Proverbs 19:20

Hear Counsel


Hear counsel, and receive instruction

A. Hear Counsel

1. Hear—

a. To hear with the ear.

b. To listen to, to hear with attention or interest.

c. To perceive by ear; to understand.

d. To obey; to give heed; submit to an authority and so do what is asked or required.

e. Thus, the term means to literally hear with the ear, but at various levels: (1) hear sound; (2) listen to what is heard and pay attention; (3) to understand what is heard; (4) to obey what is heard.

2. In Proverbs 19:20, Solomon obviously means more than to just hear the sound…

a. When counsel and instruction is given, he means that it should be heard in the sense of listening carefully. (The counsel may be a means God uses to lead or guide you.)

b. He seems to imply here more than hearing and even more than understanding, but obeying. (Responding to the counsel IF it is godly counsel and IF the Spirit leads.)

3. Counsel:

a. Counsel; advice; plans; purpose; to think about a course of action, often including consultation with a counselor or advisor.

4. Solomon’s point here is that counsel is to be heard.

a. It is to be sought out.
• Sometimes counsel comes to us. But sometimes, we have to seek it out.
• People who might be able to give you wise counsel may have wisdom to share, but they cannot read your mind.
• They don’t know the issues in your life about which you need counsel unless you tell them and ASK for counsel.
• Seek, older, spiritually mature believers for advice.

b. It is to be listened to carefully.
• And when they give you advice, listen carefully.
• Even if you don’t like what they say, LISTEN.
• Hear them out.
• It may not be a direction you are comfortable with; it may not be a direction you even considered; but hear them out.

c. It is to be examined in light of God’s Word.
• Be a Berean when it comes to counsel. Hear, but verify… with the Word of God. (Acts 17:11)
• Make sure the counsel lines up with Scripture.
• Remember—not all counsel is good counsel!
• People giving you counsel may not know all the circumstances… and they may give good counsel based on the information they have… but they may not have all the facts.
• Even godly counsel… based on God’s Word is not necessarily what God wants for YOU.
• Counsel is different from Scripture. Counsel is just advice. It is not authoritative. It is not a “thus saith the Lord.”
• Therefore it needs to examined and judged in light of the circumstances and in light of Scripture…

d. It is to be prayed about. (Jas. 4:2) (have not = ask not)
• Godly believers might give you godly counsel (meaning it is not contrary to scripture) but it may not be God’s leading in your life.
• What is MOST important is the leading of the Lord.
• People can offer help, encouragement, words of warning, personal testimonials in similar situations, and statistics, all of which may be helpful.
• But ultimately, sons of God are those who are LED by the Spirit of God.

e. It is to be obeyed if it passes the test.
• If after seeking counsel, listening carefully to it, and putting it to the test of Scripture, and praying about it… if after all that you are convinced that this is the leading of the Lord, then God expects OBEDIENCE.
• What’s the point of going through all that if you are not going to obey anyway?
• If at the end, you are unwilling to obey, then all your seeking counsel was a sham… it was phony… hypocrisy.
• You were PRETENDING to want wisdom and to know God’s will, but when it IS make known and you reject it… then you are discovered to be a hypocrite.
• The whole purpose of counsel is to know and to DO God’s will for your life.

5. Prov. 12:15 – The one who hearkens is wise. What will HINDER a person from taking heed to counsel? PRIDE! So humble yourself and listen! That’s the message here.

B. Receive Instruction

1. Receive:

a. To take, choose, to accept; to agree to.

b. Job 2:10 – Job’s wife just told him to curse God and die and Job responded, “What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”

c. It is used of accepting what God has for us.

2. Instruction:

a. Discipline; chastening; correction.

b. Instruction in the sense of the teaching of principles for living.

c. Sometimes it has the meaning of a warning.

d. While this term is different from counsel, it stands in parallel to it.

e. Counsel often comes in the form of correction or a warning.

f. Used in Prov. 1:8 – “My son, hear the instruction of thy father.”

g. Thus, right from childhood, we are to be receiving instruction:
• Warnings: Don’t play in the street; don’t run in the house; don’t fool around with those knives; don’t touch the stove.
• Correction: “That’s not how you clean your room!” “You’re not wearing that to school!”
• Discipline: “Make sure you get up on time!” “Brush your teeth every day!”

h. Even as Christian adults, we too need to receive instruction: warnings; correction; discipline.

i. It might be from church; through preaching; reading the Word; your boss; the government; etc.

j. II Tim. 3:17 – The BIBLE is God’s book of instructions!

3. Solomon’s instruction in this verse is, that when instruction is given (warnings; correction; etc.) we are to RECEIVE it!

a. Don’t reject it. You are rejecting that which is beneficial… needful… helpful… it might prevent you from falling… from going backwards… from making a big mistake.

b. It might even keep us from sinning against God.

That thou mayest be wise in thy latter end

1. “In thy latter end.”

a. It is not entirely clear what Solomon meant by this expression.

b. It COULD mean in the end of your life.
• In other words, after hearing counsel all your life, you will become WISE in later years.
• This is certain true and this thought is amplified in other passages. (wisdom associated with age)

c. Or it may mean in the latter end of the instruction.
• In other words, if you sit through all the instruction, listen to it and obey, you will be wiser for doing so!
• There is a certain amount of wisdom that is available right away—just for taking heed to wise counsel.

d. Whether Solomon meant that this wisdom comes right away for listening to instruction or whether he meant in the long run (wisdom that accumulates to the end of your life)… the overall meaning is quite similar.

2. Hearing counsel and receiving instruction RESULTS in wisdom.

a. Becoming wise is not based on intelligence here.

b. It is based on submissive spirit. The one who is willing to humble himself and LISTEN… and submit to the counsel given… will BECOME wise.

c. A basic characteristic of a wise man is that he is wise enough to know that he doesn’t know everything. He RECEIVES instruction.

3. There are a LOT of benefits from hearing counsel and receiving instruction.

a. Prov. 1:5 – “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”

b. Prov. 9:9 – “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”

c. Prov. 11:14 – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
• Multitude of counselors: parents; school teachers; church; friends; older mature believers; elders; pastor; Sunday school teachers.

d. Prov. 15:22 – “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counselors they are established.”
• Good counsel can keep us away from dead end streets… from wasting God’s time…

e. Prov. 27:9 – “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.”
• Psa. 55:14 – We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
• Make sure you seek counsel from a good, solid Christian friend.

f. Consider what taking heed to counsel accomplishes:
§ Increases learning; causes you to attain wise counsel.
§ Makes you wiser in the latter end; establishes your purposes.
§ Provides safety; rejoices the heart.

g. These are good reasons to receive counsel and instruction.

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