3 ¶ A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
This is one of the numerous statements in Proverbs about how unteachable and uncorrectable some people are. The fool, a wicked person, is placed here in contrast to the horse and the ass. In fact, a similar metaphor was made in the book of Job regarding man and the ass.
Job 11:12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.
We are stubborn and unteachable in our unregenerated state. Most Christians, even after they have claimed to trust Christ, have no interest in being taught by Him. So, many of us will find after receiving Christ as our Saviour that we have a rough time of it as the Holy Spirit seems to drag us down the street by our feet banging our head off both curbs. This has to happen, though, to get our attention. Intractable, willful, and selfish we insist on doing things our own way which is the wrong way. Our lives reflect that no matter how pious and spiritual we pretend to be, that, in fact, we are a living train wreck. Broken marriages, lost children, alcoholism, drugs, pornography, and even suicide itself are the legacy for many so called believers, just like the unsaved world, who refused to submit to the God of the Bible through His words in His Bible.
Christians can get so much more out of their faith if they would let God speak to them through His Bible. So many of us have not even read it through one time and, other than locating stories, and a few memorized verses we are lost in it. Even our nation, which once proudly declared itself to be a Christian nation, was warned early on by Robert Winthrop in 1849 that we have a choice of being ruled either by the Bible or the bayonet, meaning an internal working of the Holy Spirit through His words versus the external working of a totalitarian state.
You who claim to be Christians but have no use for God’s word, can’t you see how the Holy Spirit chastises you each year you live in rebellion, sometimes each day? God uses the rod for your stubborn back because you will not be changed by His gentle and sweet words. His chastisement is for your own good, to draw you closer to Him and to make you see your helplessness without Him. O, miserable Christian, how long must you be forced to submit to discipline rather than simply surrendering to God through His words as He speaks to you each day and changes your heart?