Hearing Instruction

Proverbs 1:1-9, 20-23; 8:33-36 — Are you hearing instruction from parents and wisdom?

This passage talks about hearing instruction and heeding reproof and having the fear of the Lord.

Introductory questions to chew

What profit can I earn from receiving and hearing instruction?

Have I become so wise that I need not listen to another’s instruction?

I have knowledge; on what foundation shall I build with it?

What develops beauty in my character?

Is there anything that would cause me to turn from wisdom’s reproof?

How may I win God’s favor?

Find some answers to these questions here: Profiting from Instruction

Hearing Instruction -- Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not (Proverbs 8:33)

The Fear of the Jehovah

The first seven verses of Proverbs tell us the purpose of the book. In it God presents a lifestyle distinguished by the pursuit and practice of wisdom. Throughout the book, the LORD elevates wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, subtlety, knowledge, discretion, attention, learning, and counsel. He also draws clear distinctions between the wise (who will hear and learn) and the fool (who holds wisdom and teaching in contempt). Perhaps most importantly, Proverbs establishes the fear of the LORD as the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge.

The fear of the LORD is the central theme in, the overarching truth of, and the essential basis for Proverbs. The fear of the LORD is foundational both to gaining and to living by wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). Though this seems like circular reasoning, the fear of the LORD is found in obedience as well as in seeking out wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-6). Wisdom and the fear of the LORD are inseparably linked.

The fear of the LORD is Proverbs’ most basic, most essential relationship: the heart of man in tune with his Creator. The expression encapsulates the reverence, awe, and honor we must have toward the Most High. It speaks of love and devotion, of delight and nearness, of singleness of heart.

Those who fear the LORD live according to His ways. They harmonize with His righteous standards. In Him they thrive and find fullness. From Him they receive generous blessings.

Ask God for a singleness of heart for Him; that is, a heart is focused on this special relationship with Him. Choose to learn God’s ways. Expose your spirit to His Word. Commit yourself to walk in God’s ways. Ask Him to remind you of Him. Ask Him to live His life in you. “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God” (1 Chronicles 22:19).

Thought Snippets from the Lesson Text

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels” (Proverbs 1:5).

  • The wise man is no know-it-all, so he listens and learns even more.
  • He who truly understands gets counsel from others, and thereby acquires wisdom.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

  • Does my response to instruction and wisdom depend on who the giver is?
  • Israel learned the fear of the LORD in connection with knowing God’s Law (Deuteronomy 31:10-13).
  • Those who have this relationship with the Omniscient One can know right, both intellectually and experientially. Knowledge unshackled from the fear of the LORD eventually unleashes catastrophe. The fear of the LORD “is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10) as well as “the instruction of wisdom” (Proverbs 15:33). It also is “a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:27). Wisdom and life — traits of man’s restored relationship with Jehovah!

“My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8).

  • Hear, hang on to, and live out the teaching and guidance from your parents.

“For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:9).

  • That teaching and guidance will bring the ornament and beauty of grace upon you.
  • Will my rules make my children more attractive? In living by my laws, will my children become more gracious and graceful and grace-full? I want my children to value my rules as they would jewels. Then let me make sure that my rules are jewels!

More observations from the lesson text:

  • Listen to wisdom, not the enticement of sinners mentioned in verses 10-14 (Proverbs 1:20).
  • Wisdom said, “I have subtilty, knowledge, and discretion as well as learning and wise counsels.” (Compare Proverbs 1:4,5,22.)
  • The proper response to reproof is to turn back from the folly it addresses (Proverbs 1:23).
  • Attend to counsel (Proverbs 8:33).
  • As love-sick young man who hangs out close to the home of the damsel who has captured his heart (Proverbs 8:34).
  • The Lord favors and gives life to those who thus find wisdom (Proverbs 8:35).
  • Those who sin against wisdom defraud their souls and despise life itself (Proverbs 8:36).

Additional reading about hearing instruction

Now we are listening for you...

Above all, love God!
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