will stand on my watch and set myself on the tower, and will watch to see what He will say to me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved”, Hab.2:1 

One to be reproved by God Himself is as good as being fully approved by Him. God either judges or reproves. In both ways He exterminates all sin from sight along with its practice. God may either exterminate both sin and sinner or just sin from the sinner. One must seek to be reproved by God, for there is no greater benefit upon the earth to feed upon if you are a sinner. The willingness to be reproved and consequently approved by God due to His power to make holy (in His ways), is the link upon finding mercy. “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. (38) As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD”, Ez.36:37,38.

People normally fear and tremble to be reproved, and to be fully reproved by a holy, good man, is something dreaded by many because such are sinners deeply desiring to find a word of approval instead. Yet, it should never be so, if one is to take into account the holiness of the reproving character at all; nor should any holy man play the game along with such. If one really desires to be holy and spotless, one should also conclude to be willing to be reproved by God and His transforming power. No willingness to be reprooved the right way is as good as not acknowledging to any need for a change. But, as some also suppose, to acknowledge does not move one away from a real change either.

There should be no greater honor, no greater privilege than to be reproved by a holy God. Because all know instinctively goodness is to prevail if approval is to be found and experienced for real (once with God it is experienced too), one dreads to be on the wrong and deeply desires to be on the right. But, one to reach to Christ has to pass through John the Baptist first and his words are not kind especially because they are truth. For that reason many jump over the wall and enter not through the gate. Most believe the main reason why people want to be right is to be ascribed to pride. It might be true that pride has settled itself upon this tower as well, but the constitution of all men drives them to be on the right, for they live having wrong has something to be judged upon. All features of man have a holy origin, for to love oneself is not wrong, but to love oneself above God and neighbor is dreadful. Sin has settled an illegal building upon holy grounds and lives there as a tyrant.

One may, therefore, once conducting himself in such a way as to improve a conduct for selfish reasons (or any other), throw away the wheat along with the chaff because of believing to have the obligation to be wrong, feel wrong and realize to be so even if one can’t. One may not throw the ground away, but dislodge sin and destroy its building from there rather. If God were to destroy the ground – us – He would have chosen long ago to breed children for Abraham out of stones. Yet, because sin is the parasite in creation, and because God can deal with that, He chooses to save man from parasites by keeping the domain clean and spotless at first. A new building will be erected right there and God will abide in there for good. The desire to be good is most holy and is part of us all.

One’s sight is short, corrupted by sin, by wrong motives, by precarious ways of dealing with it all in case one should know all about it all, and there is a general knowledge God can make us pure again. People breed upon doctrines to state otherwise and to leave the strong man where it has come to parasite, clothing such with church garments and arguments. Yet, if one stands still before God, quiet enough to hear from Him alone, to know from Him, one will know about it all. There is no greater way to get rid of sin but to lay down the weapons against it and use all we have to cling upon the holy skirts of God. One cannot fight two things at once – either we deal with God as Jacob did and live, or fight sin and die. Exposure kills sin, not force against it. Sin is a giant in dark places and if you enter his grounds, you you exercise its muscles all the more. Bring the giant to your grounds, to the light, expose it and he will soon experience a vampire's death!

There is a story I recall from the time I have fancied worldly matters and things – it is obviously an imaginary story born in Ancient England from the castles of vampires. The vampires would go out at night alone, biting people and these bitten ones soon would turn themselves into biting ones as well who would, under the influences, feel safe hid in the shadows of darkness alone. I recall how, as a child, I saw one of those movies where the main Vampire at last was thrown into the open sun-light and withered away into an awful death. It began to crumble and rot away speedily, its body becoming as rotten as a body would after many months of decomposing exposure to the elements of nature. They followed all the bitten ones up to find the one who made them bite as well. They found him and threw him into the light. The body of sin would, in that way and in no time, find the decomposition it should have gone through, as the tale goes, during hundreds of years. It finds its total decomposition in a few minutes alone. All bitten ones would turn to normal once the biting, influencing one died.

Although this is a devilish fairytale, yet there is something we may take from it for the purpose of dealing with this “body of sin” we are talking about. We read from Paul that “for whatsoever doth become manifest, is light”. It means that darkness, once exposed, may not be regarded as darkness anymore but as something lit and revealed from then on - it has become light.

Because of that, there is great power in being reproved by God. Man does have certain notions of not wanting to be reproved because he wants to be kept in the dark so as to be seen as right for many a reason, even tough it is pride who claims the crown of rightness, and presumption the alliance and pledge to make man believe in that. To be right is part of holiness. To believe to be right so as to stay on in the pleasures of all sin is pride allied to presumption and filth. Yet, one should never disdain the power to be on the right if with God, for there, one is not right against anybody at all, but for all and for the sake of God in all. There is no competition to be right in holiness even if the desire to be in right standing with God exceeds all possible desires, for to compete is the kind of building pride created to stabilize itself upon lies, regarding all who dare face him as a sure enemy. Hence the desire to know better and more feel self-assured concerning it all, once and for all.

Because one is shortsighted, wrong, on the wrong, lacking power to deal with the body (breeder) of sin itself (and not so much with sin, the fruitfulness of it, the outcome of the body of sin), one should not disdain to be right for the sake of the One who still loves us. It is not wrong to be right in God, for there, there is none to compete with, but rather to complete with. We complete one another if in God. Competition started off because wrong could never be right by any other means but by having the throne by force and becoming a commanding tyrant. Now that one is right if with God, there is no need to cover up filth, for filth is fully gone where God is settled to stay. There is no need to show off, to cover up, to play humility or to do any other thing which is a child of sin. In the household of sin there are guards and such believe to exclude better ones from sight, is to live. But it is not so with God. If God reproves, He is on the right and if we seek to be reproved, we will be on the right as well for He has the power to change us if we come to fight with Him because of this deep desire after holiness. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled”, Mat 5:6. “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven is taken by violence, and the violent take it by force”, Mat 11:12. Just stand upon your tower and see what He will tell you – desire after that, fight towards it and the whole of it alone.

“What I shall answer when I am reproved”? Let your answer be honesty and charging towards God to show forth all you are and have, instead of hiding it away as Eve did, for to answer to defend your crown will make you loose it. Do not disdain to answer God as long as you have the right answer to put forth. Jacob thought he would die and yet lived at the brook of Jabbok.

“Job answered Jehovah and said, (2) I know that You can do all, and not any purpose is withheld from You. (3) Who is he who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have spoken what I did not understand; things too wonderful for me; yea, I did not know. (4) Hear, I beseech You, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You will cause me to know. (5) I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye has seen You. (6) Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes”, Job 42:1-6. If you are fully able to remain at your tower, as Job did, God will make you live even if you are reproved. Pray that He may come to do just that. “Who is he who hides counsel without knowledge?”

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José Mateus