This proverb reminds us that when we are in a position of authority - often what we want to hear is what we are going to hear. That is why it is so important for rulers, both religious and secular, learn to shun falsehood, lies, and deception in the counsel that they receive. For, as this proverb says if they listen to this kind of thing - all that they will hear in the future is this type of counsel. The end of such a swing in the opinion brought to this leader will be that all his subordinates will become wicked.
To "pay attention" to falsehood here means to listen with an intent to obey or heed the advice given. It has the idea that as the falsehood is offered, rather than reject it, the ruler listens closely and does so with a desire to obey. This means that the ruler's heart has a predisposition to what is false rather than what is true. The Word of God says that a godly ruler winnows the wicked from his presence - and makes sure that falsehood will not be spoken to him as advice.
The worst aspect of this ruler's choice to pay attention to falsehood is the affect it has on his ministers. They will become wicked. Such a ruler tends to not appreciate men who will tell him the truth. To be such a man means that you will speak the truth - even if the ruler to whom you speak it becomes angry and doesn't want to hear it. Such was Daniel - before he was thrown into the lion's den. Such were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego before they were cast into the firey furnace. The king only retracted his actions and his words after he had witnessed God's miraculous deliverance of these men. Only in the case of David do we see a man who is willing to hear the truth - even if it meant a humbling of himself in repentance for his sin.
We need to pray daily that our leaders will be men who value truth rather than falsehood. Included in this prayer is that they will heed biblical truth when it is directly related to legislation that is pending. Such is the case when it comes specifically to both the abortion issue as well as laws concerning sexuality, decency, and morality. Too often over the last 30+ years our elected officials, including our president, have not even considered the Bible when making such decisions. Outside of President Reagan, most of the pro-abortion Republicans have been paper tigers who spoke boldly but carried no stick whatsoever. We've watch laws concerning public decency become nothing more than the latest retreat from biblical morality. It has been disheartening to see issues of heterosexual morality, marriage, and now homosexuality made while completely ignoring the counsel of Scripture. In fact I would have to say that currently one would find themselves shouted down and called the most horrible names to even assert strongly a biblical stance on these issues. It is almost as if these issues are non-issues any longer. They are definitely not the front-burner issues that they should be. We think the greatest issue is the economy - and yet God WILL NOT bless our economy as long as we continue to abort 4000 babies a day and condone as an acceptable sexual lifestyle what He calls an abomination. We need a president and a Congress who once again listen to and value the truth. Until we do - not only will they be making wrong decision after wrong decision, but they will also be surrounded by more and more aids who are wicked - because their bosses listen to falsehood.