Thanks for being a part of the Proverbs challenge. I am praying for you as you take time in God’s word.
Today’s reading is Proverbs 4 which describes how Wisdom guides us in the way or the “path” we should go. Remember wisdom comes from God. “The Lord gives wisdom” Proverbs 2:6 Wisdom is found in the words of God. Often as I read Proverbs and see the word “wisdom” I think God’s word.
Here is another definition that may be helpful: “wisdom is Jesus Christ” In other words wisdom is personified in Jesus Christ. The New Testament says, “You are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us the wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:30). Sometimes as I read Proverbs, I substitute “Jesus Christ” where it says “wisdom”
Let’s see how wisdom guides in the right way or “path”.
If we walk in the way of God’s wisdom, the path gets brighter and brighter and there is no sunset (heaven). When the path ends, we step into a land where the light never dims, for “there shall be no night there” (Rev. 22:5).
God has a plan for each of His children (Eph. 2:10). Our path may not be an easy one, but it will always be a fulfilling one as we walk in the will of the Father. This involves three responsibilities on our part: Knowing God’s Word (Prov. 4:19), Trusting God’s Guidance (vv. 10-19), and Guarding My Heart. (vv. 20-27).
Knowing God’s Word (vv. 1-9). Again Solomon speaks as a father instructing his children. Or you can see this as God speaking to his children (you and I). The first verses tell the importance of listening, and keeping to God’s words, “Get wisdom” (Prov. 4:5) suggests, “buy wisdom,” because the Hebrew word carries the idea of a commercial transaction. There’s a price to pay if you want to know God’s truth and obey it. “Buy the truth, and sell it not” (23:23). The father tells his sons to treat wisdom the way they would treat their mother, sister, or wife: love her, honor her, and embrace her. The one you love is the one who will control your life. Embrace Wisdom and you will have security (4:6), honor (v. 8), and beauty (v. 9).
Trusting God’s Guidance (vv. 10-19). When you receive God’s truth into your heart, God renews your mind (Rom. 12:2) and enables you to think wisely. This helps you make right decisions and experience the guidance of God day by day. God in His loving providence directs us and prepares the path for us.
If you are willing to do God’s will, you will have God’s guidance (John 7:17), but if you treat God’s will like a buffet lunch, choosing only what pleases you, He will won’t direct you. But God’s children can’t expect God’s leading if they shuttle back and forth between the path of wisdom and the path of the wicked (Prov. 4:14-17). Stay as far away from that path as you can! Don’t enter it! Avoid it! Don’t go near it! Go as far from it as you can! Certainly we must share our faith with people who do not know Christ people but we must never adopt their lifestyle or imitate their ways. God doesn’t guide His children when they’re walking in darkness. When you’re living in the will of God, the path gets brighter and brighter, not darker and darker (1 John 1:5-10).
The danger is that we let the lessons of wisdom slip through our fingers and we lose them. “Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go” (Prov. 4:13). Hold on to wisdom the way a child holds a parent’s hand and trusts Mother or Father to guide and protect. God is able to keep us from stumbling (Jude 24) if we’ll keep ourselves in His wisdom.
Guarding My Heart (vv. 20-27). This is a wonderful paragraph to us as a personal spiritual inventory. Let’s ask ourselves:
“What comes into my ears?” (v. 20) Whatever enters my ears will ultimately influence my mind, my heart, and my decisions, so I’d better be careful what I listen to. Paul warns us to beware of “obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking” (Eph. 5:4, NIV), and Psalm 1:1 tells us to avoid ungodly counsel. When people speak, we must be able to identify God’s voice (John 10:3-5, 16) and obey what He says.
“What is within my heart?” (v. 23) Whatever the heart loves, the ears will hear and the eyes will see! “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (v. 23, NIV). If we pollute that wellspring, the infection will spread; before long, hidden appetites will become open sins and public shame.
The Bible warns us to avoid a double heart (Ps. 12:2), a hard heart (Prov. 28:14), a proud heart (21:4), an unbelieving heart (Heb. 3:12), a cold heart (Matt. 24:12), and an unclean heart (Ps. 51:10).
“What comes out of my mouth?” (v. 24) Whatever is in the heart will ultimately come out of the mouth (Matt. 12:33-34).
As we shall see in a later chapter, Proverbs has a great deal to say about human speech; in fact, the word “mouth” is used over fifty times and the word “lips” over forty times in the KJV. Among other things, Solomon warns us about perverse lips (Prov. 4:24), lying lips (12:22), flattering lips (20:19), deceptive lips (24:28), and undisciplined lips (10:19). “He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin” (13:3, NIV).
“What is before my eyes?” (v. 25) Outlook determines outcome. Abraham was the friend of God because he walked by faith and “looked for a city… whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). Lot became a friend of the world because he walked by sight and moved toward the wicked city of Sodom (Gen. 13:10, 12). Everybody has some vision before them that helps to determine their values, actions, and plans. We would all be wise to imitate David who said, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” (Ps. 101:3), and the writer of Psalm 119 who prayed, “Turn my eyes away from worthless things” (v. 37, NIV). If you are “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2) as you walk the path of life, then keep that posture of faith. If you look back (Luke 9:62) or around (Matt. 14:30), you may go on a detour.
“What is beyond my path?” (vv. 26-27) The Hebrew word translated “ponder” means “to weigh” or “to make level.” It is related to a word that means “scales” (16:11). Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5, NKJV). The Lord is weighing our ways (Prov. 5:21) and our hearts (21:2), as well as our actions (1 Sam. 2:3), and we had better do the same. Life is too short and too precious to be wasted on the temporary and the trivial.
If we’re walking in the way of wisdom, God promises to protect our path, direct our path, and perfect our path. But if we go our own way it can lead to danger, detours, and disappointments, ultimately leading to death.
Let’s let God’s word and wisdom guide us in the right path.
Until tomorrow, Darrell