Posts Tagged ‘Proverbs 4:20’

Be Teachable

Another lesson that we can take from Proverbs 4:20, My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings, is to be teachable. In asking one to “give attention to my words” and “incline your ear to my sayings,” the writer of Proverbs is asking that the student maintain a teachable heart.

The heart is mentioned throughout scripture. Most often it is a weak organ which must be guarded and supervised to avoid problems. For example, we are told in Proverbs 4:23, keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

In Matthew 15:18, Jesus taught, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.”

In Luke 6:45, Jesus says, “a good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

So how does one develop or maintain a teachable heart?

  • Avoid self-righteousness, the need to be important or right in your own eyes.
  • Avoid self-reliance. Learn that faith requires reliance on God rather than self, and that self-reliance and keep us from yielding fully to God.
  • Avoid arrogance. If you feel you are the smartest person in the room, you are not teachable.
  • Avoid laziness. Being unwilling to engage in what God is asking of us because of a lack of diligence make us unteachable as well.
  • Avoid compromise. Allowing compromise into our lives will give us a divided heart and make us unteachable.

The teachable heart desires more of God and less of self. Be teachable.

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I don’t know about you, but in this time of great confusion and conflicting views of the important truths of our day, I find the need to seek the truth that transcends–the truth of God. Wisdom is distilled into pithy, bite-size morsels in the Book of Proverbs. As usual, it keeps its promise to provide guidance for life.

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Proverbs 4:20

In Proverbs 4:20, we receive the imperative, “Give attention to my words.” The Hebrew writing style is evident here, namely the second part of the couplet is a reiteration of the first, “incline your ear to my sayings.” The repeat of the information is an emphasis–as if the author is saying, “hey, this is important, so I’m going to repeat myself.”

If we are looking for wisdom, we need to listen to God. We need to listen to His Word. This will be the only way to survive the pandemic without losing hope or faith or our witness.

But even more than an admonition to listen, God is asking for intentionality and diligence in our approach to our relationship with Him. He is asking us to apply ourselves to the systematic study of His word.

Consider the exhortation of Paul to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

In order for us to “rightly divide the word of truth,” we must know all of it. We must know the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as well as the New Testament. We must know the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) as well as the Prophets. We must know the history of both the Jews and the church.

If we are to rightly divide the word of truth, we must understand its nuance, its context, its geography, its characters. We must exert some energy–get outside of our comfort zone.

It is not a once-a-week passive attention to a sermon. It is not working through a book written about the Bible–it is reading and studying the Bible for yourself. We must let God speak to us. We must meet day by day with the Creator and Author.

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