First is “the discerning heart.” “Heart” addresses our inner focus, thoughts and attitudes and this heart is “discerning” (often translated “understanding heart”).
I like to define “discernment” (or “understanding”) as “realizing how right choices lead to a meaningful life.” So it’s no surprise that such a heart seeks “knowledge” (defined as the ability to “see things as they really are).”
No surprise here — discernment seeks knowledge. Good thinking! Interestingly, this first line is virtually identical to the first line of 18:15 — apparently God wanted to be sure we get this!
In contrast, “the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.” While similar terms, “fool” is the one who’s not “street smart about life or the ways of God” and what he or she winds up feeding on (ingesting into their soul) is “folly” — moral perversion!
That’s going from bad to worse!
The contrast here is pretty stark…and it’s all about how we think — our focus and choices. The real issue for all of us isn’t our behaviors…it’s our hearts — our attitudes.