8Hear, my son, your father's instruction,What is this verse trying to teach us as people who desire insight and wisdom? As people who desire to serve God? It begins with obedience.
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
1) Hear! Listen to what your parents have to say to you! Listen to what they are saying because they are divinely appointed by God to raise you. Do you think your birth by them is some cosmic accident? Of course not, God is completely sovereign and has chosen them to be your parents, and you to be their son (I'm using "son" here because the text uses it, but it's certainly applicable to daughters as well). God has placed you there for a specific reason, and that is for them to raise you. When they are teaching you the decrees of God and the Law of the Lord, listen! Hear what they have to say. Especially when they are teaching you the Word of God.
2) Forsake not! It's not just an "in one ear and out the other" listening, but it's an obedient one. It's a committed one. It's a hear that has an obey right after it. Do not forsake it! Do you remember one of the 10 commandments? Exodus 20:12 was laid down by God as he brought Israel out of Egypt, and this was one of the first things that God laid down:
12"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.Of course, this honor and obedience must be done in a biblical way, and must be done in the context of Proverbs 1:7 so don't obey your parents in sinning
This obedience, this hearing, flows only from the fear of the Lord. Yet, they are still your parents, and thus you must honor them as God calls you to. Do not think that just because they're unbelievers that it lets you off the hook. On the last day you will still be called to account for how well you obeyed God's Words. Yes, He's not asking you to follow your parents into sin, but are there places where you have been disobedient when they've asked simple things of you and you refused? I'll be honest, this is one of my biggest struggles with my parents. Some of what they ask seem... useless, and they don't understand me anyway. Why should I obey them? But I am constantly reminded over and over again that I'm to honor them and listen to them (so far as what they say aren't against God). Yes, it's almost hypocritical of me to write these things, as I do not obey them myself.
We can even broaden the qualifications a bit. The verse is talking about spiritual instruction and charging us to hear, and not forsake it. Here's a question: How do we respond to the preaching of the Word? To times of Bible study? Are we eager to hear? Are we desperate not to forget the proclaimation of the Gospel? Or are we there simply for the food and friends? Are we there late because there are better things to do? No, you don't have to go to a Bible study every single night in order to be a real Christian, but do you go? Is there a desire to hear God's Word? Is there a grateful submission to those that God has placed in charge of our souls? Or do we always think that they're talking to someone else? That we've heard it all before so we don't need to hear it again? Of course not.
Wisdom continues with hearing and obedience. Manhood continues with hearing and obedience (though this verse is just as applicable to women as well). Do we hear? And do we obey?