It is important to listen to those who know more than I do. They have seen things and know things I don’t know. When I’m not sure how good the instructions are that I am receiving, I talk and listen to The One Who is the wisest and Who loves me. This One knows me and will be able to help me.
Hearing is an important component to being wise. Hearing is not the ability to simply hear with our ears. We hear with our eyes. Sometimes our eyes are better listeners that our ears. We hear with our brains. As information comes in, we think about how it fits with what we already know. And, we hear with our hearts. Information changes us and how we feel about things. Because all of this happens when we hear, it is important that we listen to the right information and the right messages.
Instruction in the verse above doesn’t involved just hearing directions about how to do something. It also involves warnings and correction. Proverbs 8:8 reminds me of 2Timothy 3:16 where Paul wrote: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. (2Timothy 3:16).
Doctrine is a part of our lives whether we think about it or not. What we believe about the world and how it operates, our worldview, is our doctrine. This information is the framework for how we live. It is like a roadmap for our life.
Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we make wrong turns. Sometimes other people’s bad decisions create problems for us. When those things happen, we need someone to tell us we are on the wrong road or that there is danger ahead. These mistakes and wrong turns lead us away from our goal. That’s what reproof is: a warning that something is not right. Sometimes we sense these warnings without anyone saying them aloud to us. It’s that feeling in our own heart that something is wrong and we need to stop and reassess the situation we are in. Other times, these warnings come from an outside source. Someone who can see where the road we are on leads and knows the dangers ahead tells us.
Nearly every good reproof or warning comes with a suggestion for corrective action. These are like detour signs that help us get back onto the right road. We might thinking of them as GPS recalculating and rerouting directions. Most of the time, this corrective action means we must make a u-turn and go back to the place where we got off track. Sometimes, the corrective action requires more complicated directions. When we can trust the direction-giver, we know we can trust their directions.
Then, there’s vital information we need to know if we are traveling with others and want to navigate safely. These are the rules of the road and the turn by turn-by-turn directions given along the way. When we are listening and following these general instructions, we know we will eventually arrive safety without creating problems for ourselves or others and/or making the trip better for everyone. We hope everyone else on the road is following the rules of the road and their instructions as well.
Second Timothy 3:16 says that the Bible provides all of this for our lives. The doctrine (the map), reproofs (warnings), corrections (rerouting), and instructions (directions for living) were all give to us when God inspired men to write these things down. He wants us to travel and arrive safely at His home.
Heavenly Father, Help me hear Your instructions and grow a little wiser each day. I will never be as wise as You, so help me always hear with the intention of obeying Your directions. Help me make the corrections needed. And when I refuse to hear and obey, continually convict my heart until I make the u-turn I need to make so that my life is pleasing to You!