Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.Proverbs 23:19
Remember that the context here is a father warning his son of the temptation of envying those who are enjoying sin.
Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.Proverbs 23:17-18
Before he makes this very practical in verses 20 and following, he takes the time in verse 19 to give his son 3 imperatives.
As a young person I am tempted not to listen to those older than me. It’s easy for me to think that I know better. The father tells his son “hear.” Listen. Don’t disregard what those who are older are telling you. There is so much value in learning from the experience of those who have lived longer than we have.
- Be Wise.
This may seem like an obvious statement that has been said over and over in proverbs. So many people ask the question “What is allowed?”, rather than the better question, “What is the wise thing to do?”. Our aim should be for wisdom.
- Guide your heart.
Young people are often told to “follow your heart.” Yet the Bible presents a different prescription.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.Jeremiah 17:9-10
Instead of following our hearts, we must recognize that on our own the heart desires the wrong thing. We need God to transform our hearts. Here the proverb tells us not to follow our hearts, but to, with wisdom, guide our hearts.
I want to submit to you, before we read the next few verses on what can be a controversial topic, that the way we can hear, be wise, and guide our hearts is by having a close interaction with the Word of God.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The Word of God is a voice we need to listen to, the greatest repository of wisdom of all time, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our hearts. We must carefully and regularly listen to and obey what it says.
Recommit yourself today to live according to what the Word of God says no matter what.