“A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1).
In this couplet resides the summary of everyday experience; the person who listens to counsel benefits, while the resistant one spurns potential blessing.
In the first half of the verse, the route of communication is a conversation between a father and son in proper relation. The father obviously has dealt well up to this point with his son, because the chain of command is intact; respect for authority and openness is evident. As a result, the father speaks easily, and the son listens attentively. The father’s wisdom becomes the son’s, and the exchange is spoken of as “instruction”-that powerful tool which passes on careful thoughts and insightful behavior.
But in the latter part of the verse, no natural relationship is mentioned. There are words spoken, but no communicating. It is a verbal battle scene in which one party is admonishing a second for poor performance. The second has shielded himself from the attacks by screening out the rebuke. Oneness has turned into conflict and irreconciliation.
Many is the father whose advice is rejected by his son-whose rebuke is scorned. Likewise, our Heavenly Father all too often finds His instruction and rebuke unheeded: “To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it” (Jeremiah 6:10). Create in me, O Lord, an open ear!
“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:7,8). May God help us to have ears open to His instruction! KBC