Again and again, Proverbs 4 reminds us of the importance of seeking wisdom & letting it inform not only our THINKING but our CHOICES-- the way we walk.
Check out these things found in Proverbs 4:
COMMANDS FOR US, CONCERNING WISDOM--
- Hear (v. 1, 10)
- Be attentive (v. 1, 20)
- Do not forsake (v. 2, 6)
- Let your heart hold fast (v. 4)
- Keep (v. 4)
- Get (v. 5, 7)
- Do not forget (v. 5)
- Do not turn away (v. 5)
- Love [wisdom] (v. 6)
- Prize [wisdom] (v. 8)
- Embrace [wisdom] (v. 8)
- Accept [wisdom] (v. 10)
- Keep hold (v. 13)
- Do not let go. (v. 13)
- Guard [wisdom] (v. 13)
- Incline your ear to it (v. 20)
- Let it not escape your notice (v. 21)
- Keep them within your heart (v. 21)
COMMANDS FOR US, CONCERNING EVIL--
- Do not enter the path of the wicked (v. 14)
- Do not walk in the way of the evil. (v. 14)
- Avoid it. (v. 15)
- Do not go on it. (v. 15)
- Turn away from it and pass on (v. 15)
- Turn your foot away from evil. (v. 27)
As I read through these list, and chapter 4 of Proverbs from which they are taken, I am struck by these things:
- It must be easy to forget about wisdom, or to turn away from it. Look at how many different times and how many different ways he tells his son to KEEP HOLD of it. Prize! Hold fast! Be attentive!
- We are to value wisdom, but that must not be our natural inclination. It is not just anything in life that we prize, embrace, love, hold onto. Wisdom is truly so valuable in our lives, and yet the writer tells us many times over to value it. Why would he say that if we were valuing what is valuable? But the truth is that we are often NOT inclined to prize wisdom as we should. The way of the flesh is to desire to be seen as wise, not to see others as wise & seek their insight. We have to reverse our natural inclinations and intentionally seek and prize wisdom.
- We have a choice whether or not to walk in the way of evil. There is a clear "path of the wicked." The Bible says God has written His law on our hearts-- we KNOW when we are entering a way we should turn away from.
- We are to pay attention to where we're headed. Read this passage (selected verses from Proverbs 4:11-27) and think about the analogy of life like a walk along a pathway:
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.
Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of evil.
Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
Ponder the path of your feet;then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
LOOK IN FRONT OF YOU
I think it's fascinating that he tells us to have our eyes look "directly forward." What happens when we do that, intently, is that we SEE what is in front of us. We take notice of where we're headed, and can make mid-course corrections as need be.
I have that verse- Proverbs 4:26- up on a wall in our home to remind all of us to consider where the choices we're making now-- today-- will lead us. Here's a pic from when I painted it:
What about you?
- Are you truly looking at what's in front of you? (Consider people who have walked the path you are walking. Where does it lead? Are you walking in the way that they walked? What are the natural outcomes/consequences/benefits of continuing to walk in the way you are going?)
- How do you PONDER the path of your feet?
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982/FreeDigitalPhotos.net