Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.—Proverbs 22:17-19
Here we have very clear commands on how to respond to words of wisdom:
- Incline our ears- implying that we make the effort to lean in and make sure we are listening
- Hear the words- listen well, listen humbly
- Apply our hearts to God’s knowledge- take time to ponder, to memorize and meditate on God’s Word and understand it
This is a good and wonderful thing! If we treasure Gods’ Word in our heart, hide it away deep inside us, it “will be pleasant” for us. Those words will be readily-accessible to us as we talk with others, “ready on our lips.” Spurgeon once wrote that if a person were to “prick John Bunyan…he will bleed Bible.” Would you “bleed Bible?”
Another benefit we see in verse 19, as it begins with a small but important conjunction, “That…” This is the desired outcome of the Word (hearing it, applying it, treasuring it…). God gives us His Word, ultimate wisdom, SO THAT we will TRUST in Him. That is WHY He makes these words of wisdom know to us. And the writer is very specific here- God makes them know to “YOU today, even to YOU.”
TRUST in Him, know His Word, so that, when the troubles of life come (and they will) you will have ready, bubbling up out of your heart and mind His infinitely valuable Word! Begin by paying attention, listening, reading and applying. Begin today.