He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
Here is wisdom! This is one of Solomon’s most valuable lessons. You may not fully appreciate the power and wisdom of this proverb, but it is the greatest indicator of your character and future success or trouble. Obeying instruction and warnings is clear proof you are noble and wise. Refusing correction and reproof is clear proof you are foolish and profane. The rule is inspired; the diagnosis is totally accurate. How do you measure up?
You arrived in life knowing nothing at all. The only way you could progress beyond that ignorance was to listen, learn, and obey. Some do not progress beyond childish thinking by these steps to wisdom, while others grow rapidly in knowledge and understanding. If you do not humble yourself to obey the instruction of teachers, you will be forced to learn the lessons of life the hard way – by painful misery and trouble in your life.
The key to wisdom and honor is humility – the ability to reject your thoughts in order to listen and obey others (Pr 15:33; 18:12). What hinders you from fully obtaining wisdom and honor? Pride! It leads to arrogant and selfish rejection of the opinions of others, which leaves you alone with the foolish imaginations of your own depraved and ignorant heart (Pr 18:1-2). Pride cannot bear to be corrected or taught by another. A man too proud to be taught is worse than a fool (Pr 26:12). Grasp this simple lesson! Love correction!
Are you free from pride and able to humble yourself before the instruction and reproofs of others? Do you always wear your shoulder harness while driving? Drive within the speed limit? Obey the premarital counseling you were given? Follow the employee handbook on your job? Complete the maintenance schedule on time for your automobile? Do what your husband asks that very day? Abide by all your parents’ rules and requests?
The need to humbly obey correction and instruction is emphasized in Proverbs (Pr 12:1; 15:5,10; 17:10; 29:1). The rest of the Bible emphasizes it as well. Hearing and doing brings blessing and safety (Matt 7:24-27; Jas 1:21-25). Why did Paul warn, “Despise not prophesyings” (I Thess 5:20)? Many do not want a preacher telling them what to do. They hate being corrected from the pulpit. They are fools headed for destruction!
The simple lesson of this proverb proves two things – your character and future. It is as true as gravity! Wise men love to be taught, and they become successful (Pr 9:8-9). Fools hate to be corrected or reproved, and they will be destroyed (Pr 9:7; 12:15; 14:16). Wisdom promises to laugh and mock at fools, when their calamity comes, and wise men laugh with Lady Wisdom, when they witness the pain and trouble of a fool (Pr 1:20-33).
Though eternal life in heaven is an unconditional gift by the grace of God through the merits and efforts of Jesus Christ, it is confirmed by keeping instruction. Doing the will of God is one of the great evidences of eternal life that makes your calling and election sure (Matt 7:21; I Thess 1:2-4; Heb 5:9; II Pet 1:5-11). Those that disregard God and disobey His gospel will be destroyed in fiery vengeance that is coming (II Thess 1:7-10).