Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
Here is the cry of a wise and loving father to his son. Here is the cry of a wise and loving God to His children. There are three steps to success and prosperity that please natural fathers and the Father in heaven. You must hear the instruction of truth and knowledge; you must choose that wisdom as your own; and you must direct your affections and choices accordingly. If you never had such an earthly father, you do have a heavenly!
You must first hear truth and wisdom. You arrived in life foolish, helpless, ignorant, irresponsible, and rebellious. You needed an incredible amount of instruction to learn the simplest facts and perform the most basic functions. Your potential in life was and is totally dependent on the amount of instruction available to you. Most men remain very ignorant of basic knowledge and understanding. They had or have no good teachers.
However, if you are reading this proverb and commentary, then God has given you teachers before this moment and one at this moment. Your future is in the balance. What will you do with the instruction? Will you skim these words in a few seconds and forget them? Or will you consider them? The proverb requests that you hear what is said. God has not left you without teachers, for He has sent preachers to teach you wisdom, just as He promised (Ps 68:11,18; Eccl 12:9-11; Jer 3:15; Eph 4:8-15; Rom 10:13-17).
But will you hear them? Will you read with attention and respect for the instruction? It is not in your nature to do so. You think you are smarter than your teachers. You value your opinions above those of others. You do not like to be corrected. Solomon warned in other places that men foolishly presume they are right and reject instruction of their teachers to their own ruin (Pr 16:2,25; 21:2; 26:12). Sons! Listen to your father and Father.
There are many voices to distract you. CNN, MTV, BBC, ESPN, and others want to be heard – vain and profane babblings. The Internet confirms the information explosion of the information generation, but they have no truth (II Tim 3:6-7). Compromising and worldly Christians have heaped up teachers to scratch the lusts of your itching ears (II Tim 4:3-4). But there is only one source for pure truth and wisdom – the inspired words of God in the Bible (II Tim 3:14-17; 4:1-2). You must seek them and hear them.
You must then accept instruction. Knowledge must enter your mind and soul; it does this when you receive what is spoken and adopt it as your own (Pr 2:10; 24:14; Acts 17:11). Most love to talk about their foolish thoughts rather than hear the words of wisdom (Pr 18:1-2). They would rather teach than be taught. They have a burden in their lips, when it should be in their ears! Though they have two ears, their one mouth dominates!
When you have adopted wise counsel and instruction as your own, when you have committed yourself to the knowledge you were given through your ears, you will be wise. You have a mind, soul, and spirit that understand and know the truth of the universe, your role in it, and what you ought to do in most situations. You have acquired prudence and understanding, but you have not yet reached your objective.
You must direct your heart – your affections, emotions, and preferences – to the things of truth and wisdom. Love is not a power outside your mind or body that influences you. Cupid shooting arrows of desire into your heart is both pagan and stupid; such desires are only the lusts of fools. True love is the intention of your heart for some thing, and your mind must direct your love to what is wise and good, as loving God your Father.
God has defined the way you should live in the Bible (Ps 119:128). He has described the extreme importance of heaven and things above (Eccl 12:13-14; II Cor 4:18). Wisdom in your mind must direct your heart to love God, heaven, and the way He has chosen for you (Col 3:2; Ps 119:36,112; Rom 12:1-2; I John 2:15; Jude 1:21). This is the true God, the true religion, and true wisdom. And it all begins with hearing! What will you do?
Find yourself a teacher who will give you the certain words of truth, by which you can acquire wisdom (Pr 22:17-21; I Pet 2:1-3). Hear him! Accept and adopt as your own the wisdom he gives you from God’s word. Then direct your affections and preferences away from foolishness and this world and toward godliness and heaven. You will please your Father and avoid all the things ready to ruin you outside His way (Pr 23:15-18,20-35).