A Father’s Wise Advice (Proverbs 4:1-27)
Scripture: Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. (Proverbs 4:25)
1-2 Listen, friends, to some fatherly advice;
sit up and take notice so you’ll know how to live.
I’m giving you good counsel;
don’t let it go in one ear and out the other.
3-9 When I was a boy at my father’s knee,
the pride and joy of my mother,
He would sit me down and drill me:
“Take this to heart. Do what I tell you—live!
Sell everything and buy Wisdom! Forage for Understanding!
Don’t forget one word! Don’t deviate an inch!
Never walk away from Wisdom—she guards your life;
love her—she keeps her eye on you.
Above all and before all, do this: Get Wisdom!
Write this at the top of your list: Get Understanding!
Throw your arms around her—believe me, you won’t regret it;
never let her go—she’ll make your life glorious.
She’ll garland your life with grace,
she’ll festoon your days with beauty.”
One of the greatest responsibilities of parents is to encourage their children to become wise.
Here Solomon tells how his father, David, encouraged him to seek wisdom when he was young (see 1 Kings 2:1-9; 1 Chronicles 28-29 for David’s charge to his son).
This encouragement may have prompted Solomon to ask God for an understanding mind above all else (1 Kings 3:9).
Wisdom can be passed on from parents to children, from generation to generation.
Ultimately, of course, all wisdom comes from God; parents can only urge their children to turn to Him.
If your parents never taught you in this way, you can learn from the Scriptures and then create a legacy of wisdom as you teach your own children.
If you want wisdom, you must decide to go after it. This will take resolve – a determination not to abandon the search once you begin, no matter how difficult the road may become.
This is not a once-in-a-lifetime step but a daily process of choosing between two paths:
- The way of the wicked (Proverbs 4:14-17,19).
- The way of righteousness (Proverbs 4:18).
Nothing is more important or more valuable.
David taught Solomon as a young boy that seeking God’s wisdom was the most important choice he could make.
Solomon learned the lesson well…
When God appeared to Solomon to fulfill any request, the new king chose wisdom above all else.
We should also make God’s wisdom our first choice.
We don’t have to wait on God to appear to us. We can boldly ask Him for wisdom today through prayer.
James 1:5 assures us that God will grant our request.
10-15 Dear friend, take my advice;
it will add years to your life.
I’m writing out clear directions to Wisdom Way,
I’m drawing a map to Righteous Road.
I don’t want you ending up in blind alleys,
or wasting time making wrong turns.
Hold tight to good advice; don’t relax your grip.
Guard it well—your life is at stake!
Don’t take Wicked Bypass;
don’t so much as set foot on that road.
Stay clear of it; give it a wide berth.
Make a detour and be on your way.
16-17 Evil people are restless
unless they’re making trouble;
They can’t get a good night’s sleep
unless they’ve made life miserable for somebody.
Perversity is their food and drink,
violence their drug of choice.
Even friends can make you fail, it is difficult for people to accept the fact that that friends and acquaintances may lure them for wrong.
Young people who want to be accepted would never confront or criticize a friend for wrong plans or actions.
Many other people can’t see how their friends’ actions could lead to trouble.
While we should be accepting of others, we need a healthy skepticism about human behavior.
When you feel yourself being heavily influenced, proceed with caution.
Don’t let your friends cause you to fall into sin.
18-19 The ways of right-living people glow with light;
the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—
travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.
20-22 Dear friend, listen well to my words;
tune your ears to my voice.
Keep my message in plain view at all times.
Concentrate! Learn it by heart!
Those who discover these words live, really live;
body and soul, they’re bursting with health.
23-27 Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that’s where life starts.
Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust.
Our hearts – our feelings of love and desire – dictate to a great extent how we live because we always find time to do what we enjoy.
Solomon tells us to guard our hearts above all else, making sure we concentrate on those desires that will keep us on the right path.
Make sure your affections lead you in the right direction.
Put boundaries 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.