Proverbs 8:33-34

Hear Wisdom and Be Wise


Hear instruction, and be wise…

1. Lady Wisdom continues to speak. She represents Divine wisdom.

2. God’s wisdom here commands the readers to HEAR her instruction.

3. Hear: this has been a theme in the book of Proverbs.

a. Prov. 1:5 –a wise man will HEAR and will increase in learning…

b. Prov. 1:8 – Solomon instructs his son to HEAR the wisdom he wants to pass on to him.

c. Prov. 4:1 – the same command as 1:8

d. Prov. 4:10 – the same command with a promise of long life attached.

e. Prov. 5:7-8 – the son is instructed to HEAR what his father has to say about immoral women… hear and stay away!

f. Prov. 8:6 – Lady Wisdom is crying out to young men… HEAR, for she is speaking excellent things!

g. Prov. 8:33 – once again at the end of the chapter—hear instruction.

4. The fact that it is repeated so often implies something: we are prone to let God’s wisdom go in one ear and out the other!

a. Perhaps some of you parents have had to deal with this sort of thing.
• You tell your child once… twice… many times the same thing…
• They heard you, but it seems to go in one ear and out the other.
• You have to repeat it many times before it really sinks in.
• Children are like that. They need to have truth repeated many times.
• As children of God, we are like that too.

b. The repetition of the word HEAR in Proverbs implies that we need to hear it today… but also hear it tomorrow!

c. It implies that we need to be reminded over and over about these truths.

d. Sometimes folks in the local church say, “Oh, I’ve heard that preached over and over again. Why not something new once in a while?” — the reason is because we NEED to HEAR… and to hear repeatedly… because we are PRONE to let these truths slip!

e. Heb. 2:1 – give the more earnest heed to the things which you have HEARD lest at any time we should let them slip!

5. There are different levels of “hearing.”

a. It is possible to hear with the ears, but it goes no farther… it doesn’t sink in.

b. The expression, “He that ears to hear, let him hear” implies different levels of hearing. We all have ears, but we don’t all HEAR.

c. Hear in the Bible often rises to the level of DOING… obeying…

d. James 1:23-25 – it is possible to be a hearer of the word but NOT a doer. That man is a “forgetful hearer.” He heard, but it never went any further than his ears.

e. Matt. 13:14-15 – it is possible to hear and not understand… but notice that Jesus states the reason WHY they cannot understand or see: because THEY have closed their eyes… they didn’t WANT to understand or see… because that makes them accountable.

f. Matt. 7:24-25 – real wisdom is obtained when one hears AND obeys!

g. Ezek. 33:30-32 – some PRETEND to hear, but have no intention of obeying or practicing what they hear.

h.) True hearing is hearing with the ears AND with the heart. It sinks in!
• Prov. 8:32 – hearken here implies obedience. It is the very same word as is translated “hear” in vs. 33.
• Prov. 23:21 – same word again—and it is used as a synonym for “obey your father… hearken to his words.”
• Lev. 26:14 – here hearkening EQUALS obeying. (same word as hear)
• It can hardly be said that a child hearkened to his father if he did not do what he said!

6. Prov. 8:33 – Note that Solomon equates “hearing instruction” with “being wise.”

a. Again, as always in Proverbs, being WISE has nothing to do with being smart. It is not merely an intellectual issue.

b. Rather, being wise is a matter of the heart.

c. Any child of God—regardless of his IQ—can be a wise person… simply by hearing God’s wisdom with his ears and heart… really taking it in.

d. That puts every single believer on the same level. There are many ways in which we are NOT all created equal. Some are born with great wealth; others with great intellect; others with the advantage of great education available to them; while others may be born in poverty; simple minded; no educational advantages possible…
• Yet, when it comes to divine wisdom we ARE all equal! It is obtainable to anyone who chooses it! It is a matter of the heart… and has nothing to do with our education or IQ.
• Hear… and be wise—a command to every believer. It is possible for every believer too… IF we will hear… IF we choose to follow the path Lady Wisdom sets before us.
• Intelligence and education is no guarantee of godly wisdom!

And refuse it not.

1. Once again, Solomon lets us know that obtaining wisdom is a matter of the heart… the will and determination and choices made by the heart.

2. It is possible to choose wisdom… AND it is possible to refuse it.

3. Prov. 1:24-29 – those who refuse wisdom will regret it one day, and wish they HAD it… but it may be too late.

a. Is it ever too late to obtain wisdom? Yes and no.

b. No—in the sense that we can always repent and choose to follow the path of wisdom… but that is a growth process.

c. Yes—in the sense that some folks only want God’s wisdom when they are in a crunch… and the rest of the time they make choices based on their feelings or desires rather than what is best… and when they are in a crunch, THEN they want it—but wisdom will laugh. It is too late then.

Blessed is the man that heareth me…

1. This too has been a theme in Proverbs. True blessedness or happiness comes through following the way of wisdom.

2. Prov. 3:13, 18 – happy is the man…

Watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

1. These two phrases explain to us what REAL hearing means.

2. The man who truly hears wisdom is the one who watches daily at the gates for it…

a. The picture is that of a guard on a city wall near the gate… a watchman… setting watch for the sight of anyone approaching.

b. The one who truly hears is the one who watches daily for God’s wisdom… eyes and ears open… listening attentively… continually…

3. HOW do we watch daily at the gates for wisdom?

a. By reading the word daily… the Bible is the gateway for God’s wisdom to enter our heart.

b. This passage implies that we need the Scriptures DAILY… we need a daily dose of God’s wisdom…

c. It implies that if we are NOT reading the Word daily for our daily dose of God’s wisdom… we are like a guard at the city gate asleep on the job!

d. We are unprepared… perhaps open to attack by the enemy!

e. This implies that we need to be watching our own heart as we read.
• When the guard sees the enemy coming, he is responsible to ACT… to blow the horn and warn!
• When God’s wisdom speaks to our heart through the word, we too need to take heed to the warning… and ACT on it!


f. The sentinel is to watch AND wait.

g. We don’t always like to wait… but it is necessary.
• Often guards watch and seem to see nothing…
• It might even seem boring at times…
• So too with reading God’s word. Some days nothing seems to pop out at us… nothing seems to apply.
• The same is true in our study of the Word at church.
• But the true guard will watch and wait.
• If God is not convicting our heart about anything today… then that is good. But keep on watching and waiting. Sure enough… in time, a warning will sound!
• But if we grow weary and STOP watching and waiting… then when the enemy comes and we NEED to be warned… we will be defeated.

4. Others have seen in this an allusion to watching and waiting at the gate of the Temple… waiting to hear from God.

a. The point is the same in either illustration…

b. The point is that of watching and waiting for God’s wisdom!
• Ps. 25:5 – Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.
• Lam. 3:25 – The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. —– if we need wisdom, God is good to those who wait!

5. This passage also tells us that the BLESSEDNESS spoken of is obtained by the kind of hearing that watches daily… and waits!

a. It is not enough to watch once a month and expect this kind of blessedness. It comes through watching DAILY at the gates!

b. But if we watch for God’s wisdom… and wait for God to speak to our heart… THEN we will receive wisdom, which will bless our lives immensely!

c. James 1:25 – “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

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