Throughout Proverbs 12, King Solomon employs couplets [two lines of contrasting thought in each verse] to instruct his son. My focus today will be on two verses, Proverbs 12:1, 15.
Proverbs 12:1 – “Whoso loveth instruction [correction; discipline] loveth knowledge [truth]: but he that hateth [detest] reproof is brutish [stupid; immoral; like a brute beast].”
Solomon taught his son that a man’s response to instruction evidences his character [i.e. his inner man; the quality of his moral being]. We draw two lessons from this couplet:
1) A love and affection for instruction [correction; discipline] and a love of knowledge [discernment] are inseparable (12:1a). A man of good character not only values instruction and discipline; he heeds it for his own well-being. Another way to state this truth is: A good man hears and heeds instruction.
2) The contrast to the man who hears and heeds instruction is the fool who despises correction and reproof (12:1b). Like a brute beast that loves its freedom [i.e. bull outside his pasture], a “brutish” [foolish, immoral] man hates reproof and is driven by sinful, unbridled desires that lead him down a path of immorality and self-destruction.
Solomon continues the contrast between the fool and the wise man in Proverbs 12:15.
Proverbs 12:15 – “The way [path; journey; manner]of a fool [silly; perverse] is right [just; straight] in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [advice] is wise [skillful in the use of knowledge].”
Unlike the wiseman who hears and heeds counsel; a fool is thickheaded and refuses instruction because he is satisfied with his sinful way. He is, as Solomon observes, “right in his own eyes” (12:15a). The fool is intolerant of instruction, but a wise, prudent man seeks and values wise counsel
Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, failed to heed his father’s instructions and, when he became king, rejected his father’s seasoned wise counselors. Hearkening to the counsel of peers who flattered his ego, Rehoboam foolishly sowed the seeds of discontentment and rebellion that divided and destroyed the nation (1 Kings 12:6-8).
An observation as I close: I find it disconcerting that many professing Christians do not seek the counsel of godly men and women. Far too many men and women play the fool and fail to appreciate Solomon’s assurance that, “in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).