Proverbs 13:1

Hearing Instruction


1. The first three verses of this chapter all deal with the subject of speaking.

2. A wise son pays attention and takes heed when his father speaks. A foolish son is a scorner… he does not hear rebuke.

3. This is a theme that occurs several times in Proverbs… one that God felt was worth repeating.

1a A wise son heareth his father’s instruction…

1. Earlier in this book, Solomon gave wise instruction to his son. (4:1-12)

a. vs. 1 – “hear”—one of the greatest desires on the heart of any parent.

b. vs. 2 – the parent has instruction that which is “good” for the child. The parent knows how good it is. The child is often skeptical.
• That’s how it was in the Garden of Eden…
• God’s instruction was good for Adam and Eve…
• But they thought He was holding back something good from them… they would be like gods…
• By restricting them from the tree of knowledge, God was not preventing them from enjoyment… He was keeping them from evil—and from the awful consequences of evil!
• Somehow, man became convinced that they would be better off—have more fun—if they could ignore the instruction of the heavenly Father.
• So has it ever been since with the sons and daughters of Adam.

c. vs. 3 – Solomon knew what he was talking about. He was once the son. He knows what his son is going through.
• So too with every parent today.
• We have all been on the other side… we were all once kids listening to our parents.
• We all remember thinking we knew more than they did.
• We all remember how foolish and restrictive our parents’ rules seemed at the time.
• And we have all grown up—and realize NOW how necessary they were… and that they were for our good.

d. Consider the GOOD this parent wants for his child: (Prov. 4)
• vs. 6 – she shall preserve thee… and keep thee
• vs. 7 – get wisdom—it is the most important thing in life
• vs. 8 – she will promote you… bring you honor…
• vs. 9 – she will be an ornament of grace; deliver you.
• vs. 10 – she will add years to your life.
• Vs. 12 – she will keep you from stumbling…
• When parental instruction is so GOOD for you, it’s hard to grasp WHY young people seem to fight and kick against it so… except for the fact that we have all been there…

e. The parent KNOWS from experience how important God’s wisdom is. The child has not yet learned that from experience.
• Hence, the child has to take it by faith…
• The child has to TRUST his/her parents… and BELIEVE that the instruction dad or mom gives is for my good—even if I don’t see how right now… “trust me—it’s for your good.”
• They have to believe that their parents love them and are giving such advice or counsel out of love and for my best interest.
• That is how we walk with God too. We don’t always see how or why God does what He does, but He encourages us to TRUST Him.
• And when we don’t trust Him… and do things our own way… it grieves God. It grieves parents too…
• Because both God and parents KNOW that there are some awful consequences of not following the way of wisdom.

2. Wisdom listens to instruction.

a. The book of Proverbs was written for this purpose—of passing on vital instruction to young men and women.
• Prov. 1:2-3
• Prov. 1:5 – a wise man will HEAR
• Prov. 1:7-8

3. Receiving instruction is GOOD for you!

a. 8:10 – receive my instruction and not silver (better than money)

b. 8:32-34 – hear; hearken; don’t refuse; blessed is the one who hears

c. 9:9 – give instruction to him and he becomes wiser

d. 10:17 – it keeps you in the way of life

e. 13:18 – but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured

f. 15:5 – but he that regardeth reproof is prudent

g. 15:32 – he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

h. 19:20 – ?Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.?

i. 20:11 – when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

4. It HURTS to be rebuked, but it is good for us in the long run.

a. It is often humiliating, hard to take, ego crushing, and embarrassing, but that is how we learn!

b. Prov. 27:6 – “A friend means well, even when he hurts you.”
• A friend is willing to wound you or me… not because they like to wound, but because they don’t want their friends headed down the wrong road.
• Count your critics as friends. (That’s hard to do… but true!)
• A friend is willing to wound a friend because they want us on the way of life… not death.
• The same is true of a parent and child…
• When a parent gives instruction… and reproves… or corrects, it is for the good of the child.
• The same is true of elders and members of the Body…
• The same is true in the workplace as well…

1b But a scorner heareth not rebuke.

1. How can a person ever correct a fault if we don’t admit we have one, and we refuse to be told of it, and who make enemies out of those who point it out?

a. That person is doomed to a life of failure and faults that NEVER get corrected.

b. If the person refuses correction and instruction, then he will never correct those faults… they are his for life.

c. This is WORSE than the man in James who looks in the mirror and walks away, forgetting what manner of man he was. This man refuses to look! He will walk around with dirt on his face…

d. This of course, is the result of PRIDE. Pride refuses to acknowledge its faults… refuses to admit that it needs to change… and hence, pride keeps a man from changing.

e. It takes a healthy dose of humility to accept instruction and reproof.

f. But the proud man who refuses to hear a rebuke is doomed to live with his faults forever.

2. Some people even HATE or despise being corrected.

a. Prov. 5:12 – “how I hated it!”

b. Prov. 15:10 – correction is grievous to the one who has broken the rules!

c. Prov. 15:12 – a scorner loveth not one that reproveth him; neither will go unto the wise

d. Prov. 3:11 – despise not the chastening of the Lord (same word)

e. Young people sometimes HATE being rebuked by their parents.

f. Older folks sometimes despise the chastening of the Lord.

g. This is the same heart problem… despising authority… self rule… stubbornness… pride… all rolled up into one big, bad attitude.

h. But no matter how uncomfortable it FEELS… no matter how embarrassing… humbling… the right response is to submit!

3. There are serious consequences:

a. Prov. 5:11-13 – the pain and regret of not listening…
» These are the words of the man given to lust at the end of his life. He’s looking back over his life of sin.
» He has already experienced all of the consequences of his sin.
» Now he knows what people had warned him earlier.
» Now he has lost his honor, his wealth, his health, his respect…
» At the end of his days he has nothing… and he laments his life of poverty, disease, and disgrace.
» People warned him of the dangers and the consequences, but he hated the instruction… he despised the reproofs… back then he didn’t want to listen to anyone. He just did his own thing.
» Now he realizes how he has wasted his life… he should have listened, but it is too late now. “If only I had listened…” seems to be the intent of this verse.
» This seems to be the most painful of the consequences… living the rest of his days knowing that the shame, disgrace, poverty, and poor health is all his fault! Living with the guilt… the stinging conscience… the regret… the irretrievable loss… hurts!

b. Prov. 10:17 – but he that refuseth reproof erreth?
• He not only errs by not listening… but he is on a road of continually erring!
• Erreth = to wander about; stagger about; as a drunkard

c. Prov. 12:1 – but he that hateth reproof is brutish
• Brutish: like a brute beast; stupid.
• The one who hates reproof is behaving like a beast… an animal… mindless… no conscience… no heart…
• It is behavior based solely on the gut feeling… like a beast.
• Brutish is not a compliment!

d. Prov. 13:18 – ?Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction…

e. There are serious consequences of not listening to instruction: regret, a life of wandering, poverty, shame… need we go on?

f. Prov. 15:10 – it gets worse. It can lead to death!
• Johnny, don’t you dare try drugs!
• Johnny, don’t take a ride with those kids who drink!

g. The point is well made: LISTEN to instruction!