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.