Proverbs 1:7b-33 – What Are We Listening To?

A Study of the Book of Proverbs

What Are We Listening To

Proverbs 1:7b-33

The last part of verse 7 serves as a good introduction to this passage, as verse 33 serves as a good conclusion.  It says that “fools” despise wisdom and instruction. The word for “fool” here is in reference to the wicked. It comes from a word that means to pervert, and applied to the context, it is someone who perverts God’s way, the wicked, or the unsaved.  (Reference Psalm 14:1; 53:1)

The passage before us is one dealing with hearing to obey what the voice of righteousness has to say.

This passage has the words “my son” found three times; it’s found 23 times in the book of Proverbs.  It begins with instruction from the father and mother to the child. It would behoove us to make sure we give proper teaching to our children and that the children take heed to what they’re told.  There are two passages that deal with the responsibility of the child, and how God views it – Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:1-2. In Exodus the fifth commandment is the one regarding children and it is closely related to God’s view of man’s view of God, namely that He is to receive the preeminence.  God looks very closely at how we respond to our parent’s instruction when we’re young.

Exodus 20:12  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

Ephesians 6:1-3  Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  (2)  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  (3)  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

I.  The benefit of listening – vs. 8-9

A.   Gives discipline for life from the father – vs. 8a

1.  “Hear” – literally, to hear intelligently, implying we’re to listen with the intent to obey

2.   “Instruction” – word meaning discipline, in other passages translated chastisement.

1 Samuel 2:22-25  Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.  (23)  And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.  (24)  Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress.  (25)  If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.

3.   “Thy father” – specifically “thy” – not that someone else’s father is not to be obeyed, but we’re not to be concerned with someone else’s father and what they say, but are to be obedient to our own father.

This is also a message upon the father – make sure we are disciplining properly.

B.   Gives how to live from the mother – vs. 8b

1.   “Forsake not” – comes from a word that means to pound or to smite, by implication, the child is not to push his mother away as if she doesn’t know anything.

2.   “Law” – a precept or a statute – as the Law of God given to Moses was not to be strayed from, neither is the law of our mother to be strayed from.  It is to be obeyed.

3.   “Thy mother – same as with “thy father”

C.   If listened to, they will be a reminder to us throughout life – vs. 9

Listening to them is more beneficial than any wealth the world has to offer for through them we can learn how to handle anything life has to offer.

1.   “Ornament of grace unto thy head”

This was a garland that they wore on their head signifying victory or position.  When we listen and obey our parents, their laws for us will be to us victory over the world.  We will not be so concerned about what the world has to offer.

2.   “Chains about thy neck”

This was done by a king to someone he wanted to honor with position.  When we obey the laws of our parents they will elevate us to a position above the world, untouchable by the worlds entices.

1 Timothy 2:9-10  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;  (10)  But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

II. What to listen for – vs. 10-19

There are two people seen here – people representing voices that we can listen to.  The first one is the voice of our foolish peers, people that we would listen to if it weren’t for the other voice.  Many people do, in fact, listen to the first voice, even when they know they shouldn’t. What needs to be taught to our children, and what needs to be learned ourselves, is to learn to listen to the right voice.

Most of the Proverbs list the negative first, and then the positive to put emphasis on the point.  It’s not necessarily the way to teach in every application, but the way they are given is to make sure we understand there are consequences to wrong actions.

A.   The wrong voice – vs. 10-14

1.   It’s an enticing voice – vs. 10

a)    “Sinners” – unsaved

b)    “Entice” – literally, to open, make roomy – be open to the wrong advice

Matthew 12:43-45  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.  (44)  Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.  (45)  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Romans 16:18  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

c)    “Consent thou not” – literally, to breath after, in other words, don’t say as they say, don’t do as they do, don’t go where they go.

2.   It’s a destructive voice – vs. 11-12

Micah 7:2  The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.

3.   It’s a greedy voice – vs. 13-14

Job 24:2-3  Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.  (3)  They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

B.   The right voice – vs. 15-19

1.   It’s a voice of understanding – vs. 15-16

a)    A voice to give us direction when the way is unclear – vs. 15

The right voice understands where the wrong voice wants to take us and it doesn’t allow us to go there.

b)    A voice that tells us when there is danger in the way – vs. 16

2.   It’s a voice that recognizes the traps of the devil – vs. 17

It’s pointless to spread a net to trap a bird when he is watching, and that is what is happening if we are listening to the right voice – the snare is set in our site, as we soar above the trap

3.   It’s a voice that recognizes the philosophy that you reap what you sow – vs. 18-19

III.  What happens if we don’t listen – vs. 20-33

A.   We don’t hear the right voice – vs. 20-23

B.   Destruction follows the lack of listening – vs. 24-27

C.   Separation from God ensues – vs. 28-32


Conclusion:  Verse 33 is a fitting conclusion to this passage.  It says that those that obey what they hear (the art of listening) will live “safely” – without harm to their soul and be “quiet” from evil – will not be a participator in it.  All of our future hinges on how we listen.

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