Instruction’s Worth (Proverbs 8:32-36)
Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
Remember that in Proverbs eight, wisdom is personified and is referred to as a lady. She is even permitted to speak to the young person in a very insightful conversation. She also has company – instruction. As wisdom gives her closing remarks in the chapter she has one final admonition in Proverbs 8:33, “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” Instruction has a speaking role in the lives of the young and Wisdom recommends that you and I listen carefully. We are going to see that it could make a life, or death difference.
In this passage we find that instruction can be refused. How does a young person refuse instruction? Several things come to mind. I would suggest that being unfaithful to church is a form of refusing instruction. We could also add that being inattentive while at church is another form of refusing instruction. This happens a lot with young people. When given the option of whether they want to go to church or not, young people often opt to stay home, or do something else besides attend church. Church attendance becomes nullified even further when a young person sits as far back as they can, or slumps down for a nap, or plays on their smartphone all service. Believe me, there are young people who have lived to regret those behaviors.
Other examples may be a non-existent devotional life; no Bible reading, no prayer, etc. Maybe instruction is refused when parental instruction is tuned out. I could also be refused when a godly friend is ignored as they try to hold you and I accountable. These are just a handful of illustrations that represent examples, but the list is much longer for sure.
So, if that is what refusing instruction looks like, then what does receiving instruction look like? Proverbs 8:34 says, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” The emphasized portion of that verse means that the young person who craves instruction is stationed at the gates and the doorposts of instruction, waiting for instruction to open for business. In other words, you arrive early, anxious to receive instruction. I imagine it like saving a place in line super early to get in on a Black Friday deal.
Arising early is a discipline that is not always exciting. We've all been there. You went to bed determined to get up bright and early; and the next day, you find yourself hitting the snooze button. And hitting it again. And again. Pretty soon, an hour has passed, and you’re still groggy and running late. So how do you change this habit and learn to get up earlier? Well, you have to start by establishing a healthy daytime and nighttime routine. That will help you to go to bed faster, and to wake up earlier without hitting that snooze button.
First, don’t overload with caffeine at night. That is going to rob you of needful sleep and cause you to be sluggish in the morning. If you want to go to bed and to wake up without a problem, then skip the caffeine in the afternoon and evening the next time you have a craving.
Second, don’t hit the snooze button in the morning. If you snooze, then you really lose. Your snooze alarm won’t be long enough for you to actually get any more rest, and hitting snooze will only make you fall back into a restless sleep and to waste so much of your precious time. If you have a solid morning routine, it shouldn’t be hard for you to hit your alarm once and to get up and start your day.
Third, develop a routine. That could include some exercise, a nice cold shower, a good nutritious breakfast and a time with God’s Word and in prayer, before you leave home.
Now remember, that is all done BEFORE instruction opens for business (Prov. 8:34). If you get in the habit of a good evening and morning routine, you will be ready to face the world head-on.
There is a huge bonus to treating instruction with such importance. You get life (Prov. 8:35a); you get the favour of the LORD (Prov. 8:35b). By the way, life is also translated age, appetite, living, merry, multitude, (be) old, quick, running, springing and troop in other passages. That sounds like a productive day for someone who shows up early for instruction.The favour of the LORD is the icing on the cake. You will not only have life, but you will want to live it because of the favour of the LORD. This is all instruction’s worth.