Meditation and Prayer Journey – Proverbs 4


Proverbs 4

Scripture

NIV Version,  Message VersionEnglish Standard Version (see the list of related scriptures at the bottom of the ESV page), King James Version

Amplified Version *colors added by me

1HEAR, MY sons, the instruction of a father, and pay attention in order to gain and to know intelligent discernment, comprehension, and interpretation [of spiritual matters].2For I give you good doctrine [what is to be received]; do not forsake my teaching.

3When I [Solomon] was a son with my father [David], tender and the only son in the sight of my mother [Bathsheba],

4He taught me and said to me, Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live.(A)

5Get skillful and godly Wisdom, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation); do not forget and do not turn back from the words of my mouth.

6Forsake not [Wisdom], and she will keep, defend, and protect you; love her, and she will guard you.

7The beginning of Wisdom is: get Wisdom (skillful and godly Wisdom)! [For skillful and godly Wisdom is the principal thing.] And with all you have gotten, get understanding (discernment, comprehension, and interpretation).(B)

8Prize Wisdom highly and exalt her, and she will exalt and promote you; she will bring you to honor when you embrace her.

9She shall give to your head a wreath of gracefulness; a crown of beauty and glory will she deliver to you.

10Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life shall be many.

11I have taught you in the way of skillful and godly Wisdom [which is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God]; I have led you in paths of uprightness.

12When you walk, your steps shall not be hampered [your path will be clear and open]; and when you run, you shall not stumble.

13Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

14Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

15Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.

16For they cannot sleep unless they have caused trouble or vexation; their sleep is taken away unless they have caused someone to fall.

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

18But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].(C)

19The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.(D)

20My son, attend to my words; consent and submit to my sayings.

21Let them not depart from your sight; keep them in the center of your heart.

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

23Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

24Put away from you false and dishonest speech, and willful and contrary talk put far from you.

25Let your eyes look right on [with fixed purpose], and let your gaze be straight before you.

26Consider well the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established and ordered aright.

27Turn not aside to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil.


* NOTE: Other views expressed by those whose materials has been referenced here, do not necessarily reflect this author’s personal views.

Further Study

Proverb-A-Day: Chapter 4:5-7

Bits & Spurs Proverbs 4:18

Koby Shares his Daily Devotion on Proverbs 4:23 and Psalm 119:9-11

Proverbs 4:25 (Soulbyte)

STUDIES ON PROVERBS Exposition: Proverbs

Proverbs 4:20-27 Spiritual Checkup – thought this was a good one to include here.

Given a choice, I’d probably not voluntarily visit my doctor for a physical exam. I’m inclined to assume that everything is okay and not bother my doctor about it. But since my wife is a nurse, I don’t have a choice. I go in for regular exams.

And given a choice, many of us are a little afraid of spiritual checkups as well. After all, if we check our spirit too closely, we might have to change a habit or two. We might need something like an “attitude-ectomy.”

I suggest that we get over our reluctance. With God’s guidance, let’s undergo a spiritual checkup, using Proverbs 4:2021222324252627 as a checklist.

Ears (Proverbs 4:20): Are we hearing God’s Word clearly and with understanding? Are we doing what those words tell us?

Eyes (Proverbs 4:21,25): Are we keeping our eyes on the teachings that will guide us toward righteousness?

Heart (Proverbs 4:23): Are we protecting our heart from evil?

Tongue (Proverbs 4:24): Is our mouth clean and pure?

Feet (Proverbs 4:26): Are we walking straight toward God’s truth without wavering?

How did you do on your examination? Are there areas where you need to take action? Regular checkups will help to restore your spiritual vitality. —Dave Branon Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
Show me the way that Jesus has trod;
Then I will tell of Your saving grace,
Until the day when I see Your face. —Hess

A spiritual checkup is the key to spiritual health

Multi Media

The Book of Proverbs as narrated by Max McLean – Proverbs 4

Path of the Righteous – Proverbs 4:18-19 (Scripture & Bible / Truth Songs / Zander and Janine)

Parable Of The Dirty Well Proverbs 4:23 ( Charles H Spurgeon )

Key Words*

Many of the keywords were already covered in the look at Proverbs 1-3, check them out. But I think it is becoming clear that we MUST understand what the word Wisdom means.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia states:

Obviously no one English word will cover all these different uses, but the general meaning is clear enough – “the art of reaching one’s end by the use of the right means” (Smend). Predominantly the “wisdom” thought of is that which comes through experience, and the “wise man” is at his best in old age (Job_12:12; Job_15:10; Pro_16:31; Sirach 6:34; 8:9; 25:3-6, etc.; contrast Job_32:9; Ecc_4:13; The Wisdom of Solomon 4:9; Sirach 25:2). And in religion the “wise man” is he who gives to the things of God the same acuteness that other men give to worldly affairs (Luk_16:8).

Commentaries

Matthew Henry

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown

Proverbs Illustrations, Devotionals

My Reflections

My very first thought was – now I know why Solomon asked God for wisdom, he was remembering what his father had said to him. Cool! I also noticed that it says, “My sons” – plural, the last two were singular. Hmmm interesting.

If we get nothing else from this chapter – we have to GET WISDOM and GET UNDERSTANDING. It’s repeated several times. Get it! (v 7). And in Chapter 1 we are told to GET KNOWLEDGE (v 7).

The root of getting wisdom seems to be in instructions – from the Holy Spirit/God/Jesus, God’s word, and other’s. So if we are not willing to submit to, follow, or receive instruction, then we can never be wise, we can never get Wisdom. It never ceases to amaze me how kindly things are translated in the Bible for us. The word instruction for example. I’m sure we’ve all received instruction before, in fact, anyone who has ever been to school of any kind has received instruction. We even receive instruction on our jobs. But here’s the thing, we can choose to read the Bible and get the milk that is meant for babies, or we can dig deep in look for the meat. Meat is not something that is always easy to prepare, cook, eat, or digest. So what’s the meat of the word instruction?

The word is moo-sawr’ – properly chastisement; figuratively reproof, warning or instruction; also restraint: – bond, chastening ([-eth]), chastisement, check, correction, discipline, doctrine, instruction, rebuke. It comes from the root word yaw-sar’ A primitive root; to chastise, literally (with blows) or figuratively (with words); hence to instruct: – bind, chasten, chastise, correct, instruct, punish, reform, reprove, sore, teach.

OUCH! See what I mean? It doesn’t mean to go sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher or have someone tell you how to do it – it means be willing to take correction – warnings – discipline – rebuke – reproof – take the blows of someone telling you that you are wrong. Yeah, not so nice as the picture we have with “instruction.”

David didn’t tell Solomon – remember the times I taught you how to throw a ball, drive a car, plow the field. He’s saying – remember all the times I corrected you, disciplined you, warned you. That is how you find wisdom.

Along with wisdom is understanding, why? Because even if we can take the blows of being told we are wrong – we need to understand why we were wrong. If we don’t understand why, then we will probably make the same mistake again. For example, we can teach a child not to touch a hot stove. But if they don’t understand why they shouldn’t touch a hot stove, then they may touch a fire, or something else that is hot. It isn’t the stove that we are teaching them not to touch – it’s the heat. We can teach a new driver not to turn left here (at a specific street) without watching on coming traffic. But if they don’t understand this action is something to use at every street – then we haven’t taught them anything beneficial other than what to do at this specific street.

We don’t have to acquire wisdom just by doing things wrong, we can get it from seeking out counsel and advice and following it. Saves us from some pain of the blows we would have gotten had we just plowed in and done things with out it.

I’ve had to use a lot of advice, counsel, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, guidance, etc over the last few months. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what position you hold, how “spiritual” you think you are, how mature a Christian or believer you think you are, we all need to take other people’s wisdom, knowledge, and understanding and use it.  Don’t miss the part of the definition where it has to be used either – just gaining wisdom is nothing if you don’t apply it. And you aren’t a wise person if are able to accomplish something by using the wrong means. It’s about reaching one’s end by the use of the right means – by following God’s ways – by doing the right thing. If you know what’s right and you don’t do it, you sin.

If you aren’t willing to gain wisdom – then you are a fool, evil, a wicked person. That’s it. I think the Proverbs, and Bible in general, is clear on that. You can either be foolish, evil, and wicked or you can be wise, understanding, and knowledgeable. No grey, no middle road.

Something else that struck me in this was that in verse 19 it says: “The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” John Gills commentary says this:

They are in the darkness of sin, ignorance, error, and unbelief; their works are works of darkness; the way in which they are leads to eternal darkness, ruin, and misery, and so must be most uncomfortable and dangerous; … they stumble at the word, which they are ignorant of, and at Christ, whom they have no knowledge of; and through the temptations of Satan and snares of the world, which they are not aware of, nor upon their guard against.

Ignorance and knowledge.  Ignorant of the word doesn’t mean they don’t “know” the word. It doesn’t mean they can’t quote the word, use the word, explain the word. It means they don’t USE the word, they don’t APPLY the word. No knowledge of Christ doesn’t mean they don’t know about him, can’t talk about him, don’t confess or believe that he is real. It means they don’t “know” him. They don’t walk in his ways, they don’t have his heart, they don’t do what he says. The may talk the talk but not walk the walk – they are ignorant and have no knowledge of what they are really saying.

Prayer

Lord, the promises, the gifts, the things you offer us are beyond comprehension sometimes. And yet, in reality you ask for such little in return. You simply as us to listen and obey. We don’t have to figure it out, we don’t have to know how to do it, we don’t even have to do it under our own strength. You tell us, you know, you will give, and you will help. What an awesome and loving God you are.

Father, as I ask that You help me to gain knowledge as I fear and worship You. I ask that you help me to gain Wisdom and understanding through Your Word, Your Spirit, and Your servants. I thank you that you have provided everything I need to be a wise person and to walk as a righteous person. I thank you that as I do those things You instruct me to that you will keep, defend and protect me. That you will guard, exalt, promote, and bring honor to me. That You will give me gracefulness, beauty and glory. That the years of my life shall be many that you give me life, healing and health to my flesh.

Lord, I pray for those who are walking in the way of darkness. Those who are oppressed and do not know it. Those who are disobedient and do not know it. Those who are not hearing, not doing, not realizing, and not comprehending that they are stumbling. Father, shed some light on their path. Send a person of light to point out, help them see, Lord, to give them a blow that will will wake them up to the destruction they are creating. I ask that those in authority over them rebuke, reproof, chastise, discipline them in a manner pleasing and guided by You.

Thank you for the wise counsel you have set in my life. In Jesus Name, Amen!

* Keywords taken from KJV translation. Definitions quoted from Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries OR Thayer’s Greek Definitions
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