Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs
..[learn_more caption=”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
(Proverbs 4:1-27 ESV)
A Father’s Wise Instruction
Proverbs 4:5 “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.”
What becomes increasingly plain in the book of Proverb is, that insight and wisdom have to do with understanding how things are, and how they work – from God’s point of view. It is insight into the divine economy. It is like having sight in a world of blind men.
It isn’t that we are to try and see things that aren’t there, but see them as they really are.
Values are assigned by eternal standards, not temporal.
Eternal justice must always be held in tension.
God’s sovereignty as well as man’s responsibility have to be kept together.
Man’s relationship to God must define his relationship to all others, and to the the universe itself.
Heavenly Father, how we need this wisdom. How we plead to you for this insight.
All of this requires that Christ be contemplated as the sum and center of God’s plans and purposes. Clearing the fog off of life by redirecting oneself to think about how my life and its various facets fit into the purposes and plans Of God in Christ.
Christ IS God’s wisdom.
Here is where God’s genius is brought before our view in the very deepest parts. To be caught up in this unimaginable plan to bless an undeserving people through untold mercy and grace, and then to bring us right into His family. This is unfathomably wonderful. And if we are failing to be amazed at it, we need to look harder, and ask for more and more insight.
We need to ask ourselves over and over – what is it that is so wonderful in this salvation, in Christ, that the Father holds it up as supremely worthy of our everlasting and infinite inquiry and attention. So if I “just don’t get it”, I need to seek Him until I do.
Proverbs 4:7 “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.”
My first REAL crush on a girl was on Carol. In High School. She was my first kiss. She was very bright (graduated a year early) and pretty and talented and she liked me. Go figure. And the summer we started seeing each other, I had the wonderful privilege of sharing the Gospel with her and I believe seeing her come to faith in Christ. But she went off to college and I had another year of school and soon we lost contact completely.
About 15 years ago, after the notice of an upcoming high school reunion, I started searching the web for old school chums, and began wondering where Carol was and how life had gone for her. Surly she was married to some extraordinary guy. But she was nowhere to be found.
After tracking down her old best friend, she put me on to Carol’s older brother whom I had known, and was finally able to contact him. Norm was surprised to hear from me. We chatted cordially about other siblings we knew and I finally inquired about Carol. The phone got quiet. “You don’t know?” he asked. Know what? I replied. Carol passed away. 2 years out of high school.
It seems that Carol thought she had contracted the flu. She went to the hospital, and they thought the same thing and treated her accordingly. But she didn’t have the flu. She had contracted hepatitis. They caught the mistaken diagnosis too late. It claimed her life.
What has this to do with Proverbs 4?
A lot. In most areas of life, making a decision without ALL the facts isn’t actually life threatening. In Carol’s case it was. And Proverbs is constantly calling us to not settle for surface information on anything – but to gain true wisdom – insight.
This is especially critical when it comes to understanding spiritual truth – where the consequences may far exceed merely life-threatening levels, but reach eternal, soul-threatening heights.
Never settle for a surface understanding of things, especially in Biblical truth. Dig. Inquire. Seek the entire story. Reserve your judgments. Hear both sides, all sides if more. Think. Consider. Turn it over and over. Pray.
As in the case before us in Proverbs – get wisdom and insight into the need to stay on course. What path to walk in life. Where am I going? Where are my steps, my actions, my attitudes and my decisions taking me? Or am I just “going” – not really giving thought to my final destination?
Do I understand how God’s economy in how this world works? Where am I in relation to it?
Do I understand the true nature of sin, and of salvation? Of faith and imputed righteousness?
Of the need for the cross and the substitutionary death of Christ?
The difference in such matters is not merely an issue of life and death – but of eternal life and death.
Get wisdom. And whatever you get, get insight.
Next week: On to Chapter Four
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Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.