FIVE - Proverbs 4

Tam - posted on 05/20/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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This week we are studying Proverbs 4. As with previous chapter, there is a lot of good, solid wisdom here—a lot to cover—so let’s get going…

1Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. 10Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 12When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 13Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. 14Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 17For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. 18But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. 20My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Once again, we are instructed to heed the wisdom of the Father, to seek out wisdom and follow the commandments so we shall live. God loves to remind us, probably because we are stubborn creatures who think we won’t forget.

I find it interesting that we are told wisdom is the principal thing. (Verse 7) I felt there was something I was overlooking here. It is important to seek wisdom to lead a happy and healthy life, especially a life for God, but there was something else tugging at my mind.

Then it dawned on me. This verse pretty much tells us that it is crucial to our spiritual and physical lives to delve into the Word of God as often as possible, to crave it, and pray daily for understanding of that Word. Essentially, we are instructed to read and pray. Too often we find it’s difficult, but if we remember this verse, it might help us put the priority back on seeking God’s wisdom.

Moving on, we are given the reasons to hold fast to wisdom, to seek and embrace it. We are also once more reminded to stay clear of the wide path, to avoid the wicked path. Once more we are told that the wicked will not sleep (for guilt or some other thing not of God), they live on the bread of wickedness and quench their thirst with violence. Their path is so dark that they do not see the stumbling blocks in their paths.

That is so true today! Even well-meaning Christians stumble because they have not heeded the instruction to embrace wisdom and know the Word of God so they wander into areas they do not have any business going into.

Whether you or someone you know, I’m sure you understand what I mean. That friend who has lunch with a co-worker of the opposite sex and doesn’t see the stumbling block. They can’t see that they are not guarding their heart and what began as a friendship can turn into more, even if only a mental/emotional affair of the heart, stealing from their joy, their peace. They don’t see the stumbling block to making their marriage the covenant it should be and if not turned over to God, this path can lead to destruction of many lives through hurt, bitterness and anger, if not divorce.
Or what about that person who doesn’t know the Word and listens to someone who doesn’t teach the Word (either in part or full), claiming it to be the Word? Because they did not heed God’s instruction to embrace His wisdom, they’ve left themselves open to these things, walked onto the path of the wicked and can’t see that while their intentions are good, they are stumbling over false wisdom.

Right now, Casting Crowns has a song played (it was also on Fireproof, I believe) called Slow Fade. It talks about how we don’t just become a sinner or fall in a day. Stumbling blocks are put in our way that because we don’t heed God’s wisdom, we trip on them, then must trip move to cover the previous trip, we go down dark paths, thinking we know best when we can’t see the darkness closing in all around as we walk further and further away from God.

One reason this song comes to mind while I studied this passage is because it starts off with that little Sunday School song, “Be Careful Little Eyes what you see…”

Just as that song goes through a variety of the wonderful body parts the Lord created for us (eyes, ears, mouth, feet,etc.), the last section of this passage gives us a list of physical, bodily things to be on guard so we can protect both the spiritual and physical.

We are instructed to keep the words of wisdom in front of our eyes, to hear what the Lord is saying listening attentively, keep them inside our heart, put away a forward mouth and perverse lips, to keep our eyes straight ahead, even our eyelids. And to always consider, think about, where our feet are taking us, to stay on the straight path and remove our feet from any path of evil.

God knows that we are flesh and struggle to stay on the correct path and in His infinite wisdom has shared with us His Word to keep us on His path so we can have a wonderfully eternal life with Him.

Lord, you have loved us from the beginning of time and will love us through eternity. We praise You for your goodness and mercy. Thank you for the blessed gift of Your Word and the guidance You have given. Help us see You, not the world, in everything we do and teach us to turn away from the wicked things that would beguile us away from You and Your shining light. Help us bind Your words on our hearts so we will not be led astray. Let Your love shine in our lives, not glimmers of our own goodness. Search our hearts and minds and root out any tendencies toward speaking ill of others or watching/listening to things that would cause us to stumble. Again, we praise You, Jehovah, for You are worthy of all praise. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

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Tam - posted on 06/01/2009

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LOL! Now I'll be envisioning a mixed-up Nike Logo/Ad when I think of this. :) Great though--won't forget!

It makes great sense, btw. Our God knows how hard-headed and stubborn we are. Just like little children. How many times did you tell your child to clean his/her room before they finally did? I think this is similar to that. God will tell us over and over for our benefit, and if we but listen it will sink in. Do this. don't do that. It doesn't get more black and white than that, yet like kids trying to push their boundaries, we muddy the issue often times.

Yet, He's there with loving instruction, loving explanation in most cases and loving correction when we need it.

Just awesome!

Anne - posted on 05/31/2009

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14Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

For me these verses are so in your face about NOT going down the wrong path. They leave NO room for debate or guess work. Nike says "Just Do It" Well these versed to me say "JUST DON'T DO IT!" Some times like 98 % of the time I am really hard headed and need a path that leaves no way out. These versed do it for me. Yet even in the in your face sort of way there is a loving reason why 1Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
God does not just lead us blindly He gives us a reason to do what He tells to do

I am not real sure what I am thinking and understanding about these verses are making a lot of sense to any one else. But that is what I took away from these verses.

Tam - posted on 05/25/2009

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Alexandria, thanks for the info on bank tellers. Did not know that. But the comparison is so true. Why worry about the false if you know the Truth! When you have that knowledge, nothing else compares, in all matters. And excellent verse about not only hearing but doing. I think some people forget that. They feed and feed on the Word, but grow fat from not exercising their faith - doing and serving. Interestingly, we forget that we are called to act (or not, in some instances)...we are commanded to love (action, not feeling) above all. Here in proverbs we are told not just to know the law, but to "live it" by binding the words to us, walking in the path of wisdom, etc. :)



Heather, yes, I have to agree that those verses are direct and so helpful if we just but heed them! And I love the "wellspring"... it brings to mind the "living waters" of Christ, that abundant and pure flow of life.

I I love the next verse in Matthew, after the one you mentioned...
Matthew 12:35
A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

And if we move on to Chapter 15 (verse 18) we are told that those things which proceed out of the mouth come from our hearts. Another reason to keep God's wisdom in our hearts as we are instructed here in Proverbs!

Heather - posted on 05/21/2009

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Alexandria, I love that verse! It is so vital.

My favorite part of Proverbs 4 is the ending. There is so much wisdom in verse 20 and on. My NIV Bible says: My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.

Those verses are so self explanatory, there is no way to twist them. It means what it means. The verse that I relate most with this chapter is from Matthew:

Matthew 12:34
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

And then also it makes me think of Isaiah 30:21: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

Alexandria - posted on 05/20/2009

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It is so true that turning away from God can be a gradual thing that we may not notice we are doing, if we are not careful. Even something as seemingly harmless as, say, a tv show can pull us away from God. It may be some show that has a only a little bit of ungodly behavior portrayed in it and we tell ourselves it's ok to watch because we know the difference between right and wrong and before we know it we start to let our guard down and agree with the worldly point of view instead of God's. So God tells us to hold on to wisdom (from the bible) and to guard our hearts (from sin).

It reminds me of the way a bank teller is taught to recognize a counterfeit bill. They are not told to study all the different possibilties of a counterfeit bill, but rather they are to learn beyond a shadow of a doubt what a real bill looks like. Like in a song I've heard ( the name and group eludes me right now), "we know if it's not the truth, it's...."

But anyway, I love the analogy of someone stumbling through the darkness and tripping and trying not to trip...I grew up without Jesus in my heart and when you don't know God and something bad happens in your life, that analogy is exactly what your world feels like. And even now from a christian point of view, if I turn from God's way and start to try to do things on my own, I just keep messing up until I turn back to Him.

So I know that God's word and the wisdom that we learn from it (if we choose to acually apply it). James 1:22. are absolutely vital to a christians life. The more I learn from God, the better equiped I am for the sudden twists and pitfalls that appear in my life.

The above verse says, " Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

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