Proverbs 4:1-27

Verse 1-13

  1. Verse 1-13 – An earnest exhortation to the study of wisdom, that is, of true religion and godliness, borrowed from the good instructions which his father gave him, and enforced with many considerable arguments.

    1. Verse 1, Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

      1. It is necessary for parents to teach their children.

      2. Solomon had a great example in his father David, and he started out by following that good example.

    2. It is interesting that verse 1 mentions “ye children” as if there is more than one.

      1. The scripture only mentions one child of Solomon, Reboboam.

      2. There is little doubt in my mind that Solomon had many children, as he had 700 wives and 300 concubines, I Kings 11:3.

      3. I wonder if Solomon set up a school for all his children, which he personally taught in.

      4. I also wonder if David established a school for his children.

    3. It is necessary for children to listen to the instructions of their parents.

      1. Children should listen to the parents in their youth, because that is the time of their learning, and establishing life long habits.

      2. It is necessary for children to “attend” to the instruction of their parents.

      3. It should be noted that Rehoboam, the son of Solomon got very little good from Solomon’s instructions.

    4. Verse 2, For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

      1. Children can learn doctrine.

        1. Doctrine is defined as teaching, or learning.

        2. Doctrine is not only systematic religious theology, it is also the practical, everyday application of learning that every child needs, and every parent should give.

        3. True doctrine is always Bible based, and never changes from generation to generation.

        4. If a child will accept the Bible doctrine of his parents, he will also submit to the law of God, because he will know that is where his parents got their doctrine.

      2. Fathers should always give their children good doctrine.

        1. It must be noted that it is the duty of fathers to teach their children.

        2. Today, it seems this responsibility has been relegated to the mothers, but this is error, as is clearly seen in the breakdown of families.

        3. Many dads have not given their children a proper guide as to how they should act as children or adults.

      3. It is the responsibility of children to keep the law of God.

    5. Verse 3, For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

      1. The reason Solomon desires to teach his children the wisdom of God.

        1. David taught Solomon because he was his son.

          1. David had the responsibility to teach his own children, which he did not forsake.

          2. Parents should willingly and lovingly teach their children.

          3. Parents should remember children learn more from example than from words, especially when words contradict actions.

        2. David taught him when he was young.

          1. It is good to be taught the word of God while young.

          2. It is good to be able to apply the word of God while young.

          3. Much wickedness and misery is avoided.

      2. David was king, yet took the time to teach his children the wisdom of God.

        1. Ministers and others who are in the public position of leadership must take the time to take care of their own families.

        2. Their busy schedules do not relief them of the responsibility of taking care of their families.

        3. All good works, especially public works, begin at home.

        4. 1 Timothy 3:4-5 states concerning a pastor, One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

    6. Verse 4, He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

      1. It is good that children remember the instructions of their parents.

        1. Sometimes parents think their children hear very little of their instructions, but it appears Solomon remember the words David taught him, and was happy to teach those same principles to his children.

        2. Solomon did forget the instructions of David in his old age, because his strange wives turned his heart from God, but at this point David’s instructions still impress him.

      2. Solomon is the wisest man to ever live, yet thought it good to repeat the instructions of his dad.

        1. Solomon did not think is wisdom greater than David’s, as both came from God.

        2. Solomon’s children will have an indelible link with the dead granddad, which gives them peace in continuity.

      3. Verse 5 through at least the remainder of this chapter is the words David used to teach Solomon.

    7. Verse 5-10, Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. 10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

      1. James 1:5 declares, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

        1. If wisdom only comes from God when we ask, why does Solomon instruct his children to “get wisdom”?

        2. Because it is necessary to diligently seek that which God gives as gifts.

        3. The seeking teaches us that what God gives is out of our reach – that we cannot attain it by any strength of ourselves.

        4. Godly seeking, knowing we cannot attain, leads us to ask God for that which only he can give to us.

        5. When we receive thus from God, we know it is his gift, and not gained because of our gift.

        6. Therefore, we are the more able to give glory to God because of his goodness to us.

        7. Salvation and Godly living is also a gift of God’s grace on us, yet we are commanded to seek God’s salvation and the power to live for him.

      2. The words of instructions must be heard, but if they are only heard and not received, the sound is empty and vain to the hearer. May God help us to not only hear, but to also receive His sayings.

      3. One promise to those that hear and receive wisdom is long life. This involves not only spiritual blessings, but physical blessings as well.

      4. Notice the urgency of receiving and retaining wisdom.

        1. It is especially good for young people to see the urgency of receiving wisdom, as they are prone to foolishness.

        2. It is especially for older people to see the necessity of retaining wisdom, as they are prone to rest on past victories.

      5. Wisdom in the principal thing.

        1. The word “principal” indicates that wisdom is the chief thing, the first thing, the beginning thing.

          1. Wisdom is not only the main thing (principal thing), it is also the basic truth, or a fixed predetermined policy or mode of action (principle thing).

          2. True wisdom is everything, because true wisdom is of God.

        2. Psalms 111:10 states, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

        3. Proverbs 9:10 declares, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

      6. Getting wisdom comes before all other training, because Godly wisdom gives knowledge about how everything else works.

    8. Verse 11, I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.

      1. Taught thee and led thee. Two distinct actions. One is with the mouth, the other is with the life.

      2. Parents make a big mistake if they think they can talk to their children, and they will understand and follow those instructions. Children most often will follow the paths the parents lead their children on regardless of what they say to them.

      3. I know some parents where the dad wouldn't go to church. The mother took the little boy and girl, until the boy got up old enough to say he wanted to stay home like his daddy.

      4. I know some other parents where the dad wouldn't go to church, but wouldn't let the boy stay home with him, insisting that the boys go to church with their mother. The boys would try to get their dad to go to church with them, but he simply wouldn't go, except to a singing every now and then. All of the boys are still active in church, and now that all the children are grown up and away from home, the dad is now attending church with his wife.

    9. Verse 12, When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

      1. "straitened" means in a straight,narrow place. A place of distress, where there is not much room to walk without falling. God shall put those that follow His commands in a wide place, where there is plenty of room for walking about, and even running, with no danger of falling.

      2. Compare not stumbling with verse 19 where the people in the dark path stumble, but do not understand what they are stumbling over.

    10. Verse 13, Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

      1. The person who won't listen to instruction will soon die because of their own foolishness.

      2. Brother Victor Brooks told of a real stupid lawyer who wouldn't tell anybody his air tanks (on his diving gear) was very low (200 PSI) because he was too stubborn to admit he had made a mistake. Here was a man who was too proud to admit he might be dead any minute! Ain't that stupid!!

Verse 14-19

  1. Verse 14-19 – A necessary caution against bad company and all fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

    1. If the admonitions of the first 13 verses of this chapter are not heeded, it is very doubtful verse 14-19 will be fulfilled.

      1. It is absolutely necessary to heed the warnings given in love, because they are looking out for the best interests of those they love.

      2. They have nothing personally to gain from warnings of danger, except to see their followers walk in the paths of righteousness and avoid the pitfalls of Satan.

    2. Verse 14, Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

      1. Don't even start down the path wicked men go because you will soon find there is no turning back, or at the best, it is very difficult to turn back.

      2. If you are able to turn back, you'll always remember that you went down the wrong path for a while. The time you spend on the wrong path is lost for God's sake and can never be reclaimed.

    3. Verse 15, Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

      1. There are four descriptions given to keep away from this evil, dark path that leads to destruction.

        1. Avoid it.

          1. “Avoid it” means to refuse it.

          2. To not uncover it, or make it naked to you.

          3. To not see it, and do not look for it.

        2. Pass not by it.

          1. “Pass not by it” means to pass over from where the evil it.

          2. I would declare the phrase means to go somewhere else, rather than go where the evil is: to stay away from the place where the evil is.

        3. Turn from it.

          1. The phrase "turn from it" means "do not even look at it from afar".

          2. Sometimes people think it is okay to stand on "Christian" ground and gaze into the ways of the wicked.

          3. People think they are safe if they stay afar off from the wickedness, only looking at it with their eyes, and hearing the evil with their ears.

          4. The danger is that a look soon becomes a longing for a touch, and a longing for a touch soon becomes a touch, and that turns into totally forsaking God's ways and a total following Satan's ways, to the destruction of the flesh, and the wasting of the life

        4. Pass away.

          1. This “pass away” is almost as the “pass not by it” except this command is more emphatic and urgent.

          2. It is imperative that we understand we must go another way than evil, or we will soon be entrapped by that evil.

    4. Verse 16, For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

      1. We might have trouble believing there are people like this in the world, but it is so.

      2. There are some people so mean and rebellious against God they cannot find rest for their weary bodies until they have laid in bed, thinking of some way to "hook or crook" somebody.

      3. There is no way to not see evil, but there are very positive things each person can do to avoid evil.

    5. Verse 17, For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

      1. They love wickedness and violence as much as some people like to eat and drink (that's most of us!)

      2. Or: The very bread and wine they eat is the fruit of wickedness.

    6. Verse 18, But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

      1. The just are not the shining light, the path of the just is as a shining light.

        1. Jesus Christ is the light of the world, we are not!

        2. Therefore, the just can see where they are walking and running.

        3. As they live longer and longer and get further and further down this shining path, they can see more and more, clearer and clearer.

        4. They have no regrets about the life they live, for they find it very satisfying to their physical bodies, and spiritual hearts.

        5. They understand more about the shining path of righteousness in the end of their lives than they were able to see in the beginning of their lives.

      2. A lot of things that young people want to do and be involved in is good and right to do, but when a person gets older, and they realize they have but a very short time on this earth, they desire to use all of their remaining lives to the glory of God.

        1. They will say they don't have time to engage in some activities that are not sin, but take time away from personal devotions or preparation for public worship.

        2. I remember Mrs. Annie Alls stating she discovered in her old age the futility of reading books other than the Bible and other good Christian books, as her eyesight failed and she could hardly read the Bible.

    7. Verse 19, The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

      1. The wicked do stumble.

      2. The Bible clearly states they stumble, but they don't know at what they stumble.

      3. Their path is dark and they can't see where they are going (the end of their lives).

      4. They can't see the path or the stumbling stone of Jesus Christ and His righteousness.

Verse 20-27

  1. Verse 20-27 – Particular directions for the attaining and preserving of wisdom, and bringing forth the fruits of it. So plainly, so pressingly, is the case laid before us, that we shall be for ever inexcusable if we perish in our folly.

    1. Verse 20, My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

      1. The prayer filled desire of Godly parents is that their children would listen to Godly wisdom and make proper application in their daily lives.

      2. Parents desire for children to listen to the wisdom of the ages, not going in the way of the young and foolish.

        1. I Kings 12:12-15 – Rehoboam forsook the advice of Solomon’s old and aged advisors in favor of the ignorant advice of the youth he grew up with.

        2. Verse 15 declares this was of the Lord because of the prophecy given to Jeroboam.

        3. God gave the 10 tribes to Jeroboam because of Solomon’s old age rebellion.

    2. Verse 21, Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

      1. The word “them” refers to the words of Godly, Biblical wisdom given by parents to children.

      2. Two bits of advice – let wisdom not depart from thine eyes, keep wisdom in your heart.

        1. This is the responsibility of every person.

        2. Never let us “cop out” by declaring God has predestinated us to sin.

      3. Compare to verse 25 – the eyes are to look straight at God, and his will for us, never veering from his perfect will.

      4. According to verse 23, we must keep (guard) our own heart for that decides the path of life we will take.

        1. Never “follow your heart” as is advocated today for according to Jeremiah 17:9, your heart is desperately wicked, and you do not know your own heart.

    3. Verse 22, For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

      1. Everybody wants to have eternal life, but very few people are willing to empty themselves of their self righteousness, see themselves as totally depraved sinners, and trust Christ to save them.

      2. Everybody wants to be healthy, but very few people desire to follow the rules and regulations set out in God's holy Word for a healthy life.

    4. Verse 23, Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

      1. This verse does not state to keep the law with your body, (even though it is good to do in the body what the law requires) rather to keep Godly wisdom with all the heart.

      2. It is our job to keep (guard) our heart, not let our heart lead us, as modernists continually declare.

      3. This is hard work, as the word “diligence” relates.

    5. Verse 24-25, Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

      1. These two verses go together, as looking straight at Christ will cause the froward mouth and perverse lip to stop.

      2. Verse 25 instructs us to always look straight ahead at the goal God requires of us.

        1. Luke 9:62 states, And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

        2. It is impossible to walk the straight and narrow if we are constantly looking around us, or looking back at what we have done.

    6. Verse 26-27, Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

      1. Ponder means to weight carefully the end result.

      2. It is by pondering the path we are presently on that we see the end result of current actions.

      3. Do not turn aside from the path of life, because there is evil on every side.

      4. The end of your life will be filled with regret if you stray from the straight and narrow.

      5. If we do not look to the right or left, we won’t be as apt to go to the right or left.

        1. That is why verse 21 encourages us to keep our eyes on Jesus and our heart under holy control.

        2. That is why verse 23 instructs us to keep our heart by trying very hard.

          1. It is very easy to do what we “feel” we should do instead of what we know we ought to do.

          2. Many people have slowly slipped into sin by doing what they felt, because it gave them some sort of sadistic relief.

          3. Many people say they felt God wanted them to do such and such a thing, but that is not proper to say.

          4. We should be saying that God instructed us out of his word to do such and such.

        3. That is why verse 25 instructs us to continually look to Christ and not look anywhere else.

        4. That is why verse 26 tells us to ponder the end result of decisions, making them only with the blessings of God.