The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.Proverbs 18:15(NASB)
The book of Proverbs can be sub-divided into categories in various ways. One section concentrates on the value of wisdom and the dangers of folly while others gives advice on things like practical morality, pleasing the Lord, the value of righteousness, the dangers of temptation and the fruit of godly living.
Chapter 18 touches on the benefit and reward of friendship, whilst warning of the drawback of living in isolation and self-centredness. A close-minded man lacks sound judgement and often spews out unwise words based on his own limited understanding and from his own biased perspective, "but the mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks understanding".
As the psalm progresses we continue to see a contrast between the way of the wise who desire wisdom and have a teachable spirit and the fool, who not only says in his heart there is no God but also identifies his reckless stupidity with foul language, a partiality for wickedness; ill-thought out opinions and contentious arguments.
The mind of a discerning person is ready to gain knowledge and understanding. The prudent man presents his line of reasoning in a wise, circumspect, far-sighted and judicious manner. He is a person who engages in lifelong learning in areas that honour the Lord and contributes to his own eternal benefit, as well as the edification of his fellows.
The ear of the wise man or woman is ever open to the truth. They desire understanding and try to put their knowledge into practice. They are willing to receive instruction rather than being unduly self-assured or exhibiting a 'know-it-all' attitude. They demonstrate a gracious humility rather that egocentric pride and become increasingly interested in what they can learn rather than trumpeting what they already know.
As with so much of life, acquiring knowledge and understanding and seeking after wisdom is a choice for the individual. Each one of us has the freewill to choose the good and eschew the evil, to be prudent and diligently acquire knowledge.. OR take the alternate course of pursuing folly and become ensnared in foolishness. We can turn our ear to seeking knowledge and can develop humility of heart. And we can pursue the path of prudence and seek after that which is more valuable than gold and will last throughout life and into eternity.
Although the unregenerate man can gain much value from reading the book of Proverbs and applying its wisdom in their lives, the underlying principle that should govern our acquisition of knowledge and understanding, and which should impact our entire life, is to reverence of the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.. for doing so will not only influence the lives we live today in a positive way, but will enable us to reap glorious rewards in the eternal ages to come.
Loving, heavenly Father, help me to develop a prudent mind and a humble heart that is growing in grace. Help me to acquire knowledge and understanding and the wisdom to know how best to utilise my skills and all I have learned. Open my eyes to see wonderful things in Your law and may my ear be quick to hear Your voice and my heart ready to obey Your will. Thank You for the book of Proverbs and the many teachings on things like practical morality, pleasing the Lord, the value of righteousness, the dangers of temptation and the fruit of godly living. May I live and work each day to Your praise and glory - this I ask in Jesus' precious name, AMEN.