Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
Instruction is your life. Everything you know you had to learn. Everything you need to know you must learn. Everything right and true that you learn must be kept securely. Your life depends on being corrected from error and taught truth to know how to live.
If you love and retain instruction to obey it, you will be blessed; if you ignore or reject it, you will be cursed (Ps 50:16-17; Pr 6:23; 8:32-36; 15:32). Learning wisdom should be more important to you than anything else you can desire (Pr 3:13-14; 8:10; 16:16; 23:23).
You cannot know anything without being taught, which means humbling yourself to teachers, whether they are God, parents, pastors, or others. A wise man craves instruction so he can be wiser (Pr 1:5; 9:9; 19:20). Fools despise it to their ruin (Pr 12:1; 13:18). When you find good teachers, learn everything you can from them (Pr 18:1; Acts 10:33).
“Grab the lifeline, and do not let go! You can make it! You can live!” If you were drowning at sea, would you obey these words from a sailor in a rescue boat? You would, for the consequences of not obeying would be certain death. You would, for holding a line is a very cheap price to pay, and an easy effort to make, to save your life.
You may never face drowning at sea, but you will face drowning in the sea of life, when the storms of a foolish and sinful world affect you. Only by keeping instruction will you survive the storm. God has instructed you by parents, pastors, and His word. Have you grabbed hold of this teaching to save your life (Pr 3:18,22; Eccl 7:12; Deut 32:45-47)?
The proverb teaches you how to listen to instruction. You must grasp with understanding what you hear and not let it slip away. The instruction of wisdom is what will save you from dilemmas and dangers of life. You must hold it tight and not let it go. You must retain what you learn. You must remember it. Do not sell it for any price (Pr 23:23).
Jesus described good hearers as those who took His sayings and built their lives on them (Matt 7:24-27). He told of two men, one who built his house on the sand, and one who built his house on a rock. The storms destroyed the house built on sand, but the one built on a rock easily withstood the storm. What do you do with instruction, dear reader?
How much have parents and pastors taught you over the years? How much of it have you retained? Or is most lost, and you need to hear it again? Do you make the same mistakes over and over? Can you quickly and easily apply previous teaching to situations you meet in life? Can you defend what you believe? Here is the lesson: your life is dependent on your retention and application of the instruction you are given. Be a good learner!
When you take fast hold of instruction, you fasten it in your grip. It cannot get away. You secure it in your mind in such a way as to always have it. You commit your life to it. You submit to learn from your teachers, and you promise to not forget their words of wisdom. Do you prove, review, and reflect upon teaching? Do you analyze and meditate upon it until it is part of your very soul and being? If not, why not? It is for your life!
Why must parents, pastors, and other teachers use so much repetition? Most hearers are lazy, stubborn, and easily distracted. They do not appreciate instruction, and therefore they do not make the effort, or take the steps, necessary to keep it. Effective learning requires attention, submission, retention, and application.
Reader, do you love to be corrected and told how to live? Can you reject your own thoughts to consider the thoughts of wise men? Measure yourself by these questions. This is instruction! It is knowledge and rules by which you can save your life. But they only benefit those who retain them. It is for your life. Love correction and instruction.
Instruction is a great blessing from heaven, for most men have been left without much of it by the sovereign judgment of the true and living God (Ps 147:19-20; Is 44:9-20; Matt 10:6; 15:24; 13:9-18; II Thess 2:9-13). God says His ministers have beautiful feet for the instruction they bring you about eternal life and your duties to Him (Rom 10:15).
All churches today would hold perfect apostolic doctrine, if church members had held fast the instruction they were given by the apostles. But men let those precious things slip away to where there are thousands of errors taught today in the name of Christianity. The warning had been given clearly (II Cor 11:3-4; I Thess 5:21; II Thess 2:15; Jude 1:3).
By far the most instruction you have been given is in the Bible. It is a divine library of sixty-six books inspired by God to instruct you completely in all you need for time and eternity (II Tim 3:16-17). This is especially true of the book of Proverbs (Pr 1:1-7; Eccl 12:9-11). How much do you emphasize learning and obeying the Bible, for your life depends on it (Ps 19:7-11; Jas 1:21-25)? What will you do with the Bible today?
If falling from Old Testament truth brought judgment, how much more will falling away from New Testament truth deserve (Heb 2:1-4; 10:26-31; 12:25-29; Rev 2:14-16)? Since Jesus Christ alone has the words of eternal life, have you retained them (John 6:68)? Since the Bible can make the man of God perfect, are you guarding its truth in your life?
Jesus said those who are given much will be accountable for much (Luke 12:47-48). If you have had godly parents and/or pastors, you will be judged according to this blessing of instruction. Have you retained and kept it for the salvation of your life? In the great Day of Judgment, God will examine how you responded to the instruction He sent you.