Proverbs 4 – August 4

CC Image courtesy of World Bank Photo Collection on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of World Bank Photo Collection on Flickr.

Proverbs 4
Author: Ralph Beistle

My grandson’s kindergarten teacher was exceptional. I don’t know of any other man who taught that age group in public schools. He had an unusual philosophy for his teaching. I learned this when I heard my grandson refer to a person as “loquacious.” Not only did he know the word, but he was able to use it properly in a sentence. I don’t remember in my 24 years at South Plains ever having that word enter into any of our conversations.

The teacher rejected the idea that some words are useful only to adults. The reason children did not use such words was because they had not been taught. He introduced “big” words to his class, one at a time—defined them, told their meanings and showed how they were used in a sentence. If his class became too noisy, he would be able to use that word, loquacious, and they knew it was time to be quiet. Young minds are like sponges.

I was reminded of a song from Rogers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific.” The plot centers on an American nurse stationed on a South Pacific island during World War II who falls in love with a middle-aged expatriate French plantation owner but struggles to accept his mixed-race children. A native woman, Bloody Mary, sings such lines as these:

“You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear… You’ve got to be taught to be afraid…
You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate, you’ve got to be carefully taught.”

What are out kids learning? Probably not “big” words that even we might not understand. Other words that should not be in our vocabulary? Are we unintentionally teaching them to be fearful of things? Are we teaching them to love or hate; to serve or be served; to be uncaring or compassionate; to be selfish or generous? Are we teaching them to be prejudiced?

Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.
I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding. (Proverbs 4.1-7, NIV)

We love our children so much! Wise parents will find that the book of Proverbs has a lot of wisdom we all need in our lives.

Proverbs 4 – July 4

CC Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 on Flickr.

Proverbs 4
Author: Matthew Killough

What is the most you have ever saved in order to purchase something? Did you save enough to buy the latest electronic gizmo to wear on your wrist? Did you save enough to take your family on a dream vacation? Did you save enough for a new car or even a house? There are literally millions of stories of people who have saved money to purchase what they desire. Some of these stories seem insignificant and many are surprising. The vast majority, however, are about purchases that will soon lose most of their value. That gizmo on your wrist is nice now but it is worth less than half of what you paid a year from now. That dream vacation: over in just a few short days.

The author of Proverbs 4 gives alternate advice: the thing you should pay the most for is simple: wisdom. Make no mistake the cost is high according to Proverbs 4:7, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, get understanding.”

So consider making a prudent investment that benefits all aspects of your life life: consider getting wisdom. Also, remember what your grandmother always told you, “You get what you pay for!”

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.