Saturday, July 24, 2010

Proverbs 4

1 Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction;
pay attention and gain understanding.

2 I give you sound learning, 

so do not forsake my teaching.

3 For I too was a son to my father, 

still tender, and cherished by my mother.

4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, 

"Take hold of my words with all your heart; 

keep my commands, and you will live.

5 Get wisdom, get understanding; 

do not forget my words or turn away from them.

6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; 

love her, and she will watch over you.

7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. 

Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; 

embrace her, and she will honor you.

9 She will give you a garland to grace your head 

and present you with a glorious crown."

10 Listen, my son, accept what I say, 

and the years of your life will be many.

11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom 

and lead you along straight paths.

12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; 

when you run, you will not stumble.

13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; 

guard it well, for it is your life.

14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked 

or walk in the way of evildoers.

15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; 

turn from it and go on your way.

16 For they cannot rest until they do evil; 

they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.

17 They eat the bread of wickedness 

and drink the wine of violence.

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, 

shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; 

they do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say; 

turn your ear to my words.

21 Do not let them out of your sight, 

keep them within your heart;

22 for they are life to those who find them 

and health to one's whole body.

23 Above all else, guard your heart, 

for everything you do flows from it.

24 Keep your mouth free of perversity; 

keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; 

fix your gaze directly before you.

26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet 

and be steadfast in all your ways.

27 Do not turn to the right or the left; 

keep your foot from evil.

Questions to consider:
  • How does this autobiographical insertion reinforce the previous statements about wisdom?
  • What do you want most from life?
  • How do the Old Testament writers regard longevity of life?
  • Contrast the righteous and the wicked. How can you avoid evil?
  • In what ways does wisdom give you freedom?
  • Why must your heart be disciplined by wisdom?
Possibilities for prayer:

I really like verses 26 and 27. Not only are we to be careful in the paths we choose, but we should be resolute in following the path carefully chosen. Of course, this ties in closely with all that we’ve been learning about wisdom--the gaining of wisdom and knowledge will allow us to come to a good conclusion at the end of careful consideration. Let’s ask God for confidence in the paths we choose after careful and prayerful thought.