A Father’s Wise Instruction
1 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
2for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching.
3When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
4he 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.
6Do 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.
8Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.
9She 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.
11I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12When 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.
15Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.
16For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
18But 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.
22For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.
23Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
24Put 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.
When talking about Proverbs 4 the first thing I have to start with is the title of this chapter. The title speaks to the importance of this text and it also adds an amazing story to the significance of it as well. For many of us we know that King Solomon wrote Proverbs and so we also know that his father was King David. For me just knowing that fact makes this chapter all the more important. I myself am 28 years old and I have gained a lot of wisdom but many of the lessons and the wisdom have came from my father. So as we see Solomon speaking in this chapter from the perspective of a father it has to be in the back of our minds that he is probably speaking out of the some of the things his own father taught him. In verse 3 we see where Solomon speaks to the fact that his own father has taught him what he is writing. In verses 4-9 we actually see where Solomon is quoting his father David. When I re-read this chapter and thought of how God is my father and applied this as His instructions it spoke so true to my spirit as well as my heart.
The second thing in Proverbs 4 that stood out to me was the word “heart”. In 28 years I have sat in many classrooms and have always been taught that wisdom is a thing of the mind. In Proverbs 4 we see that wisdom is not considered to be a characteristic of the mind but rather the heart. The thought that I would like to introduce is that maybe the wisdom that Solomon speaks of isn’t a wisdom we can retain in our minds but rather only in our hearts. Solomon states, “20 My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. 23Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Solomon speaks to his son saying that the heart is the place in which wisdom is kept and through it comes healing to all flesh. My first thought for us in today’s society is that only when we allow Christ in our hearts do we gain true wisdom. In allowing Christ in our hearts we allow healing to take place in all of our flesh and His words are able to bring forth life. I am not in any way a Bible scholar but I know that God speaks to me just as He did Solomon and if I take the instructions of my Father than I must keep His words within my heart for they will flow springs of life and produce healing in my flesh.
The third thing that really spoke to me in this chapter is the word “her”. I recently got married in November and so when I read this chapter and imagined the “her” as my wife it gave me clarity about the way she should and needs to be treated. Solomon writes in such a poetic way that when he spoke of wisdom I sensed he spoke of something that he held dear to his own heart. In verses 6 and 8 Solomon said, “Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.8Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. I know that Solomon speaks of wisdom but I also know that God is speaking to Solomon about the wisdom of the heart. In the matters of the heart there is no greater thing than having respect for the one who you hold dearest to your own heart. This may even be a stretch for some to take as what this Scripture meant but for me personally it speaks to the importance of holding my wife dear to me. If I replaced the words it would say, “Do not forsake Stacey, and Stacey will keep you, love Stacey, and Stacey will guard you. Prize Stacey highly, and Stacey will exalt you, Stacey will honor you if you embrace her. I know that I have only been married for 6 months but I know based on the wisdom in my heart through the words of my father and His instruction that I must not forsake my wife and love her and prize her highly and more than anything embrace her for who she is. This chapter was in no way mistakenly titled and it can have such an impact on our lives if we allow it to.
I have to honestly say that I have never actually read most of Proverbs but I just became a fan. In this one chapter not only have I seen the importance of a father’s instructions in his child’s life but also my Heavenly Father’s in my life. I do not believe in chance and so I know that my Father planned on my reading this chapter of Proverbs at this exact time in my life and I am beyond thankful. This chapter has challenged me to better my marriage as well as be thankful for the lessons my father taught me.
My name is William Joseph Hancock but everyone just calls me Joe. I am 28 years old and I currently live in Winston Salem, NC with my wife Stacey. There honestly isn’t much about me to know except that I love to read, love sports and love the beach. I recently enrolled in Liberty University where I will finish my B.S. in Religion and then I hope to get my Masters of Divinity and also a Master’s in Family and Marriage. I honestly just want to love God and be a man like David, one after God’s heart. If you want to chat hit me up on twitter @Wjoehancock or come chat with me on my blog: firstname.lastname@example.org.