October 9

Reading: Proverbs 4

1  Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, 2 for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching.

3  When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live.

 

5  Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

6  Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.

7  The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.

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.”

 

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

11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.

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.

16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.

 

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.

 

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.

22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

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.

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.

 

These proverbs in chapters 1-9 are presented over and over as advice from a father to his son.  In the first two verses of chapter 4 we discover that the father speaking (Solomon) has received this wisdom from his father (David).  Consider all the times that we are reminded of this in Proverbs 1:8-9:18.  We find these proverbs addressed to “my son(s)” at least 20 times.

It is essential to recognize that God gives us parents so that we can receive wisdom essential for living life.  While it is true that some parents are better at this than others, the wise son or daughter should be able to gain something helpful from their mom and dad.

This entire chapter amounts to an exposition on the command in verse 5, “Get wisdom.”  Again, wisdom is personified as a woman desirable for her words of truth.  Wisdom is to be prized.  Wisdom keeps you from stumbling.  Wisdom is your life.  Wisdom keeps you from the way of evil, which is deep darkness, and shows you the path of the righteous, which is like the light of the dawn.

Verses 20-27 describe what it is like to listen to a good father and walk in the way of wisdom.

Throughout this chapter we find that wisdom takes effort.  It does not just happen to a person.  You are not born with it.  A person must actively seek wisdom to find it.  One must work at it.  You have to listen to your parents, which is hard because sometimes they say things you do not want to hear.  You are required to listen to other wise people.  You must read the Scriptures.  You have to think about what you are doing and saying.  You must think about the way that you are going in life and about how you are treating the people around you.

Are you actively seeking wisdom?  How?