Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 5:7
Wisdom is something that should passionately be spoken to our sons. It is something they should hear from us with a sense of urgency and importance that should ring from what we say to them. If we do not speak with this kind of passion we may have our children go the way that the son in laws of Lot went.
We read in Genesis of this sad event in Genesis 19:14, " Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, "Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city." But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting." Unfortunately for Lot - a passionate plea to late seems like little more than a bad joke. The lack of passion concerning the immorality and ungodliness of the people was palpable. He rarely spoke out, though his righteous soul was tormented by their behavior. But Lot decided not to speak too stridently about sin in his day. The result of his lack of conviction about the sin that ran rampant in his town was that no one took him seriously when he came with a warning about God's judgment. He never seemed too disturbed about the sin before - so maybe he was overreacting to the situation at hand. In the end the men who would have been his daughter's husbands laughed him off - and were destroyed when the fire and brimstone fell from heaven.
This is why we need to speak with the passion of this father. When he says, "listen" he uses the word that speaks of listening to obey. He wants his words regarded, heard, and followed. When he says, "do not depart" he uses languate that is strong. The idea behind this admonition is like a military leader urging his troops to not desert him or quit fighting. Strong words are employed by this father to call his sons away from sexual immorality. Do we use words this strong when speaking with our sons on such issues? Do we use any words? Do we even speak with them about such things?
Our sons need us! We live in a day of loose morals and lying promises. The morals of our day are loose because our nation has abandoned the words of the Lord. Schools forbid us from speaking such things to students. In the places where an abstinence message is allowed - a Scriptural one is forbidden. It seems almost insane to keep such a message from our young ones considering that over 40 different incurable sexually transmitted diseases run rampant in our society. But the real danger, according to our lawmakers, is that someone might harm them by speaking a religious message to them. What is allowed more and more is the lying promises of our soceity. Safe sex is promoted - with the thought that they are going to be sexually immoral anyway. The problem is that the so-called safe sex message relies primarily on condoms - which have a 1 in 6 failure rate. Their message of safety is about as effective as playing russian roulette with a six shooter. Come on - there's only one chance in six someone is going to blow their brains out! Keep your morality off of our pistol! We'd consider such talk sheer insanity if it were uttered to our kids about playing russian roulette. But for those who offer the same message with an incurable sexually transmitted disease - well, that's open thinking and progressive education. Honestly . . . sounds like a gathering of idiots to me.
Dad's - this was NEVER to be a matter handed over to school and governmental officials. Sex education and far more importantly sexual morality was and still is to be taught by a father to his son. That way we can not only teach them about their sexuality as a gift from God. We can also let them know of the perversion of it by the Fall - and the dangers that come from ignoring the Word of God.
He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue. Proverbs 28:23
Which would you rather receive - a compliment or a rebuke? Even though many of us would chose the first - it is actually a better thing to get the second. Today we will look at the value of a godly, loving rebuke - or honestly - even a not so godly rebuke from someone who is frustrated with us.
My original question was not exactly what this proverb addresses. The compliment offered is actually called, 'flattery' rather than just a compliment. Flattery, by its Hebrew definition, is very seldom true. The one offering the flattery usually has an ulterior motive for offering it. They do not have your best interests in mind. What makes this difficult for me, though, is that I usually agree with people who think I'm awesome. My fallen heart wants people to make much of me. Thus it is very easy to deceive me with complimentary flattery. What I've learned though is that this is not good for me - because I don't learn to address sinful patterns of behavior that hinder me from loving others better.
Someone who offers rebuke is much harder to receive. The problem with receiving rebuke is once again my sinfulness. I will resist the thought that I am not awesome. I am perfectly fine with hearing other people rebuked - or even offering rebuke myself. They do have problems. In fact, often it is their problems that led to someone thinking I need to be rebuked. It is there fault, after all, that I have any problems whatsoever. What you have in these last goofy sentences is the affect of the sinful nature. We want to absolve ourselves of any responsibility for the things we do that are sinful - and prefer blaming others for them. Biblical reality looks much different. We are selfish and self-centered by nature. That leads to choices that are sinful - and that will lead to problems in our lives.
It is better to have someone in your life who will offer rebuke - than to have 50 who offer sycophantic flattery that only blinds you further to your moral and relational blind spots. The rebuke is a blessing in several ways. First, the rebuke helps us to see a sinful pattern or action. Second, as that sin is revealed, it helps me to turn to God in repentance and for forgiveness. Third, it puts me in a place where I want God's grace and truth in my life. The rebuke may hurt at first, but in the end it is far better for me because it helps me to grow spiritually and morally. The wise man learns to receive rebuke not only because of the benefit, but also because of how it identifies true friends. Those who only condone and put up with our sin are not really our friends. A true friend is someone who will tell us the truth lovingly - even if saying it may hurt us - and even our friendship in the short term. But if you have such a friend, thank them for such things, because they are truly interested in your best - and in God's best being realized in your life.
Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him. Proverbs 26:17
In order to learn this proverb in the way we will never forget, we should find a large, doberman - whom we do not know - and grab him by the ears and shake him a little. Yeah - don't think you'd want to do that either. Want to know why? Because you'd come out of that situation with one less hand (possibly two if you are slower).
I love when God uses pictures that are not only graphic - but pretty funny to consider. This sounds like a bad clip from "America's Funniest Videos." Nevertheless, it is great for those of us who have a bad tendency to get involved in "strife-filled" situations when we have no reason for doing so. There are just some of us who think it is our place to fix every situation where people are having problems.
Note several things about this person. First, he is simply "passing by" a situation that is ongoing. He has not been invited to enter it and offer counsel. He just feels that these two people who are fighting need his particular expertise and wisdom. Second, this is a situation "not belonging to him." That removes him even further from the picture - or at least it should. Third, he enjoys "meddling" in other people's business. Add all these things up and you get a recipe for "relational disaster stew!"
This is one of those proverbs that needs to be featured in the University of Duh. Anyone with a remote "lick of sense" knows better than to grab a dog by its ears. Do so and you will anger the dog - who will then bite your hand. Do it to the wrong dog and more than just your hand will be attacked. So also is the foolishness of someone who just will not stay out of other people's business. This particular fool won't stay out of other people's ANGRY business. The word "riybah" is used here - and it means strife, controversy, or contention. It speaks of a quarrel or dispute - which often involves open hostilities. Why would anyone want to step into something like that - when they don't even know the people all that well? To do so is stupid! But it seems that "stupid" here just cann't help himself or herself. They insert themselves into the conflict - and later are shocked when they walk away battered and bruised by the words or actions that they run into in the midst of it.
Stay out of other people's business! That is something my mother taught me. It has been a very wise saying - and one that I did not know at the time was biblical. Whenever I have obeyed her counsel I was blessed. But I've ignored it a few times . . . and I have the emotional dog bites to show for it!
Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart. Proverbs 25:20
There are three things mentioned here in this passage - all three of which are wrong. The first two are examples, while the third is what the proverb is seeking to help us understand is wisdom. This proverb is one that I would call a "considerate" proverb. God is trying to get us to understand what being considerate means. The situation is that of someone who is troubled or sad about a situation or situations in life. The trouble has reached the point of troubling their heart. When this is the case, we need to understand that we need to be gracious and kind. A person who sings songs to someone who it troubled - is being inconsiderate toward the person. They will not think it a blessing to have happy songs sung to them. Even less would be the suggestion that they join in singing, which would then be presented at the perfect thing to help them get out of their emotional doldrums.
This kind of action is compared to someone who takes off their outer garment on a cold day. This would not be a blessing. The person would immediately react negatively to the cold and want to wrap up again. The other instance mentioned is someone who pours vinegar on soda. There would be an instand negative reaction as the soda vinegar mixture would begin bubbling up ruining both the soda and the vinegar. The purpose of giving these two examples if to remind us that as we would think either of them an unwise thing to do - so we should realize that someone who is dealing with a troubled heart should not do so by singing happy songs.
A wise man ministers to someone based on their need - not based on his own feelings at the time. A man is troubled not just because he is not feeling good emotionally. He is troubled because there are genuine issues that are unmet. He needs godly counsel. He needs someone who wants to understand him and the circumstances that have him so troubled. That kind of loving counsel will minister to him effectively.
Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house, Or he will become weary of you and hate you. Proverbs 25:17
Here is a wise proverb concerning friendship that may seem strange at first glance. Having a friend is a wonderful thing - but there are friends who are what some call, "high-maintenance" people. They are the folks who start out as friends - but who soon so dominate your time that you start feeling like you want to avoid them. Yet the more you pull away - the more they seek to dominate your time. You wind up spending hours listening to them every day - and in the end - you wind up almost hating to see them - see their texts - or see their number come up when you look at your cell phone. This is what God is warning against in this proverb.
Friendship does demand some time spent together. This proverb is not encouraging us to be distant to everyone - and rarely spend time with each other. It is just using hyperbole to warn us against being the "over-needy" friend who seems to have to spend every waking moment with their best bud. The warning is to rarely let your foot be in your neighbor's house. The concept here is actually more that you rarely let your foot be there by your own choosing. What is advised is to be a good friend in life - but to be careful about how often you show up at their house. If you are invited, that is one thing, but when you are coming on your own constantly, it can begin to be a bother to them. Therefore, when it is your choice, be careful, be wise, and be somewhat infrequent. Don't be rude - just let your friend be the one who primarily initiates you coming to their home.
The word "weary" is telling us something important here. It lets us understand the hyperbole that is being employed in this proverb. We need to be careful to not "weary" someone else. The Hebrew word used here is "yisbaacha" and it means to be sated or full to the point of sickness. You know the feeling you get when you have eaten so much that you are about to throw up? That is what is being described here - in fact the same concept was used just a verse earlier to speak of eating too much honey. Now it is being used to describe a friend who spends too much time with you - and you are 'sated' with their presence to the point of being - honestly - sick of them. The warning here though is to us! Don't be that kind of friend. Be a friend naer enough to be a blessing - but yet still far away enough to NOT be an annoyance. It takes a wisdom to be able to discern which you are being.
By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, And a soft tongue breaks the bone. Proverbs 25:15
Today's proverb has to do with the power of persuasion - especially when the one who is to be persuaded is someone in authority, like a ruler or a king. How is it that we persuade someone so high in office? The answer might shock you, because the Lord says that it is not the forceful man that will win the day. Patience and gentleness have much greater power to persuade than a blustery, arrogant person.
Forbearance is what is needed, according to our proverb. The Hebrew word here is "orek" and it means something long or lengthy. It describes physical measurements. The word used to describe the length of Noah's ark as well as to describe things like large land measurements. But what is measured as long in this passage is the patience and willingness to stick with one's cause before someone in authority. The idea is that a person forbears the fact that the ruler has a different opinion - and seeks to bring the powers of persuasion to bear on him over time. Most rulers are not given to quick swings in opinion - and when they do - it has the danger of not lasing long. The influence of the wise man is applied to a decision over a long period of time. That is one reason he is effective in getting the ruler to think and reason as he does. William Wilberforce spent his entire lifetime forbearing with those who differed with him on the issue of slavery. Yet he held to his views and continued to persuade men by holding them no matter what the outcome of votes within Parliment. In the end, his willingness to remain in the fight and stay there for years won the day for him and his cause.
There is a second tool that a wise man uses in persuading a ruler. We are instructed that a soft or gentle tongue can break a bone. What a powerful picture that is for us - and yet how contrary to the way that many of us are wired to think. It is not boisterousness and bravado that win the day with the ruler. It is the wise, soft spoken and gentle man who can eventually persuade the king on a matter. Consider Daniel for a moment on this matter. He was a very wise man who had tremendous influence on the king. Yet we do not have a single passage where Daniel speaks impassioned words to the king. Joseph was the same way. He was a man of controlled passions when it came to his dealings with Pharaoh. This kind of strength under control allies great power. The king and the Pharaoh came to have great confidence in these godly men. Their words - though gentle in their presentation - were powerful and could accomplish much.
Of those who led with forbearance and gentle words, Jesus stands more significant among all. He was patient with His disciples - and submitted Himself to God and even to others when He Himself had once sat at the right hand of God Himself. He spoke in ways that made men marvel - and commanded even the elements to submit to His will. When standing before a corrupt pseudo-court of man - Jesus was able to be quiet - even amazing His captors with His behavior. And when it came to raw displays of power - His simple words, "I am He," in the garden caused a wicked mob to stagger backwards and fall to the ground on their backs. Gentleness bearing great power - Jesus was the epitome of it in life.
Too many in our day think that to be influential you have to be a jerk. They see power as something wielded with an iron fist. You don't take anything from anybody - even someone in a position of authority. Such behavior may get you a temporary rung higher on the corporate ladder, but it will NOT bode well for you long into the future. The "gentle-tongued" man does not make the kind of enemies that the man with the macho attitude. He does not leave a trail of crushed egos and smashed careers along the way. The man who triumphs with power and a lack of gentleness will have many who will cheer for his fall. The gentle man learns to break a bone with the gentle and controlled way that he quietly and consistently speaks for his principles. Thus he comes to the point of persuasioin without all the baggage of his blustery counterparts.
Learn to influence others wisely. Learn to stand in positions of principle steadfastly. Learn to persuade others with soft, gentle, bone-crushing power. The power you access in the process will not be that of the fleshly elite of this world, whose kingdoms are passing away. The power you access will be that of the Son of God - Who remained silent as a lamb before His shearers - and yet who crushed death and hell under the weight of His godly obedience to His Father. There, dear saints, is power!
There is no wisdom and no understanding And no counsel against the Lord. Proverbs 21:30
This has got to be one of the most discouraging passages for an atheist or an agnostic. Here they are doing all that they do against the Lord - thinking there is a wisdom that they can have that is not of God - an understanding apart from Him and counsel that goes against what He says.
Yet the facts speak for themselves . . .
No wisdom against God . . . When you hear words that contradict those of the living God in Scripture - it is not a wise thing you are hearing. There may be people who say things that accidently agree with God's Word in the midst of their foolish ramblings. Some may consider them wise - but only because they agreed with a principle found in the pages of Scripture. But when they contradict God's Word - there is no wisdom in that.
No understanding against God . . . Understanding means a discernment, a reasoning or a skill with facts that gives one the ability to see what is coming. Since God is the One Who is from all eternity - and Who knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning - one would think we would get the fact that He is all-knowing. Thus . . . He knows the future - and His Word will always reveal the best course - the one in keeping with understanding. Ever wonder why the so-called "experts" can take all their studies - all their learning - and come up with such inane conclusions? Ever wonder why all the prognosticators get it wrong again and again? It is because they do not turn to God for wisdom - and out of that wisdom gain understanding. They think they can come up with conclusions that disagree with God and still be right. But there is no understanding that is against the Lord. Let them make their forcasts - but we know from the Word of God how all things will go and even more important - how they will all end.
No counsel against the Lord . . . The word counsel here means advice - but even more than that - a plan or a plot. There are those to whom the world goes seeking advice. People like Dr. Phil and Oprah and her constant lineup of false prophets seem so wise - so understanding - and therefore the masses cling to them and to their plans. They think that they will be blessed by following them. But the fact is that there is no plan against the Lord. Oh there are actually thousands of plans and plots against Him - but none that will succeed in the end. I find it fascinating that Oprah and all her spiritual advisers come up with the same basic idea - that we are god and can make our own truth. As we accept that and work within it, we will become better, more balanced people. What do I find fascinating about this? It is the same advice given in the garden. "You will not surely die, for God knows that in the day that you eat, you will become like God, knowing good and evil." That is the same lie that Satan used to deceive Eve. That counsel did not work then - and surprise - won't work now either.
There is something that truly irks me is when I go to a movie or see a show or read an article that drips with man's arrogant self-congratulation over his own counsel. The arrogance of mankind is astounding when we think of how man gathers his own wisdom - makes his own forecasts - and then sets out on a plan - yet God is nowhere mentioned or accessed. Generations have come and will march into dust so sure of themselves and their plans. Yet the ultimate test is the judgment seat of Christ. It is the day when all the plans of man will come to an end. On that day we will know as we have never known before that there is no wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel against the Lord.
I hear the words of the psalmist ringing in my ears:
"Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in
the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! Psalms 2:10-12
Now there is wisdom - there is understanding - and good counsel that will stand well throughout eternity. Get ready to face the Son - honor the Son - worship the Son - for in the end the only wisdom, understanding, and counsel that will matter is that which is in agreement with His.
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the innermost parts of his being. Proverbs 20:27
Here is a proverb that wisely reveals to us the workings of the Spirit of God within a man. One might ask how this imparts wisdom to us. We must remember though the definition of wisdom. That definition is seeing things as God sees them - and thus making decisions that are in concert with His will and purposes. With wisdom defined in this way we can easily see why a verse showing us the workings of the Holy Spirit in man is very valuable to grasping wisdom in our lives. Such information allows us to better understand how God imparts and gives us His wisdom.
The first thing we learn is that the "spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord." A lamp is something we use to give us light. What is being said to us is that the lamp of God is the spirit of man. When God wants to reveal Himself and make Himself and His wisdom known to man, He does so in and through our spirit. By the working of the Holy Spirit - Who speaks in our spirit - we are made aware of the mind and heart of God. Watchman Nee in his amazing volume on the working of the Holy Spirit, The Spiritual Man, spoke of how the Holy Spirit worked in us through our intuition, our conscience, and through something I'll call "our knower." Let's take a look at these three features of our spirit in concert with God's Spirit.
God reveals Himself to us primarily through His Word. As we read and know His revelation of Himself in the Word, the Holy Spirit will speak to our conscience. This might also be referred to as conviction. We are convicted of truth and our conscience speaks to us. This is not some kind of "devil on one shoulder - angel on the other" kind of experience. Instead is it a settled understanding of some things. First is might be that soemthing it true - true about God - true about who we are in Christ - true morally - true in any number of ways. Our conscience speaks to us and we know that it is true (because we see it in God's Word). We also might see that something is sinful. God's Word points out an action, an attitude, a word spoken - and our conscience bothers us as we come to the settled conviction that either we have sinned, or that something is sin. Another way this works is when we are convicted about something as the will of God. Our conscience prods us to act - to speak - to turn away from some temptation or toward an act of obedience - serving in some way - witnessing - and any number of other aspects of walking in obedience with God.
The second tool used by the Holy Spirit is our intuition. This really also fits the idea of our "knower." This is when the Spirit of God works in our spirit to help us just 'know' that soemthig is true. This would speak to the working of God to simply through an intuitive knowledge - to bear witness with the truth. One thing about this 'intuitive' aspect of God's working must be said. That is that God's Spirit will NEVER contradict God's Word in what He grants us as intuitive knowledge. Probably the best way I can describe this working is that we have a sense that someting is wrong - or something is warning us that we are about to sin. There is also a way where we just know that something is God's will and that we should act. Again - this is one of the more subjective ways the Spirit of God works - so this must be tested with God's Word - and a working knowledge of it.
We need to note how God's lamp works in this proverb. We read that it, "searches all the innermost parts of our being." God's lamp - our spirit as the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us - searches us out. Even to the very innermost parts of our being this lamp lights things up within us. The reason this is needed is at least in part because sin has made it difficult to know our own hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that the heart is deceitful above all else and is dsperately wicked. We are told immediately afterward, "I the Lord search the heart." Thus this working by God's lamp is vital to us knowing the truth.
It is wise to regularly - even daily or hourly - submit to the teaching, leading, and searching of the Holy Spirit of God. This work that God does is so very important if we want to know the truth. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to teach us - we know the truth. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to lead us - we will walk in the will and ways of God consistently. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to search us - we will be delivered from sin and from deceiving ourselves by following our hearts instead of being led by the Spirit and the Word. Wisdom - yes this proverb gives us great wisdom indeed.
Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand. Proverbs 19:21
There is a practice among Christians - and honestly - I am ashamed to admit that I have followed this practice at times in my life. The practice of which I speak is that of making plans - carrying them out - and then later blaming them on God or on the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me give you an example of this practice. There was a time when I really wanted to do a certain thing. Over time this plan, which was in my heart, began to dominate my mind and my thinking. One day I decided that I would do it - and honestly - without really taking it to the Lord and seeing if it was His will or not. As "the plans of my heart" continued to be implemented, I would tell people that God had led me to do this - or that the Holy Spirit put this on my heart. Well, as with all plans of men that arise out of their flesh - the plans of my heart crashed and burned. But now my resposne was to tell people God was responsible for leading me into them.
This kind of thing happens again and again in the Christian world. There are people who promise and swear that God is the One who led them into a certain choice or action - when it is pretty clear from a study of Scripture that this choice is unscriptural. I've had people tell me that God was leading them to divorce their wife. I've had young ladies tell me that God was the one who led them to date a non-Christian. They joyfully asserted that God was going to bring their young man to Christ. In the end - someone was converted - but it was not the non-Christian. That is why today's proverb is so important for us to understand.
There are many plans in the hearts of men. These plans reside in a heart that is fallen - and in a heart and mind that desperately needs repentance. As a result, as Paul has said, their understanding is darkened - and they are unable to come to godly decisions. "But I am a Christian," some will assert - as if simply being a Christian guarantees that we will always make decisions in concert with the will of God. The fact is that if we are not renewing our minds with the Word of God we are prone to fatal errors in judgment. The fact is that if we are not denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Christ - we will be sadly mistaken about a myriad of things. The fact is that if we are not trusting in the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding - acknowledging Him in all our ways - He will not be directing our paths. The fact is without these things happening daily - and even hourly - we will be directing our own paths. The "many plans" that dwell in our heart naturally - will be what lead us.
The proverb today tells us that it is, "the counsel of the Lord" that will stand in the end. What is the "counsel of the Lord?" In previous posts we have seen that this word "counsel" refers not to advice given that we can either choose to follow or not. It is not just God's opinion on something that we can reject. The word means counsel that is given that is expected to be followed. This is God's Word - the Scriptures - and when God offers His counsel on a matter - that matter is decided. To do anything else is now disobedience and rebellion against God. I know that sounds harsh to our post-modern way of thinking - but what has post-modernism brought us that will stand in the end?
This proverb is kind of a warning to us. The warning is this . . . you have many plans in your heart. This fact is not denied. The problem is that your plans are not guaranteed to stand. They may be good ideas or they may be bad ones. You may even have plans that succeed according to the ways of this present world. But the fact is that the only plans that will stand are God's plans. Nothing else will stand - ever. And please understand that God is speaking on an eternal basis. It is one thing to have our plans blessed in the short term - but quite another for them to be blessed now, and forever more. Psalm 73 speaks of how David saw the wicked prospering and almost lost his faith over it. But then he came into the sanctuary and into God's counsel. He saw that although their plans were doing well for the short term - in the long term there were serious - even infinite problems with their way of living. In the end they were destroyed and consumed. They fell all at once - and there was no recovery for them. Their plans - all those plans that were in their heart - led them to a short term prosperity here and now . . . but to an eternal judgment in the long term because they had no regard for the counsel of the Lord.
Here is a quick way to make sure your plans are blessed beyond the short-term. Consider how your plans will fare at the judgment seat of Christ. Think using the Scriptures. Think and consider your plans with an eternal outlook. I can guarantee you that a billion years into the afterlife - no one will be patting themselves on the back in hell. They won't be joking about how good they had it back during the 60-70 years they were alive and doing their own thing - living according to the "plans that were in their own heart." They won't find it comforting to see how they "outsmarted God" for a few years while they ignored all His warnings about their choices and behavior. What will be of comfort for all eternity is the fact that God's counsel stood - and will stand forever. The plans of His heart will be established and therefore, it is that counsel and those plans that we should seek to know and follow.
Listen to counsel and accept discipline, That you may be wise the rest of your days. Proverbs 19:20
Two things that are key to being wise are counsel and discipline. If you will heed these two things in your life, you will be wise. According to today's proverb - your wisdom will be with you for the rest of your life.
The first of these two things that bring us wisdom is listening to counsel. The word for listen here is "sama" and it means listenting with a bent to obey what you hear. God used this word in Deuteronomy 6:4
when He said to Israel, "Hear O, Israel," and proceeded to call Israel to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. This was not meant as advice that could be received or rejected. When God called His people to "hear," He meant to hear with a view to obeying what they were about to hear. Wise men "hear" counsel from God and others who love Him - and do so knowing that they will also obey. When we do this we are not listening in order to pass judgment - or to correct all the things that may be wrong in what is being said. We are listening so that we can gather action points which will result in a more specific and joyful obedience to God.
One of the blessings of my life has been having godly men there to teach me and give me good, biblical counsel. Another blessing has been that I had such respect for them as men of God that I rarely if ever thought of questioning anything they said. My heart was set on obeying them as soon as they spoke. They were godly men! Why should I question what they said? Men like John Dale, Brother Russell, and pastor Al spoke with great authority because they used Scripture to make their point. Hearing godly counsel always went hand in hand with obeying what I heard. I felt like I was not wise enough to question them . . . therefore obedience was what I expected to be my response.
I've watched others though, who do question counsel. They do not listen with a bent to obey. They listen with a bent to question everything. In some situations this can be a positive thing - especially when the one counselling you is ungodly - or you get a quick check in your spirit about something that was said. But when you are with godly mentors and people who have consistently offered good counsel - it can be unwise. If we are busy questioning the counsel given - we probably won't know how to apply that counsel in practical ways.
The second thing mentioned here is to accept disciplline. "Musar" is the Hebrew word for discipline - and it is an old friend to us as we walk through Proverbs. Just as a reminder, it means child training from a father. The idea is that we are being not only instructed - but practically guided into a way of choosing. It means corrective as well as instructive discpline. When we move outside certain moral paths - there is corrective action and instruction to help us get back on track and away from moral failure. We are to accept this discipline - to receive it and take it on willingly. We are to be willing to be trained by it - even if the training can be painful at times.
The second half of this proverb actually offers the reward of these two actions. It is a Hebraism that speaks of being wise in the latter end of our lives. When we listen to obey godly counsel - our latter days will be blessed with wisdom. When we accept discpline and submit to the boundaries it provides we will be blessed to be wise in our latter days. The path of our lives will be blessed. The direction of our lives will be wise and filled with understanding. These are things people see in someone and want. They see a wiser man or woman and wish they were wise like them. The problem may come in that they think the wisdom came to them naturally - or was some kind of inherited trait. That is just not true. Wisdom comes when a person listens and obeys others wiser than themselves. It requires humbling ourselves and seeing problems and wrong ideas in our own thinking and working to change them. It requires being disciplined (even spanked when you were little) and learning from it. Wisdom comes to us because we choose to learn - even learn from very hard lessons and difficult moments. The path to wisdom is never easy - at least to the ones who are proud and who tend to bow-up when they are taught or corrected. But for the ones who humble themsevles under godly instruction - and submit themselves to painful lessons - wisdom abounds - and continues to do so all their days.