Proverbs 10:8 - Wise in Heart
The wise in heart accept commands.Proverbs 10:8a
Our Father has given us commandments to follow. His commandments outline for us the way of thankful obedience. He has delivered us and now He expects us to follow Him in thankfulness.
Of course, this is not easy for us to do. We still have to struggle against our sinful nature, which is not entirely done away with in this life. For that reason the Lord Jesus has commanded us to discipline and instruct each other. And He has also given us the office bearers to teach us and to watch over us.
It is a tendency of human nature, however, to be better at instructing than at listening to instruction. The Lord Jesus warned against this in Matthew 7:3. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” We so easily notice what others are doing wrong, but we are blind to the wrong that we ourselves do, even when someone points it out to us and teaches us.
Proverbs 10:8 speaks about the importance of accepting or receiving instruction. The wise in heart accept commands. To accept a command means to submit to the person who gives the command, which is something that is difficult for us by human nature. We have to pray constantly to the Lord that He may teach us to submit to Him and his commands (LD 48). We also need to be reminded that we ought to submit to each other (Ephesians 5).
The Lord gives us his commands so that we will follow Him in Christ through the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s commands are good; they are designed to give us life and to keep us from straying into evil. But it is our nature to resist those commands because we do not like to submit to God. Nor do we like to submit to the office bearer or to the fellow believer who teaches us those commands or applies them to our life.
Proverbs 10:8 teaches that it is wise to accept commands. The commands referred to in this text are the Lord’s commands first of all. The wise in heart accept these commands. The chattering fool who is mentioned in the second half of this text might give the appearance of wisdom with his many words, providing a bundle of excuses for his behaviour. But the person who is truly wise is willing to accept God’s commands and listen to them, because he understands that this is good for his own spiritual wellbeing, besides being pleasing to God.
Many times the commands of God are conveyed to us through the office bearers and our fellow believers. It is the task of the office bearers to watch over the believers. Also, the believers are commanded to watch over each other. That is part of our task and calling as prophets, that we apply the Word of God to each other’s lives.
If we are not able to listen to and accept the instructions of the office bearers and our fellow believers, then we will not be helped in our spiritual growth. Nor will we as a congregation of believers be able to carry out our prophetic calling of applying God’s Word to each others’ lives. If we are always teaching and never listening, then the teaching has no effect.
The wise in heart accepts commands. We can find many excuses not to listen to instruction. Perhaps we are offended by the way it was conveyed. Or we stumble over the sins that the other person has done. Or we disagree with what was said. But the wise in heart accepts commands despite all these things. And he will be built up in the Lord’s service. He will learn the spiritual virtue of submission, which will stand him in good stead in the Lord’s service.
There is a reason why the “wise in heart” are contrasted with the chattering fool. The chattering fool puts up a smokescreen of words, which allows him to hide from instruction. But the wise in heart simply submits. Thus he learns to follow the path of the Lord, rather than the path he has carved out for himself. The paths we carve do not lead us to life; they lead us away from the path of life. The wise in heart follows the Lord’s path by accepting his commands and this is the path of wisdom which leads to life.