A wise person hears

I began reading Proverbs again and was impressed by the purpose statement at the beginning of Chapter 1:

  • To know wisdom and instruction;
  • to perceive the words of understanding;
  • To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity;
  • To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion (verses 2-4).

Wow! We could study that list for a while. How do we get wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, subtilty, knowledge, and discretion? By reading God’s Word, specifically the book of Proverbs.

Chapter 1 continues with these statements:

  • A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
  • The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (verses 5, 7).

Let’s pause and think about these. The wise person will listen and learn. What does he listen to? Wise counsel.

I don’t know about your life experiences, but I sometimes find it hard to listen to what someone tells me I need to do. When I take a second and ponder the advice, I understand that the statement was made with a concern for my wellbeing. It’s wise counsel. If I act on the advice, I am learning from wise counsel.

Verse 7 has a double message. The first is that respect for God is the beginning of knowledge. Do you want to be smart? Love God. Know important things? Love God. Want wisdom? Love God.

The second part makes a very strong statement: fools despise wisdom and instruction. Woah! Who doesn’t want to be taught and listen to wisdom? Who’s the person that thinks he knows it all?

A fool.

As we go through the book of Proverbs, we see many contrasts between wise and fools. And, I’m afraid all of us find ourselves more than once on the wrong side of these terms.

Wise people:                                      

  • choose to respect God        
  • dwell safely
  • quietly don’t fear evil                     

Foolish people:

  • love deception and folly
  • scorn Truth and its followers
  • hate knowledge
  • refuse wisdom and counsel
  • are fearful, distressed, and anguished
  • hate reproof
  • will reap destruction

All of this is in just the first chapter. We’ll do more studies in Proverbs in the future. What a practical book!