Proverbs 23:12

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

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Pay attention! This is not a boring proverb. Get your heart and ears into it. The desire for instruction and the willingness to hear correction are marks of greatness and virtue (Pr 12:1; 13:18; Acts 17:11). Very few apply themselves to learn knowledge and wisdom. They are more interested in entertainment and fun. Study sounds far too much like work.

There are great differences among men. Some are winners; some are losers. Some are wise; some are foolish. Men make choices that either cost them wisdom or gain them wisdom. A noble and virtuous man will sacrifice other things in life in order to pursue wisdom, but a fool would rather hear himself talk (Pr 18:1-2; 15:14; 17:24; Ec 10:12-15).

The man who seeks wisdom will have a happy and successful life, for he rightly understands the world, makes profitable decisions, and avoids pain and trouble. But the fool or scorner, arrogant in his own ignorance, goes on and is punished by his confused thinking and horrible decision-making (Pr 17:16; 11:29; 13:15; 14:16; 15:10; 22:3,5).

There are 1,440 minutes in every day. How many do you seek wisdom? How many do you pursue instruction? The average American watches television 3-4 hours, or about 210 minutes, every day – and not a single minute of it teaches wisdom. No wonder the nation is bankrupt financially and morally. Every minute of television costs you a minute for wisdom. Folly is the certain result for fans of Hollywood, spectator sports, or Facebook.

But television is not the only culprit in a pleasure-mad generation (II Tim 3:1-4). What about idle posting on social media, texting, tweeting, movies, magazines, music, sports, hobbies, lawn care, concerts, video games, and Internet surfing, among many more? When a person chooses to exalt these activities, he forfeits the advice given by Solomon in this proverb, for the 1,440 minutes in a day quickly rush down the drain and are lost.

Only a few great men and women will apply themselves to the pursuit of wisdom and reap the wonderful results (Matt 7:13-14). Can you focus on the goal and put forth the effort to learn true wisdom each day? Do you read your Bible daily? Do you attend a Bible-preaching church as often as possible? Do you seek advice from wise and sober counselors before making major decisions (Pr 11:14)? Pay attention to this proverb!

Solomon described a man committed to wisdom. He applies himself in various ways to the goal, and he achieves his objective (Pr 2:1-9; 18:1). But the fool’s mind is always wandering all over the place in its imaginations, even though wisdom is right before him (Pr 17:24; 9:1-6; 14:6; 18:2). So Solomon emphasized the necessity of applying yourself to obtain wisdom (Pr 5:1-2; 7:1-4; 8:32-36; 15:31-32; 22:17-21; 23:19,23; Ps 90:12).

How attentive are your heart and ears after hearing the instruction and knowledge of this proverb? What changes will you make today? Have you read God’s word for it to instruct you and increase your knowledge? Have you asked your parents’ for advice in a matter bothering you? Can you remember what was preached last Sunday? Instruction and knowledge are precious gifts; make good use of them, for life without them is painful.