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Receiving Instruction

As we read through the last five verses of Proverb 24 we see Solomon speak about walking past a lazy man’s field and observing the disorder and waste of the field’s potential. Even the wall is in disrepair.


Then he says this: “When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction…” (Proverb 24:32 - NKJV).


This man and this field are part of Solomon’s kingdom. Solomon has, the way God does, given the man the freedom to have stewardship of the land and to be however he wants to be. The man has chosen to be lazy but also to lack understanding. His poor stewardship has resulted in the disorder and waste Solomon observes.


Everything we do has consequences (good or bad) and this man’s consequences, Solomon believes, will be to experience a sort of slow-motion advance of poverty and need.


“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; so shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.” (Proverb 24:33-34 - NKJV)


The lazy man who also lacks understanding won’t even notice his situation until it’s too late.


Now, I’m sure God wants us to consider this dynamic and choose to be productive and live a life full of understanding; but, that is not what Solomon wrote this to address.


All through history times have been hard. There are always difficulties. There will always be aggravating or disappointing people around us. (Sometimes, WE’RE those people for someone else.)


“...do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 - NASB)


Some of these difficulties can be excruciating to experience. These are the “thorns and thistles” God spoke to Adam about after he had made his own choice to practice poor stewardship in the Garden.


As we go through our lives others will do things that frustrate or trouble us. Some will experience heartbreak or struggle with a disease or some tragedy and there will be nothing we can do to fix it. There is, though, something we can do.


Solomon took a little walk and saw something that troubled him. He didn’t fix it, but he DID do something which was in his power to do.


“When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction…” (Proverb 24:32 - NKJV).


Actually, Solomon did four things: he “saw”, he “considered it well”, he “looked on it”, and he “received instruction”.


“When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction…” (Proverb 24:32 - NKJV).


The word “saw” means to gaze at something intently and to contemplate what we are seeing. The next time something really irks or saddens us, let’s commit to lay aside our emotions for a while. God can address those later. Instead, let’s really see whatever it is and to perceive what it MEANS.


God always has been aware of everything that will ever happen in our lives, even the heartbreaking things, the tragic things, and the infuriating things. He loves us and never lets our pain go to waste. In the words of Joseph: “you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20a - NKJV).


So, let’s ponder things we encounter and try to milk what we see for the meaning. Solomon saw something that troubled him and he turned his angst into something that could better equip him in his own life.


“When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction…” (Proverb 24:32 - NKJV).


After scrutinizing the thing before him, Solomon thought on it deeply. He wanted to UNDERSTAND everything God had for him when He allowed him to see it.


“When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction…” (Proverb 24:32 - NKJV).


While the words “saw” and “looked” sound similar in English, they mean something else in the Hebrew in which Solomon wrote them. To look, of course, has to do with viewing something with our physical eyes but this word can also mean to go much deeper. Solomon was seeking spiritual insight about what he was seeing.


We can do this simply by asking the Lord, “What do YOU see here? What does this mean?” and then by listening for His reply. This is a crucial step because this opens up to what God hoped would happen all along. This is why He allows us to experience the things, good and bad, that we experience.


God LONGS to teach and guide us because we are His children.


“When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and (I) received instruction…” (Proverb 24:32 - NKJV).


The word “received” in the Hebrew means to take something and carry it away with us. It now belongs to us and we will utilize it in our life as we move along. The word “instruction” means teaching as we know it but it also means discipline. Think about that: Solomon allowed himself to be DISCIPLED by God.


Every time we encounter a sight or situation which troubles us deeply is an opportunity to be discipled by our Heavenly Father.


Solomon went for a walk and saw something that bothered him. What did he do with that? He pondered it, understood what it meant, and tucked it away in his own heart. He wasn’t going to let what he saw immobilize him or dishearten him. He wasn’t going to let it detour him into a possibly fruitless attempt to force a lazy man to become productive.


Solomon chose to live and learn. He would use what he learned in his own life and to the benefit of his own kingdom. He would not allow his pain to go to waste – choosing, instead, to honor God Who allowed him to see what he saw and to receive instruction from Him.


This has been written as an encouragement and challenge to address in a different way the hard things which come into our lives. While its fine to ask the Lord to take these things away, how about we first take some time to “see them, consider them well; look on them” and position ourselves to “receive instruction” from the Lord?


God “has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 17:26-28a - NKJV)


Let us not be like lazy men, devoid of understanding. Let’s, instead. choose to glean every bit of understanding we might receive from anything the Lord ordains we might experience.


May we harvest ALL He has for us.



Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

© October 24, 2021

(for use with permission)