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As we meditate upon God’s word this week, let’s reflect on the fact that we should grow wiser by learning from the experiences others have had. One lifetime is simply too short a time for anyone to learn all he needs to know by experiencing everything himself. The person who is not willing, or does not take the time, to learn from the experiences that others have passed through will not be very wise.

When we are in our younger years, we are tempted to dismiss the warnings and admonitions that older folks try to give us. We presume that they don’t fully understand the uniqueness of our personal situation. So we plunge ahead, ignoring the advice of others — and often find years later that we could have spared ourselves much heartache by listening when others tried to tell us we were on the wrong path.

Eventually, it will be too late to profit from the advice others have tried to give us. In Proverbs, wisdom is described as saying, “Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices” (Prov. 1:28-31).

Actually, pride is the main reason we don’t listen to others and profit from their experience. It takes swallowing our pride to put ourselves in the position of a learner, one who does not yet know what others know. But the fellow whose pride keeps him from yielding to the judgment and wisdom of others is doomed to remain a fool the rest of his life. He will never be anything but a novice in the school of life.

In the Lord’s church, we are fortunate to have others around us whose experience we could learn from. In particular, our elders in the local congregation are men whose wisdom we should be eager to benefit from. We are to follow their faith, considering “the outcome of their way of life” (Hb. 13:7). Let’s make it a priority this week to gain from somebody else’s hard knocks.

Monday: Proverbs 19:20

Key Idea: We should learn from the advice others give us.

Questions for Family Growth: What is “counsel” (NKJV)? What is “instruction”? What does it mean to truly “listen” and “accept” what others are teaching us? At what point in life does wisdom usually come: when we are young or when we are older?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:22.

Tuesday: Proverbs 15:31,32

Key Idea: We should learn from the reproof others give us.

Questions for Family Growth: What is “reproof”? Why is it so hard to accept reproof in the way that we should receive it? What, according to these verses, are some benefits of accepting reproof? What if we “disdain instruction” (NKJV)?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:23.

Wednesday: Proverbs 10:8

Key Idea: We should learn from the commands others give us.

Questions for Family Growth: How is a “command” different from “advice” or “reproof”? What does it mean to “receive” commands? According to this verse, what kind of person receives commands as he should? What kind of person does this verse say will “come to ruin”?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:24.

Thursday: Proverbs 15:5; 23:22

Key Idea: We should learn from the advice our parents give us.

Questions for Family Growth: What kind of person is it who “despises” his father’s instruction? What should we do when we disagree with our parents’ wisdom? What would be some practical suggestions for how should parents give advice to their children?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:25.

Friday: Proverbs 21:11

Key Idea: We should learn from the punishment others receive.

Questions for Family Growth: What is a “scoffer”? When a scoffer is punished, who may be helped by the punishment in addition to the scoffer himself? Even though it is painful, what good things can come from the experience of punishment?

Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 14:26,27.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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