If you can remember back to boot camp you have to remember getting off the bus and being SCREAMED at by some Drill Sergeant barking out instructions so fast you had no clue what they said or what to do.
There was a method and reason to their madness that I did not understand until I had nearly finished Basic Training. Basically we need to react under pressure under stress of combat and since shooting recruits would not be advisable (or legal 🙂 ) screaming like banshees is the next best thing. In order to insure a soldier does no harm to themselves or others one must learn to act in differing situations of stress.
Here in our text the preceding v.19 has the same implication, an unwise man (here one who can not control his emotions) must learn the consequences of those actions otherwise he will repeat the mistake and cause himself and or others harm.
20 Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. – NO ONE, likes to be yelled at, told they are wrong, continually corrected. Yet the bible is clear, God loves to “correct” that is “Instruct” his chosen and as Proverbs 12:1 says those who oppose God’s loving instruction are “Stupid.”
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible comments on this Those that would be wise in their latter end, must be taught and ruled when young.
21 There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. – What is it man longs for; wealth, fame, power? All these things are the focus of a corrupt heart. Man can plan, scheme and conive all he wishes but to what end? God will always have the final say Psalm 33:10.
Just as recruits must be taught the ways of soldiering so too those who enter into God’s Army need learn His ways in order to fight the good fight. We cannot be afraid of being continual instruction, being rebuked and getting wise counsel.
The Book of Psalms 1:1-6 begins with such an exhortation:
Blessed is the man[a]
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?
Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on INSTRUCTION?
Application: How does it apply to me?
Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?