As I read though this chapter, one of the things I noticed was a handful of verses talking about taking criticism and counsel, and what type of counsel we give others. This starts in verse 1.
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.
When we mess up, how do we accept it being questioned or pointed out? Do we want to grow and not make the same mistake again, or do we hate to be told we messed up? This verse doesn’t pull any punches. If you hate reproof, you are stupid.
Verses 5 and 6 continue this:
The thoughts of the righteous are just,
But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.
Where are we getting our counsel from? Are we listening to the righteous, or to the counsel of the wicked? If we are listening to the wrong people, we have a serious problem. Their words are lying in wait for blood. They are working to drag us down with them. We need to make sure we are surrounding ourselves with people filled with Godly wisdom, and listening to their counsel.
Verse 15 says:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.
Maybe we aren’t listening to the wicked, but we also aren’t listening to the wise. Instead we think we know it all and don’t need to get help from anyone else. Maybe we are ashamed to admit we don’t know how to deal with a problem we have and because of that we try to deal with everything on our own. No matter what the reason, we are a fool if we do not seek counsel.
We need to get counsel from wise and righteous people. We also need to give wise counsel, and in some cases this may mean admitting we don’t know the answer.
There is a ton of other things we can learn from this chapter so take time to look it over. The chapter ends with a familiar sentiment:
In the way of righteousness is life,
And in its pathway there is no death. (Proverbs 12:28)