Proverbs 4 – June 4

CC Image courtesy of Charley Lhasa on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Charley Lhasa on Flickr.

Proverbs 4
Author: Charles Stephenson

A Reflection on Proverbs 4: Please read this chapter before reading this reflection.

As you read this chapter there are three divisions marked by their introductions. Note the following:

4:1 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight, . . .

10 Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many. . . .

20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.

In each division the father emphasizes the kind of life he wishes for his son, or maybe his sons, to live. The grandfather is quoted as he required instruction for his son, this father. Such quality of life is passed from generation to generation. This grows out of the foundation for the godly life:

1:7  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

The first division (4:1-9) emphasizes the need to embrace wisdom and insight. These do not just happen. The fear of the Lord should move each one to “get” (4:5-7) these by listening to instruction and listening for the Word of our Lord. Note getting is mentioned twice in this section.

Wisdom will offer deep and wide value to the one who will embrace her, who will love her:

8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head a graceful garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

The second division (4:10-19) emphasizes the imperative of attention. Attention to the road traveled in life. The father has taught “the way of wisdom” and led “in the paths of uprightness.” He is certain his son can walk the correct path without being hampered and can run through life without stumbling. The father has taught the son in words and example to stay on the right path for a live based in the fear of God. Still, the son must choose wisely.

13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.

The father knows a wise path for life is the difference between living in light and darkness.

18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.

The final division (4:20-27) emphasizes the proper care of the son’s heart. This is the totality of his life;

20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.

A heart filled with the fear of God will enable a life always on the path of righteousness; a heart with no place for the world’s wicked paths. This does not happened easily. One must choose to walk the path of righteousness knowing the world offers so many paths contrary to righteousness. How much attention should be given to the language of righteousness?

23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.

This father closes by calling his son to give full attention to his righteous walk. The person who has chosen to live for God through Christ in the power of the Spirit cannot be indifferent to the path taken in life. This choice must dominate all of that life. (Matthew 7:13-14)

25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

All scripture quotations from the English Standard Version.

2 thoughts on “Proverbs 4 – June 4

  1. I find the idea of “getting” wisdom strange. Seems it is “learned”, often from wrong choices I’ve made or observing the consequences of wrong choices others made. To just be able to “get” wisdom sounds wonderful!!! Any idea how to do that??

    • One of the things I think you see in all of the wisdom literature of the Bible is the importance of God’s word. Seeking to know what God says is one way to “get” wisdom. Other ways?

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