Archive for the ‘Proverbs 04’ Category


UNDER GODS COMMAND

Proverbs 4:8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her and she will honor you.

Promotion and honor are simple. The secret to success is right before you. These are not the words of a money-grubbing salesman wanting your enrollment fee for a foolish self-help program – these are the free words of God and two rich and wise kings of Israel.

Exalt and embrace wisdom, and you will be promoted and honored by God and men. Make wisdom the most important goal of your life; love wisdom with fervent appreciation and desire, and she will bring you greatness. What are you waiting for?

Solomon here repeated what David had taught him about pursuing wisdom (Pr 4:5-9). He remembered his own father teaching him, and he repeated the valuable instruction for the benefit of his son (Pr 4:3-4). Let every parent understand the importance of such training.

The highest goal for any man is to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, Who grew in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). How did He gain such wonderful success? He increased in wisdom, which is the ability to judge and act rightly in life. Wisdom is the key by which any person can find approval of God and man. Wisdom brings promotion and honor.

There are four feminine pronouns in this proverb referring to Lady Wisdom, Solomon’s personification of wisdom, understanding, discretion, and knowledge. While he warned against the strange woman (Pr 7:5-27; 9:13-18), he also told of wonderful Lady Wisdom and her great benefits for men (Pr 1:20-33; 2:4; 3:13-18; 4:5-13; 7:1-4; 8:1-36; 9:1-5).

David, by wisdom, had a heart like God’s, so the LORD made him king over Israel, and all Israel loved him (I Sam 18:5,16,30; II Sam 7:8). Lady wisdom promoted and honored him. Citizens and enemies considered him like an angel (I Sam 29:9; II Sam 14:17). How did he get this glorious reputation? He committed himself to wisdom (Ps 101:1-8).

David exalted and embraced wisdom. Consider his great example well. What did he think of Scripture? He thought it more valuable than much fine gold and more pleasant than honey and honeycomb (Ps 19:10; 119:127). How often did he think about the Bible? Day and night (Ps 1:2)! What was his greatest treasure? The Bible (Ps 119:14,111,162)!

Where did he want to be more than anywhere else? In church (Ps 84:10)! Who were his only friends? Men fearing God and keeping God’s commandments (Ps 119:63)! How often did he pray? Three times a day (Ps 55:17)! How did he approach God? In humble self-examination (Ps 139:23-24)! Did he praise God? Seven times a day (Ps 119:164)!

How can you exalt wisdom? Make it your top priority (Pr 4:7; 16:16). Diligently pursue it like you would a hidden treasure (Pr 2:1-5; 23:23). Sacrifice anything in order to get it, even friends (Pr 13:20; 18:11). Put it into practice, no matter what others think or what it might cost (Pr 29:25; Dan 1:6). God and men will bless your effort and emphasis.

How can you embrace wisdom? Value and cherish it as a precious asset (Pr 3:15; 8:11). Love it more than anything else (Pr 4:6; 8:17,21). Despise and reject anything that is contrary to it (Pr 8:13; 14:7; Ps 119:128). Avoid anyone or anything that tempts you away from it (Pr 9:6; I Cor 15:33). God and men will bless your effort and emphasis.

Joseph was promoted and honored. Though having ten older brothers, he obeyed his father better than any of them. Sold into slavery, he served diligently and faithfully. He rejected a strange woman simply out of fear of God, though at great cost. Much more could be said, but what happened? He rose quickly to be next to Pharaoh in power.

Daniel was promoted and honored. Captured, sterilized, and taken 500 miles to Babylon, he rejected the king’s religion, no matter the cost. He told the hard truth even when contrary to kings’ desires. When a new religious law was passed, he disregarded it. What happened? He was the highest administrator in the world’s greatest empire for 70 years.

If God and men have not promoted and honored you, humble yourself and confess your neglect of wisdom. Exalt and embrace her in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Seek His Word, His church, and His saints with all your heart. Promotion and honor will come!


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 4:23-27 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.

Our heart, our feelings of love and desire-dictates to a great extent how we live because we always find time to do what we enjoy. Solomon tells us to guard our heart above all else, making sure we concentrate on those desires that will keep us on the right path. Make sure your affections push you in the right direction. Put boundaries (Guard Rails) on your desires: don’t go after everything you see. Look straight ahead, keep your eyes fixed on your goal, and don’t get sidetracked on detours that lead to sin.


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 4:24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 

Rule your speech. Guard your tongue. Mark your words. After keeping your heart with all diligence, from which come the issues of life, Solomon warned you to reject ungodly speech (Pr 4:23). Beginning with the thoughts and intents of the heart, wisdom demands you govern your speech (Pr 4:24), your eyes (Pr 4:25), and your feet (Pr 4:26-27).

It is impossible to have godly and gracious speech without a pure heart, for the content of the heart supplies the mouth (Matt 12:33-35). You can tell a good heart by kind and holy words, and you can tell a bad heart by harsh or carnal words. Jesus said it; believe it. Kings love the perfect man who speaks graciously from a pure heart (Pr 22:11).

This proverb does not warn you to stay away from those with froward mouths and perverse lips, for that advice is given elsewhere (Pr 14:7; 19:27; I Cor 15:33). It warns you to get rid of your own froward mouth and perverse lips. The context is ruling your own heart, lips, eyes, and feet (Pr 4:23-27), not avoiding others with those sins.

Solomon taught his son and told him to listen and submit to his fatherly instruction (Pr 4:20). He then exhorted him to keep his advice directly before him and firm in his resolve (Pr 4:21). And he encouraged him by saying that it would give him life and health (Pr 4:22). Then in order, he told his son to guard his heart, lips, eyes, and steps (Pr 4:23-27).

A foolish mouth will ruin your reputation (Eccl 5:3; 10:12-14). An offensive mouth will cause trouble with men (Pr 12:13; 13:3; 14:7; 18:6-7; 22:10; 24:9). And then you will give account of every idle word in the Judgment (Pr 6:16-19; Matt 12:36-37; Eph 5:3-6).

Kind and wise speech will build your reputation (Pr 15:4; 18:20; 24:26). Appropriate words will enhance your relationship with men (Pr 10:32; 15:23; 16:13; 25:11). And the blessed God is pleased with constructive and helpful words (Pr 12:22; Eph 4:29; Col 4:6).

Improve your speech by cutting your words in half, if you talk more than the average person (Pr 17:27; Jas 1:19). You then must rule your spirit, for it can kindle a fire from hell (Pr 16:32; Jas 3:3-8)! And you have to avoid arguments (Pr 26:4-5; II Tim 2:23).

If you keep your heart at peace with the Lord and man, it will be difficult for you to speak harsh or painful things. If you keep your heart pure with the Lord and man, it will be difficult for you to have foolish or carnal speech. If you fill your mind with noble things, you will have precious material for conversation (Phil 4:8). May God guide your tongue.

 


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

Wicked friends will destroy you. If you want to grow in wisdom and godliness, you must avoid foolish companions. Paul wrote, evil communications corrupt good manners (I Cor 15:33). Solomon soberly warned his son to stay far away from evil men (Pr 4:14-15). Their hearts are controlled by sin and their thoughts dedicated to it (Pr 4:16-17).

Good and evil are opposites, and good men and evil men are also opposites. They are perpetual enemies (Pr 29:27). Wise and just men choose to live successful lives, and God blesses them with light (Pr 4:18). Foolish and wicked men live in darkness, stumbling through a dysfunctional life by the blindness of arrogant and ignorant hearts (Pr 4:19).

There are two kinds of people on earth – the righteous and the wicked. While the wicked may perform outward acts that appear good, those acts come from a heart that is only evil in God’s sight (Ps 14:1-3; Rom 3:9-18). While the righteous may sometimes live foolishly, yet they have a righteous heart that is vexed by sin (Ps 73:16-22; II Pet 2:7-8).

This proverb and the next are Solomon’s warning about the depraved character of wicked men (Pr 4:16-17). Mischief and wickedness are more important to them than sleep. They cannot rest nor be content unless they have corrupted or hurt others. Wickedness and violence are their bread and wine. They must eat them every day to satisfy their hunger!

There are no neutral men. Righteous men are the followers of Jesus Christ and godliness, and wicked men are the captive slaves of Satan and sin. Men either base their lives on the absolute terms of the Bible, or they base them on the world’s lies received from the devil. It is this great antagonism that makes worldly friends impossible for dedicated Christians.

The NEA, ACLU, PTA, NOW, MTV, CNN, FNN, UN, PETA, ECM, AFL-CIO, UAW, USA, DNC, RNC, and organizations of this world are dedicated to the overthrow of Bible Christianity. They work day and night for mischief and to cause men to fall from righteousness and truth. They cannot sleep until they get rid of Jesus Christ, His disciples, and His doctrine from the earth. Take a strong stand on any Bible subject and find out!

You must measure your friends and associates carefully and strictly and reject those that do not meet God’s high standards, like David did (Ps 15:4; 101:3-8; 119:63,79). And Solomon taught the same (Pr 9:6; 13:20; 14:7; 19:27). Some of these sinful threats to your success may be family members, but DNA and earthly blood ties matter very little to God or true disciples (I Sam 23:17; II Chr 15:16; Matt 10:34-37; Luke 14:25-33).

The God of heaven and the wisest of men command you to avoid the world, reject their opinions, despise their lifestyle, and hate their offers (Ps 101:3-8; Rom 12:1-2; II Cor 6:14-18; Eph 5:7-13; Jas 4:4; I John 2:15-17). No matter how subtle the insinuation or seductive the temptation against the absolute authority of the Bible, you must turn away with all your strength to avoid being corrupted (I Cor 15:33; I Tim 6:3-5; II Tim 3:1-5).


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 4:25 Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

How is your vision? Forget detail, distance, or depth. How is your directional vision? Do you see straight ahead, or do you have peripheral vision? Peripheral vision, or seeing things from the corner of your eye, is a good thing for driving and sports, but it is horrible for Christians. You must see only one object – God, His kingdom, and His righteousness.

Having told you to keep your heart with all diligence (Pr 4:23), the Preacher warned against peripheral distractions, either left or right (Pr 4:26-27). You must establish your direction straight ahead and keep going that way – to the single goal of pleasing the Lord.

“Eyes” and “eyelids” are synecdoche, where part of a thing represents the whole. Solomon did not care about the little flap of skin that covers your eyeballs. He wanted your heart and mind and soul. He wanted all of you. In the last eight verses of this chapter, he lists ear, eyes, heart, flesh, heart, mouth, lips, eyes, eyelids, feet, and hand.

Your eyes select objects and direct your movements toward them, but it is your heart and mind that give and receive feedback from your eyes. Heart and eyes cannot be separated. It is your overall person, eyes included, you must keep in the way of wisdom and truth.

The Lord Jesus taught against spiritual peripheral vision with similar language. And you should look unto Him as the great example of perfect vision for your soul (Heb 12:1-4). The context of His words will let you learn their sense and application (Matt 6:19-24).

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:22-23

Consider the context well. He condemned laying up treasure on earth, when you can lay up treasure in heaven, for your heart will follow your treasure (Matt 6:19-21). And He denied any man can serve two masters – God and mammon, or money (Matt 6:24).

He reasoned, if a man’s natural vision directs his bodily movements, then a blind eye is a horrible thing, for the body cannot know where to move. Considered spiritually, an eye with undivided honesty and zeal for God will lead to holiness, but a double eye of hypocrisy and worldly lusts will lead to destruction. Consider the Saviour’s warning!

Consider an obscure reference to soldiers in Chronicles. Zebulun brought 50,000 fighting men who were of one heart for David (I Chron 12:33). They had no mixed emotions. They were not thinking about going home. They were not thinking about anything else.

Jesus rejoiced to see Nathanael, for his heart was free from duplicity, hypocrisy, and a double mind (John 1:47). He was an Israelite indeed, fully committed to his God. This single purpose in life marks a consistent Christian that is of great value to Jesus Christ.

The Christian life is a race (I Cor 9:26; Heb 12:1). To win, runners must look straight ahead without being distracted by competitors or other things. Paul pressed forward, not looking sideways, to win the prize of God’s high calling (Phil 3:13-14), and he described those with peripheral vision for worldly things as belly worshippers (Phil 3:18-19).

Wicked men have a double heart (Ps 12:1-2). They are not totally committed to the Lord and spiritual things. Their hearts still lust after this world and its things. They are carnally minded, and they show little evidence of grace in their hearts. You can easily spot them, for they never talk about the Lord with the same passion as they talk about their things.

James warned twice against being double minded – or having more than one objective for your life (James 1:8; 4:8). He said a double minded man is unstable in all his ways, and he exhorted you to diligent efforts to reduce your objectives to only one (James 4:8-10).

Eve was seduced by her wandering eyes (Gen 3:6). Lot’s wife could not keep from looking back (Gen 19:17,26). Achan saw Babylonian goods and money that cost him his life (Josh 7:21). And David took what he saw one night from a rooftop (II Sam 11:2).

Your prayer should be for God to keep your eyes from seeing vanity (Ps 119:37). The lust of the eyes is one of the great temptations of man (I John 2:15-17). So careful was Job in his pursuit of holiness, he made a covenant with his eyes against thinking upon young beautiful women (Job 31:1). Contrast him with false teachers (II Pet 2:14).

The first church, under the powerful influence of the Holy Ghost, had a single mind with God and each another (Acts 2:46). They were undivided in their dedicated and solitary ambition of serving the Lord. Things in the corner of their vision did not distract them.

Godly men serve masters with single hearts (Eph 6:5; Col 3:22). Their solitary goal is to please the Lord on the job, regardless of what men may think or do. They do not seek a raise or promotion as their principal objective, for they see only God’s reward.

Dear reader, what distracts your vision and progress? You need only one goal – pleasing God with a holy life and preparing for heaven. Put on your blinders and keep your eyes and motion straight ahead. Look only forward – only upward – and only heavenward!

Did the Lord Jesus have any other objectives in His life on earth? None! Did things around Him distract him? Never! Though he had food, honor, and glory offered to Him by the devil, He remained absolutely faithful to His one goal – pleasing His Father by a perfect life and death. Glory! Follow this great Example and His singular vision!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 

Wise men do not let life happen to them. They act with careful thought and sober reflection. They plan and manage their lives. They choose wise goals and the means to achieve them, and they compare their progress to them. Other than rare acts of God they cannot avoid, they control and direct their circumstances to serve them, not vice versa.

Rather than bouncing from one goal or direction to another, prudent men fix their lives in one steady course. They discipline all aspects of their lives toward their chosen goals. They carefully consider every part of life. They question, evaluate, and muse upon each choice they make to keep their overall objective before them and steady progress to it.

Reader, where are you going? Ponder the path of your feet. Is getting older all you are doing? Is life happening to you, rather than you directing it? Your daily and weekly routines should have a solid purpose and noble objective. Or are you on a treadmill – in a rut – not making any progress? Step back. Ponder the path of your feet. Examine yourself (II Cor 13:5). Consider your ways (Hag 1:5). Commune with your own heart (Ps 4:4).

What does it mean to ponder? It means to weigh a matter mentally, to consider it carefully, to think about it, to muse over it, and to meditate upon it. Most are too busy with too much noise and activity to stop and think soberly about their lives. Instead of musing, they seek amusements – activities designed to stop all thinking. Instead of self- and life-examination, they chase more entertainment. Instead of thinking, they drown out internal conversation with television, movies, music, drinking, or drugs. What folly!

Instead of quiet time to reflect on their lives, they have radios in their cars, televisions in their homes, and cell phones in their pockets. “God is not in all his thoughts” (Ps 10:4). They do not know where they are going, why they are going in a certain direction, or the consequences of it. They are victims of circumstances rather than managers of them. They are foolish and will be punished as surely as gravity causes things to fall downward.

But wisdom cries, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). “Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah” (Ps 4:4). “I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search” (Ps 77:6). “But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him” (Hab 2:20). These are the activities of wise and holy men.

It is the fool who lives without thinking, walks without meditating, and chooses his path without pondering. Christians are called to walk circumspectly – examining their path from all angles! Only by this discipline can they understand and apply God’s will to their lives (Eph 5:15-17). It is your duty to make straight paths for your feet (Heb 12:13).

Another error keeps men from pondering their lives – most of their pondering is about others! It is the wicked, self-righteous hypocrite that ponders the lives of others instead of his own. He comforts himself in his sins by trying to identify as many as possible in others (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus condemned worrying about the mote in another person’s eye while you have barn beams in your own. This activity is the opposite of self-examination, and it proves a person to be the opposite of the righteous and wise – it proves him a fool.

What should you ponder? Are you walking with God and growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ? Are you bearing much spiritual fruit? Are you forgiving, loving, and serving all others to keep the second commandment? Is your marriage what it should be? Do you have activities in your life that create temptation and lead to sin? Are you single minded for the kingdom of God? Do you live with eternity in view? If you were to die today, would Jesus Christ find you in the way of righteousness?

Is your life leading toward the holy objective of pleasing Jesus Christ? Does your path on Sundays include a faithful church where all doctrine and practice matches the Scriptures? Are your priorities consistent with those Solomon lists in this book? Do you read, meditate, pray, and sing in private on a regular basis? Ponder the path of your feet.

Father, have you pondered the path your wife and children are taking? It is your duty before God to lead, guide, and correct them into the right way of the fear of the Lord (Ps 34:11). The true measure of your duty and love is to prepare and perfect them to meet the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you helping them keep their feet in the pathway of righteousness?

What keeps you from pondering the path of your feet? Whatever it is, it is not worth the danger of wandering out of the way of understanding and ending up in the congregation of the dead (Pr 21:16). “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Pr 14:12; 16:25). And reader, if you do not ponder your ways, the LORD is pondering them, especially your sexual ways (Pr 5:21). Do not neglect or forget this sacred duty to ponder your feet!

God Jehovah of the Bible calls you like He did Abraham. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Gen 17:1). Will you answer the call?

If you answer this call, the LORD will send you visible and invisible teachers. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Is 30:21). Do you obey your teachers?

The psalmist said, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Ps 119:59). Reader, will you join the psalmist in this frequent duty of pondering your life? “Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD” (Lam 3:40). Make it a part of your daily exercise in prayer (Ps 139:23-24).

Your flesh, the world, and Satan will daily lay snares in the way. You will face many even today. They will try to tempt and trap you in your thoughts, in your speech, in your relationships, in your job, and everywhere else. It is your duty to consider your ways carefully and avoid those snares. It is your duty to turn away, quickly, from every tempting and threatening situation (Pr 4:14-15; Rom 13:14; II Tim 2:22).

After pondering the path of your feet, it is your duty to fix and secure all your ways in the fear of the Lord. How do you identify the fear of the Lord for your life? By the Holy Scriptures! They are the lamp for your feet and the light for your path (Ps 119:105). The sure rock of Christ’s sayings must be the foundation of your house (Matt 7:24-27; II Pet 1:19-21). Establish – fix and settle permanently – all your ways in the Lord. And the grace of God is able to bless you toward this glorious life (I Pet 5:10; I Thess 3:12-13).

True disciples, the true children of God, continue in the word of Christ (John 8:31). They are not moved away from the hope of the gospel, but rather continue in the faith grounded and settled (Col 1:23). And it is by this confident and established perseverance in the truth that you show you are the true brethren of the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb 3:6,14).


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 4:10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many.

Would you like a long life? Many are obsessed with life extension, as shown by the money and time spent on vitamins, medication, surgery, and diet and exercise programs. This proverb offers a long life, but few will be interested, because it requires humility and obedience. Most people would rather pay for placebos and continue in sin and pride.

David taught Solomon to crave and value wisdom (Pr 4:3-9), and Solomon taught his son the same (Pr 4:1-2). By the emphasis of two generations – an exceptional father and grandfather – the importance of wisdom was made clear. Solomon then appealed to his son to hear and receive the fatherly advice he himself had been taught for a long life.

Solomon said, “Hear, O my son.” Men have trouble hearing advice, because their own feelings, thoughts, ideas, opinions, preferences, and goals race loudly through their foolish minds. Others are too busy chasing vanity and do not have the time to listen. Only a few have the wisdom to make the time and shut down their own ignorant thinking to learn knowledge from another, whom God has appointed as a teacher (Pr 18:1-2).

Solomon said, “Receive my sayings.” Men resent correction, instruction, and reproof, because their pride will not admit they are wrong. The bondage of arrogance and conceit dooms most men to a life of ignorance and failure (Pr 26:12,16). They cannot learn, because they will not reject their ideas to admit another is wiser. Only a few have wisdom to admit ignorance and learn from others (I Kgs 3:7; Ps 131:1-3; Jer 1:6; Matt 18:3-4).

God, parents, and pastors teach wisdom. He wrote the Bible, a divine library of 66 books filled with wisdom in various literary forms. God gives parents to children from their first moments to help them avoid the troubles of life. And Jesus Christ ordained true pastors to feed His people with knowledge and understanding (Jer 3:15). It is your duty to humble yourself and tremble before these ordained teachers (Is 66:2; Eph 6:1-3; I Thess 5:20).

Learning wisdom will extend your life, and it will enhance your life. There is safety in wisdom that secures you from life’s dangers and the judgment of God and men (Pr 2:18; 3:2,16; 5:5; 7:27; 8:36; 9:11,18; 10:2; 11:4,19; 12:28; 13:14; 14:12,27; 16:14,25; 18:21; 21:6). And there is a reward in wisdom that brings glory and honor (Pr 3:16; 4:8-9; 22:4). Do you fully appreciate the value in hearing and receiving the sayings of your teachers?

Wisdom will extend your life naturally, especially the sayings of this book of Proverbs. Here are warnings against life-shortening consequences of accidents, adultery, anger, bitterness, a broken heart, capital punishment, crime, depression, disease, divorce, drunkenness, envy, fear, gluttony, grief, guilt, hatred, marital dysfunction, murder, STDs, stress, strife, violence. It is wisdom to consider these sinful causes of premature death.

If you do not think the above things shorten physical life, you need to think again. Some will kill you directly; some will kill you indirectly. Consider just for starters the enormous power of psychosomatic illnesses – bodily breakdown from mental or spiritual problems (Pr 15:13; 17:22; 18:14). Modern medicine confirms that a content and happy person in a monogamous marriage will outlive a single whoremonger of either sex.

Wisdom will extend your life supernaturally by securing God’s blessings and/or avoiding His justice and judgment. The blessed God will cut off the lives of the wicked (Ps 55:23; Eccl 7:17), but He will extend the lives of the righteous (Pr 10:27; Ps 34:11-16; 91:14-16; 128:6; I Tim 4:8; I Pet 3:8-12). Remember the reward of long life for obeying parents (Eph 6:1-3). When God is on your side by obedience to His word and teachers, you have done more for your future health and longevity than any exercise or nutrition program.

Consider the shortened lives of the world’s inhabitants (Gen 7:21-24), Sodom’s fine citizens (Gen 19:24-25), Er and Onan (Gen 38:7-10), Eli’s sons (I Sam 2:25), Nabal (I Sam 25:38), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), Herod (Acts 12:23), and many church members at Corinth (I Cor 11:30). This is no laughing matter, for you see it throughout the Old Testament; and you see it even among church members of the New Testament.

Solomon wrote elsewhere, “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” (Eccl 7:17.) It is a known fact that hard living – a sinful lifestyle – shortens life expectancy. What will you do with the sayings of the teachers in your life? Will you hear and receive them and live? Or reject them and die?

Son, do you hear and receive your father’s sayings? Do you gladly listen to your father and appreciate his correction, instruction, and warnings? Or do you resent him for ignoring your great experience and wisdom? Do you ignore him because he is out of touch with your foolish and vain world? Humble yourself, or die young (Eph 6:1-3).

Father, do you say wise things to your son regularly? Or do you just bring home the bacon, vegetate with the television, and become a couch potato. You must teach him the wisdom of God (Ps 34:11; Eph 6:4; Joel 1:3). Do it, or you will cost him years of his life! Why did you have him in the first place, if you are not going to teach him to be wise?

The God of heaven has spoken by His word. Will you hear and receive the sayings? He has sent pastors to feed His people from that word. Will you hear and receive their sayings? Natural and supernatural blessings depend on your choice. What will it be? Will you live a long and abundant life? Or will you be cut off early after living miserably?


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 4:4 He taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; Keep my commands and you will live

Here is the greatest gift of a father – wisdom and truth! What is your family transferring from generation to generation? Solomon admitted that his father, David, had taught him. So he taught his children to continue the perpetuation of knowledge from father to son. He stressed that a successful life required his son to retain and keep this knowledge.

Note the proverb’s opening words: “He taught me also.” Solomon was the favorite son of David, so the instruction David gave him came from a loving heart desiring the very best for his son (Pr 4:1-4). In faithful fulfillment of his own office as father, King Solomon appealed to his own children to hear instruction from him like he had from his father.

How is truth perpetuated in the earth? What is the greatest gift parents can give children? The greatest heritage parents give their children is wisdom and truth, which is how both are kept in the world. Two passages of Scripture carefully describe four generations as every man’s goal (Ps 78:1-8; Joel 1:1-3). Therefore, godly families should never repeat the same mistakes, and they should greatly increase in wisdom, generation by generation.

Fathers are to be teachers. This is not an option or suggestion. Under both testaments, the father was the designated teacher (Deut 4:9; 6:4-7; Eph 6:4). If a child remains a fool and shames his parents, it is because the father did not do his job (Pr 22:6; 29:15). It is a horrible shame that television, public schools, and peer pressure do most teaching today.

Sons like Solomon are not chance events. David and Bathsheba taught Solomon. While God blessed Solomon with much wisdom after he became king, it was David who had given him an excellent foundation from his youth up. Surely David had seen the dire consequences of neglecting his other sons, Adonijah, Absalom, and Amnon (I Kings 1:6).

David taught Solomon three things. First, retain what I teach you. Do more than hear me. Listen to what I say, grasp its meaning, agree in your heart with its righteousness and truthfulness, meditate on it, review the principles, and apply them to every case you see. Remember the lesson by careful comprehension at first hearing and by frequent review.

Second, keep my commandments. It is not enough to hear and retain a father’s advice, you must keep it – you must do it. As with the word of God, it is the doers of the word who are blessed, not the hearers (Jas 1:21-25). Parental rules are only good to the degree the rules are obeyed. Sons must be taught to obey, and their obedience must be enforced.

Third, the goal and result of this instruction is your successful life. You are not reading about minor things here – you are dealing with life, your life! Keep these rules and live. Live well! Live righteously! Live abundantly! Grow in favor with God and men. This is the good life. This is the blessed life. This is the protected life. This is the prosperous life.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Your heart determines your life. This may be the most important proverb. The favor or grief in your life depends on ruling and training your heart. If you direct and instruct your heart with godly inputs, there is no limit to your potential success before God and men.

Every sin starts in your heart, and your character and speech reflect your heart. You can only pretend to be different than your heart for a short time, for it will quickly regain control and dictate your actions. Others know your heart by your words and choices.

Our heart, our feelings of love and desire-dictates to a great extent how we live because we always find time to do what we enjoy. Solomon tells us to guard our heart above all else, making sure we concentrate on those desires that will keep us on the right path. Make sure your affections push you in the right direction. Put boundaries (Guard Rails) on your desires: don’t go after everything you see. Look straight ahead, keep your eyes fixed on your goal, and don’t get sidetracked on detours that lead to sin.

David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). What a description! This should be your life goal! But David guarded his heart by careful self-examination, confession, prayer, friends, singing, etc. (Ps 4:4; 9:1; 15:2; 17:3; 19:8,12,14; 24:4; 26:2; 27:3,8,14; 28:7; 32:11; 34;18; 37:31; 51:10,17; 57:7; 61:2; 62:8,10; 66:18; 77:6; 84:2; 86:11-12; 101:2-5; 108:1; 111:1; 112:7-8; 119:11,32,36,63,111; 139:23-24; 131:1; 141:4-5).

Your heart is your greatest asset, for it can do more for you than anything else. It is much more than the muscle beating 70 times a minute in your chest. You need to consider and prize the inner, decision-making part of you that loves certain things and chooses to do them over other things. Learn to set your affections on good things (Col 3:2; Matt 6:21).

You can keep your heart good, or you can let it become bad. You can be diligent in this project, or you can be lazy. God’s children have an old man that tempts them to evil, but their new man calls them to godliness. Your heart must decide between the two often. Every person makes a series of choices each day. What are you going to do today?

Whatever is in your heart comes out in your life. If your heart is full of good things, your life will show that goodness; if your heart is full of sinful thoughts, your life will show them. The large tests and decisions you will face many times in life are dependent on your heart, and so are the small choices that you make hundreds of times a day.

Is your heart pure? Are you working to keep it pure today? Do you know that laziness in this matter will bring severe trouble and pain to your life? You must eliminate negative inputs to your heart e.g. Hollywood entertainment, foolish or sinful friends, and worldly music. You should feed your heart with godly music, the Bible, prayer, and holy friends.

Jesus Christ condemned the Pharisees for emphasizing man’s outward appearance; He emphasized man’s heart instead. He said the following in two different places:

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 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.
Matthew 12:34-35

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Matthew 15:18-19

Sin begins in the heart. Lust for a sin attracts your heart, so you think about it. If you think about it enough, you will do it. The result of this choice is death. Protect yourself by keeping your heart diligently from sinful thoughts (James 1:13-16). God sent the Flood to drown the earth for their wicked imagination (Gen 6:5), so hate any evil fantasies.

Think about an evil heart and how it affects the various issues of life. Sexual fantasizing will lead to filthiness, fornication, adultery, or defrauding your spouse – all because you allowed sinful thoughts in your heart. The same is true of bitterness toward others, coveting things you do not have, pride, excess ambition, envy, and other sins like them.

How can you keep a pure heart? Protect it from influences toward sin (Ps 101:3; I Cor 15:33), and supply it with influences toward holiness (Ps 119:11,63; 101:6). Get away from evil things, and spend your time with good thoughts and things (Phil 4:8). This is actually quite simple, but it takes strong personal commitment and discipline to do it.

Since even thinking about foolishness is sin (Pr 24:9), and desiring another woman is adultery in your heart (Matt 5:28), you must often examine your heart with the Lord’s help (Ps 139:23-24). Hiding scripture in your heart by reading, meditation, and memorization will further protect you from sinful thoughts (Ps 119:9,11,15,105).

Jesus Christ sees your heart clearly and fully (Heb 4:12-13), so He will reward diligence if He sees a faithful heart (II Chron 16:9), and He will punish folly if He sees a heart with idols set up in it (Ezek 14:3-8). It is foolish to think He does not see every idea and thought of your heart (Jer 17:9-10; Rev 2:23). He knows you better than you know you.

As David kept his heart, you can keep and perfect your heart. Remember, he was careful and faithful to examine himself, to confess his sins, to pray, to delight in God’s words, to choose only godly friends, to give thanks and sing praises to God. These heart exercises will keep your heart noble and righteous, and keeping it like this will bring God’s favor.

Solomon taught you to work at fearing God each day. He wrote elsewhere, “Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long” (Pr 23:17). The apostle Jude put it this way: “Keep yourselves in the love of God” (Jude 1:21). You can and will stop loving and fearing God, if you allow sin to harden your heart (Heb 3:12-13). Never forget this proverb, and with God’s help and strength, keep your heart diligently.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 4:07 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Here is the key to Proverbs! Here is the key to life! These are King David’s words to his son Solomon (Pr 4:1-9). They explain the purpose of the book of Proverbs. They describe the greatest goal for your life – the important pursuit of wisdom and understanding.

Most men get distracted pursuing all kinds of other things. It is man’s folly and trouble that any other ambition ever competes with this goal. It is your duty and blessed privilege to consider the wonderful opportunity of wisdom and seek it with all your might.

Wisdom is the principal thing – the most important matter in life. What is wisdom? It is the power of right judgment – the ability to choose the correct solution for any situation. It is knowing how to think, speak, and act to please both God and men throughout life.

Wisdom is the basis for victorious living. Without wisdom, men make choices that bring pain, poverty, trouble, and even death. With it, men make choices that bring them health, peace, prosperity, success, and life. Your future depends on your degree of wisdom.

Understanding is connected to wisdom, and it also is an important goal. Understanding is the power of discernment – to see past what meets the eye and recognize the actual faults or merits of a thing. It is the ability to grasp a matter or situation and assess it correctly.

Without understanding, men are easily deceived and led astray. Without it, men are confused and perplexed. With it, men can see what others miss, and they can avoid the snares and traps of seducing sins. With it, life’s difficulties become quite simple.

Here is the road to success! What will you do with this axiom? If you neglect wisdom, you will bring pain and trouble upon you and your family. If you make it a priority to get wisdom and understanding, you will bask in pleasant prosperity. Finding wisdom brings life and God’s favor; neglecting it wrongs your own soul and brings death (Pr 8:35-36).

The world spends trillions on education, but neglect wisdom and understanding. Parents sacrifice for children to “get an education,” as if it were the noblest of human goals. They do not realize learning without wisdom or understanding is dangerous, for it gives false confidence in knowledge. An educated fool is worse than an ignorant fool (Pr 26:12)!

It matters little who discovered Bolivia, or if it was discovered. Unless you work for NASA, calculus has little use, though it does excuse a lower grade point average! Regurgitating facts you will never use in the real world is one of the greatest hoaxes ever sold. Paul warned of much learning that never leads to truth or wisdom (II Tim 3:6-7).

Wisdom is the principal thing, but it is not in the scope and sequence of any grade, of any state, of any nation. A bachelor’s degree in America takes 17 years of formal education, but the degree is granted without any evaluation of wisdom. Resumes formally list education and professional experience, but there is not a single line about wisdom.

Wisdom and understanding require knowing and fearing God (Pr 1:7; 9:10; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10). You cannot even start to be wise without fearing and loving the true Creator God – Jehovah of the Bible. But these vital prerequisites and their source document are forbidden and ridiculed in America and other nations’ institutions of “higher learning”!

What higher learning are educators talking about? Irrelevant facts and insane reasoning! Facts without the correct context and a productive purpose are irrelevant and distracting. Reasoning without the correct First Cause and moral absolutes is hallucination. These educators need to study, The Emperor’s New Clothes, by Hans Christian Andersen.

What are the main goals of so-called enlightened nations? Pleasure! Which is no better than the Epicurean madness of the Greeks (Acts 17:16-34). Money! Which is the root of all evil and drowns men in destruction (I Tim 6:6-10). Health! Which is quite worthless, if your stronger and longer life is used to extend your dysfunctional living (Pr 13:15).

Parent! What do you do with and for your children? Do you teach them the power of right judgment and right discernment? Do you have these abilities yourself? Or do you think you are a great parent by providing three squares a day, a few hours of restricted television, and picking them up from soccer practice after school? Life is so much more.

Parent! Wisdom is found in the Bible, and any thoughts contrary to it are dark ignorance (Ps 119:128; Is 8:20; I Tim 6:3-5,20). You must learn wisdom from the Bible, and you must teach it to your children (Deut 6:4-9; Eph 6:4; II Tim 3:15). Miss Huckleberry at the elementary school will not do it. Most pastors and churches do not even do it today.

Parent! Wisdom is a Bible worldview. Men are drunk on nihilism, naturalism, humanism, pantheism, etc. Your children must be convinced of a Creator God, Who revealed absolute truth in the Bible, which is perfect in every part, and contains the facts of Jesus Christ, the devil, the origin and future of man, eternal punishment, and rules for living.

Parent! Wisdom may be seen clearly by comparing it to folly, as many of Solomon’s proverbs do. You have daily opportunities in this confused and profane world to identify the foolishness of man and show the answer of wisdom – straight from the Word of God. It is the blessed privilege of the righteous to mock and ridicule the ignorance of fools!

Parent! God did not leave you without tools. He gave you an inspired library of sixty-six books covering the entire scope of wisdom and understanding. He inspired David and Solomon to give you the proverb before you. The book of Proverbs should be required learning for every child. He also gifted and ordained pastors and teachers to help you.

Wisdom takes a commitment (Pr 18:1) to reject your thoughts (Pr 3:5; 17:16; 18:2). It cannot be a part-time pursuit, for it requires the careful diligence that hunting for hidden treasure requires (Pr 2:1-9). You must redeem your time for the pursuit (Eph 5:15-17). Yet it is easy for those who love it and seek it with humble readiness (Pr 8:17; 14:6).

May God bless His children to simplify their lives – getting rid of unnecessary noise and distraction – to focus on the principal things – wisdom and understanding. Do not let the world or devil distract you with frivolous and worthless pursuits. Do not join most co-called Christians today as they turn from the truth to fables as Paul warned (II Tim 4:3-4).

Jesus grew in wisdom and in favor with God and man (Lu 2:52), the perfect goals for you and your family. In Him are hid all treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3). God put His elect in Christ Jesus and made Him wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption for them (I Cor 1:30). The greatest wisdom is to believe this and live like it.