Proverbs 4

Proverbs 4 tells us the power of being instructed.  Solomon starts with these words: “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight”.  We need to listen to instruction, and most of all to God’s instruction.  The chapter goes on to tell us how we should respond to teaching and instruction.  Scripture is full of it, and we also get it from our parents and other places.  But we are focused here on how we are to respond to God’s truth.  Check out this long list of how we should receive it:

–       “do not forsake my teaching

–       your heart hold fast my words

–       keep my commandments

–       Get wisdom

–       get insight

–       do not forget

–       do not turn away

–       Do not forsake her

–       love her

–       Prize her highly

–       embrace her

–       accept my words

–       Keep hold of instruction

–       do not let go

–       guard her

–       she is your life

–       be attentive to my words

–       incline your ear to my sayings

–       Let them not escape from your sight

–       keep them within your heart

Receiving God’s truth is something that needs to be a focus and passion, not just something that we allow to happen randomly.  We need to be focused on getting into God’s Word so we can receive His instruction and be trained in how to live.  The Bible is our guidebook for life. It is how we are to live each and every day.  And we need to seek it so it can impact us.  It really does matter.  It can keep us on the right course.  In fact, the proverb tells us exactly that: “I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.  When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble”.  We need to get God’s truth into our hearts and lives.  It is what keeps us on course.

We learn another key lesson here, the power of the heart.  “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”.  We need to realize just how important it is to guard our hearts.  It is the source of life.  It is where our very being flows from.  It is where God resides within us.  The heart is the lifeblood of our being.  And we need to protect it carefully.  We must not allow evil to penetrate.  We must not allow bad to get inside.  Other versions say “guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life”.  It is critical that we are on guard and keep our heart pure and focused on God.

The chapter ends with a couple verses that drive home the power of planning.  “Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left”.  We need to ponder our path, and be sure we are going where we should.  Planning is the way to do that.  If we seek God and put together a plan based on His leading and instruction (remember that a significant portion of the plan for our life is already defined in His Word), then we just have to stay the course.  We need to seek Him, follow Him, create a plan, and then stay on the path.  When we do that our ways are sure and good things result.  If we just take life as it comes without any plan or guidelines, we get tossed around and spend most of our time trying to figure out what to do next, not just continuing to march down the path set by a plan.  Ponder the path – it is so important to get it written down – and then be accountable to live it.

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