1A wise son hears his father’s instruction,
but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
The smarter someone thinks he is the less likely he is to listen to advice, correction, counsel. There are some glorious exceptions to this and for that we can be very thankful. But it is a general truth that the smarter we think we are, the more we think that we know more than others, the more likely we are to resent being told what to do. We use the intelligence God gave us to deny that we need Him at all.
The irony in this is that the Bible is clear that the mark of real wisdom is the willingness to accept instruction. Those who think they are too wise, too savvy, too smart to be instructed, are giving testimony that they are very stupid. There is no one so smart, so experienced, so well read that he cannot benefit from the input of others.
This is supremely the case for Christians. We live by the instruction of a Book. To refuse to consult it is the grandest sin of all – it is to claim that one does not need God, thank you very much.
“A wise son listens to his father’s instruction” this verse says. This addresses the most difficult teaching learning situation there can be – a father to his son. Fathers sin in two ways here. Some are over anxious to instruct and never give their sons any room to develop in their thinking or behaviour. Other fathers neglect to instruct their sons properly and young men enter the world unprepared because dad was silent. This was David’s problem (I Kings 1:5f). One wonders if the author of the Proverb remembers his father David’s poor fathering and has learned from the mistakes he was forced to be raised under.
In any case, fathers are to realize that God has given them a great responsibility and no matter how difficult, they are to find ways to teach their sons in real wisdom. The souls of their sons and the flourishing of the church hangs in the balance. Fathers need to raise their sons in such a way that they earn the right to be heard by their sons and have raised sons who want to be taught.
This is God’s doing and it is a great work of grace. Fathers, pray to be the teacher that your sons dearly need and, yes, want.