"But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil."
Solomon finishes his bold statements regarding the power and benefits of wisdom in this final set-piece – security and freedom from harm done by those who are wicked. These are two powerful motivators. Learn wisdom, Solomon declares, and you will gain these things you seek. You will gain them in the right way, at the right time, and without damaging others to get it.
This is the Hebrew word shama which means to hear, to listen, to obey, to listen carefully. It means that you listen with the intent to do what wisdom says to do even if you may feel that something else should be done. When wisdom speaks, you listen in order to obey.
Realize that Solomon started this proverb with “But” or in contradistinction to what I have been saying about the consequences of foolishness. There is great benefit in learning how to act wisely, especially when you don't want to.
This is the Hebrew word betach which means security, confidence, securely. The idea that Solomon is trying to portray is that wisdom accomplishes what you want: security. In that time period, security from enemies both foreign and domestic was a huge deal. We, in our day and age, have come to feel that security is a right and not a reward for right choices. There will come a time in the not too distant future, I am afraid, that we will again long for security like those who lived in cities in Israel.
Our insecurity does not usually deal with physical attack, although in certain parts of most major cities that is a distinct possibility. Insecurity has to do with employment, marriage, financial uncertainty, children. Learning to look for the triple-win in each of these cases will allow a whole new level of security to take place in your life. Learn to be wise and not selfish. Selfishness invites problems.
This is the Hebrew word pachad which means dread, disaster, fear. The idea here is that when you have done wrong to better yourself, you are always fearful that someone will do that to you. There is an emotion that lies in the background of your life if you have profited at the expense of others. That emotion is dread – the feeling that something bad is coming.
Solomon is reinforcing that the blessings of wisdom are incredibly rewarding and the consequences of selfishness are repulsive. So do not choose to be a fool. Choose to be a wise man or woman and gain the benefit.
The question is: Are you listening to wisdom or to foolishness?
Do you have fear in your life? Is it because of foolishness in your life somewhere?