Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
You can learn wisdom by others’ mistakes. Observation and analysis are great teachers, and Solomon was a master at both (Eccl 1:12-14; 2:11-13). It is your duty to learn from the mistakes of others and to teach your children to do so as well (Pr 19:19; 22:29).
Of course, you can also learn wisdom by observing the good choices and actions of wise men (Ps 37:37; Phil 3:17-21). It is a helpful habit to watch and identify the character or conduct that makes a man either foolish or wise. It reinforces the rules of wisdom.
Solomon here condemned lazy men (Pr 24:30-34). One of the first lessons parents must teach children is to get out of bed, work hard, and finish the job. Laziness is condemned often in Proverbs (Pr 6:6-11; 10:4; 12:24; 19:15,24; 20:4,13; 22:29). Observing and analyzing ants can also teach this wisdom (Pr 6:6-8; 30:25). Solomon knew his son’s success required his own diligence, and he also wanted him to reject lazy administrators.
Poverty is relatively easy to explain. Solomon saw that love of sleep costs many men their financial success. When he viewed derelict homes and property, he realized that the certain consequences of laziness had come to roost at those addresses. Men who enjoy sleeping in the morning and procrastinating in the evening will surely end up poor. Of course, the poor often have their ready excuses, but the facts of life are still the same.
A wise parent can be like Solomon to children. He can point out losers in life and the certain results that come when the Bible is not obeyed. Life can be the lesson guide for social studies in folly and wisdom. Son, do you see the shutters falling off that house? The owner intends to get to them, but he always finds a reason to wait. If he does not fix them soon, the house will eventually fall down, just like the Bible says (Eccl 10:18).
Reader, do you know the Bible well enough to see its proof in the world around you? Can you see the fulfillment of Scripture in the dysfunctional lives and political chaos of this foolish world? Can you teach your children and others the painful consequences of rejecting God’s Word? Do you know how to draw object lessons from creatures small and large (Pr 30:24-31)? Or are you so deficient that this task sounds near impossible?
Why are many homeless men drunkards? Because drunkenness and gluttony bring rags (Pr 23:21)! Why do some children scream in restaurants? They need the cure (Pr 29:15)! Will financial stinginess bring success? No, it will bring poverty (Pr 11:24-26)! Why do some men spend their free time in a boring hobby? Because they are escaping an odious woman at home (Pr 21:9,19)! Are there consequences to adultery? Just death and hell (Pr 9:18)! Is it okay to listen to political activists? If you want to die young (Pr 24:21-22)!
Why is sexual sin and violence so popular? Because it is glamorized on television (Ps 101:3; I Cor 15:33)! Why are Catholic nations often poor? Because from childhood they deny reality by assuming a cracker is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ (I Cor 11:24-25)! Why is there considerable sodomy and pedophilia among their priests? Because they rejected God’s role for the woman (I Tim 4:1-3; Rom 1:27; I Cor 7:1-5)!
Are there profitable lessons by observing good men? Solomon saw those who fear God are successful and should be followed in life (Eccl 7:18). The Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11 provides a great cloud of witnesses proving the profit of believing and obeying God (Heb 11:2; 12:1). And the Lord Jesus Christ, Who suffered willingly to obey God, is now sitting at God’s right hand with great honor and glory (Heb 12:2; Ps 16:8-11). It is your duty and privilege today to follow His perfect example and obtain God’s blessings.