1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;Proverbs 4:1-4 NIV
pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
3 For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
If you are new to Proverbs, here’s a brief synopsis. It’s a book of wisdom. How does one get to be a “wise guy?” Solomon tells us it’s experience. Live. His father gave him sage guidance for life when he was still young. The first piece of advice was this: “Listen to me, sonny!”
That’s right, the first wise thing a person learns from a wise person is to…listen to wise people.
If I needed to fix my car, I would want the advice of an expert. Solomon says he had his dad, King David, as his guide in learning to be wise. Scripture also teaches us that Solomon asked God for the wisdom to rule his people. (1 Kings 3:1-5) God gave him godly wisdom and also riches and power that he did not ask for.
The beginning of your journey in wisdom is to listen to those who’ve gone before you.
This doesn’t mean that they are right just because they are older or more advanced. It does me we should not dismiss people and their guidance based on those two characteristics.
The advice and instruction goes further in verses 10-13.
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,Proverbs 4:10-13 NIV
and the years of your life will be many.
11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.
The truth is, we do become dismissive of the older generation, qualifying that they couldn’t possibly relate to or understand our situations. The truth is, they’ve been around long enough to see major life events twice (or more). They’ve got what we call “perspective” and it is perspective that helps them give wise advice. So next time your elder comes to you to tell you about something, some advice about your life…don’t roll your eyes and walk away. Take what they say into consideration and a grain of salt. Ultimately it is our responsibility what we do with wisdom.