For many, the Word of God is not precious. Fools reject the Bible and its wisdom (Proverbs 23:9). Indeed, a continual lack of interest in the preaching and teaching of Scripture is one of the warning signs of a false faith. The natural or unspiritual (aka “lost”) person does not understand the Word of God or see it as important to their life; it is foolishness to them because they lack the presence of the Holy Spirit inside them applying the truth to their heart (1 Corinthians 2:14).
But to the born again believer in Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God is beautiful and lifesaving. When true Christians are warned not to take advantage of the poor, the weak, and the helpless, for example (Proverbs 23:10), they listen. They really do believe that God is a protector of those who cannot defend themselves, and they do not want to oppose God (Proverbs 23:11). A Christian who is right with God does not bully others. He or she does not want to be with or be like those who bully others or who disobey their parents and teachers. They do not “envy sinners” because they fear and love the Lord instead (Proverbs 23:17).
At the heart of every Christian’s obedience to the Lord is the powerful belief that God’s wisdom will save their lives, both in this world and the next. Christian children and teenagers receive the correction of their parents and teachers because they know that godly counsel and guidance will save them from suffering in this life and is proof of their inheritance in heaven (Proverbs 23:13-14). You see, by willingly obeying their parents and other authorities now, young people are learning to obey the Lord as adults. That obedience is not what saves us from hell, but it is the biblical evidence of a real faith in Christ. A heart-changing trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus for the cleansing of our sins is absolutely what DOES save us from hell. And when that faith is genuine, it leads to a new life of joyful obedience. As Jesus said, “If you love me, [you will] keep my commands” (John 14:15). Saving faith produces wisdom and joy in people’s lives. This will be seen in many ways as saved people lead changed lives, but it is most noticeable in their words that are now seasoned with love and grace (Proverbs 23:15-16).
So what is the attitude of your heart today? Is the Word of God foolishness to you? Or do you love it as precious knowledge that restores your soul (Proverbs 23:12)? Do you believe that there is live after death? Do you believe that by following Christ’s path of wisdom, you can look forward to the hope of heaven forever with your Lord and Savior (Proverbs 23:18)? Then apply your heart to God’s wisdom today and let it fill your soul with the joy of eternal life.
The Text (Proverbs 23:11-18)
9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not remove the ancient landmark, Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;
11 For their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction, And your ears to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die.
14 You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.
15 My son, if your heart is wise, My heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself;
16 Yes, my inmost being will rejoice When your lips speak right things.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
18 For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.
Questions to Think About
- When did reading the Bible on your own first become important to you? Was it right before or soon after your salvation? Or did your devotional life develop later?
- Do you usually approach Bible study as way to enjoy life with Christ or a chore that you ought to do?
- Are your more obedient to your parents and teachers since accepting Christ or rededicating your life to Him? Explain.