There are two ways to view the lost and how they treat you. At first, David saw the lost as his wicked enemy with their words and actions wounding him. These wounds began to consume his thoughts until a fire burned deep in his soul at which point he reacted and spoke revealing his frail and vain condition.
My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue, Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Psalms 39:3-4
Later, David’s view changed. He still saw the lost as wicked and desired deliverance from them, but one thing was distinctly different. David viewed the actions of the lost as God’s strokes upon him (vs. 10). Instead of reacting against the wicked, he yielded himself to God. He allowed God to purge him from sinful acts.
The former reaction is a struggle and battle with the world and with no benefit, but the latter works good out of evil and brings hope, correction, and strength to the humble.
As you face the hardship of living the Christian life, strive to recognize the handiwork of God: even in the lives of the lost.
The wisdom that you gain is for yourself. You will be the beneficiary of your wisdom an no one else. You may strive to pass wisdom along to others, but in order for them to benefit from wisdom, they must accept it for themselves.
If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. (Proverbs 9:12)
Just as spiritual growth is solitary, so likewise is wisdom. Seek daily for wisdom from God’s word. Pray and ask God to provide you with wisdom. If he corrects you in your life, yield to his correction and receive the instruction of wisdom. If you do these, your inner life will feast on the goodness of the Lord.
He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. (Proverbs 10:17)
Our successes and failures are the results of the condition of the heart. Faith and doubt occur in the same manner. Many focus on actions, but actions can be deceiving. Jesus pointed out that even though the Pharisees diligently kept the law, they were missing the greatest part (Matthew 23:23). Their problem was not their actions so much as it was there heart. We can fall into this same trap and if true change is going to place in our lives, there must first be a change in the heart.
This passage declares the destination of two groups of people: those experiencing life as intended by The Lord and those in error. Both can be saved people as well as kind, likable, helping, caring and lovable. Their disposition will not determine what they experience in life, but instead their heart’s attitude towards correction.
The secret to experiencing the best that God has to offer you is to respond positively to his correction. The term instruction in this passage also means chastisement and is reflected again in the latter portion of the verse as reproof. The way to life is gained by guarding closely what God says to you as he provides corrective instruction. This instruction may come through preaching, personal bible study or an admonition from a peer. Subsequently the direct way to a life of error is to refuse reproof. Each of these responses take place in the heart of the believer. The former reflects a “fear The Lord” attitude while the other has an attitude of pride.
Your path of life may be set by The Lord, but it will be gained or determined by your heart and in particular how you respond to correction.