Proverbs 4

True wisdom from God is the principle thing. It is that which recommends us to God, which beautifies the soul, which enables us to answer the ends of our creation, to live to some good purpose in the world and which makes our path brighter and brighter until we get to heaven at last.

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

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

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

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

5 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24 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.

26 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.

Proverbs 4:1-9 – The Counsels of Experience.

​We are next admitted into an ancient Hebrew home, Proverbs 4:1-9. We can hear the old patriarch advising his son, with deep and fond anxiety, that he should make the best of his life. What a difference would come over the land if fathers spoke more often like this! But to speak thus needs a background of noble living. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Proverbs 4:10-27 – ​Guide-Posts on the Way of Life

   One or two sentences stand out in this section, demanding special attention. The path of the just, etc., Proverbs 4:18. We may compare this beautiful similitude with II Samuel 23:4. In the East, where the heavens are for the most part free of cloud, the steadily increasing light of any day to perfect noontide glory is the ordinary experience. Let us so live that the path of our life may become ever more radiant and beneficent in its heat and light.
   Keep thy heart, etc., Proverbs 4:23. “With all diligence.” The gates of the heart need careful scrutiny. When we are careless, thoughts creep in with malign intent. We should imitate the good Nehemiah, 13:19. Ask that pure and holy angels may stand sentry as at the gates of pearl, Revelation 21:12. If you think right, you will live right.
   Ponder the path, etc., Proverbs 4:26. “Established.” Act in haste and repent at leisure! Ask God to keep you back from presumptuous sins; and bear in mind the wise exhortation of Ecclesiastes 5:2. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Proverbs 4:18—The shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

​   This may be referred to the work of God in the heart. He who commanded light to shine out of darkness hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. A little glimmering ray at first, God’s light in the soul grows ever from less to more, revealing Himself and manifesting ourselves, so that we are growingly attracted from the self-life to circle around Him.
   But probably it is true also of the graciousness of the believer’s life. At first it shows itself in little acts of blessing on children and the poor; but the range of influence is always apt to increase, till what was a glimmer of helpfulness becomes as the sun shining in strength. The Sunday-school teacher becomes the preacher; the visitor among the poor becomes the philanthropist; the witness to the Gospel in the factory is called to witness in the great theatre of the world. See to it that there is a steady obedience to God’s least promptings and monitions. Follow on to know the Lord, and to be conformed to his all-wise purpose.
   Once again, notice the comparison in its exquisite beauty. Light is so gentle, noiseless, and tender. There is no sound; its voice is not heard. So is the influence of the holy soul. Its life becomes the light of men. As with the angel over the plain of Bethlehem, it sheds a light around those whom it will presently address. Like the Gulf Stream, which changes our climate from northern rigour to the temperate zone, so a holy life gently and irresistibly influences and blesses the world. The world is no worse than it is, not because of the holy words spoken on the Lord’s Day, but for the holy lives of obscure saints. —Our Daily Homily

Proverbs 4:18 – Have I begun this path of heavenly love and knowledge now? Am I progressing in it? Do I feel some dawnings of the heavenly light, – earnests and ante-pasts of the full day of glory? Let all God’s dealings serve to quicken me in my way. Let every affliction it may please Him to send, be as the moving pillar-cloud of old, beckoning me to move my tent onward, saying, “Arise ye, and depart; for this is not your rest” (Micah 2:10). Let me be often standing now on faith’s lofty eminences, looking for “the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12) – the rising sun which is to set no more in weeping clouds. Wondrous progression! How will all earth’s learning, – its boasted acquirements and eagle-eyed philosophy, – sink into the lispings of very infancy in comparison with this manhood of knowledge! Heaven will be the true “Excelsior.” Its song, “A song of degrees“; Jesus leading His people from height to height of glory, and saying, as He said to Nathaniel, “Thou shalt see greater things than these” (John 1:51). (MacDuff)

Proverbs 4:18 – Today it is fair, the next day there may be the thundering storm: today I may want for nothing; tomorrow I may be like Jacob, with nothing but a stone for my pillow and the heavens for my curtains. But what a happy thought it is! – though we know not where the road winds, we know where it ends. It is the straightest way to heaven to go round about. Israel’s forty years’ wanderings were, after all, the nearest path to Canaan. We may have to go through trial and affliction; the pilgrimage may be a tiresome one, but it is safe. We cannot trace the river upon which we are sailing; but we know it ends in floods of bliss at last. We cannot track the roads; but we know that they all meet in the great metropolis of heaven, in the centre of God’s universe. God help us to pursue the true pilgrimage of a pious life! (Spurgeon)

Proverbs 4:23 – The heart of man is a furnace continually burning. If thou wilt nourish it with meditations of the love of God, there will appear a bright flame of love to God and man; but if thou maintain it with thoughts of self-love, then it will be full of vile smoke, stench, and darkness. (Cawdray)

Proverbs 4:23 – You have seen the great reservoirs provided by our water companies, in which the water which is to supply hundreds of streets and thousands of houses is kept. Now, the heart is just the reservoir of man, and our life is allowed to flow in its proper season. That life may flow through different pipes – the mouth, the hand, the eye; but still all the issues of hand, of eye, of lip, derive their source from the great fountain and central reservoir, the heart; and hence there is no difficulty in showing the great necessity for keeping this reservoir, the heart, in a proper state and condition, since otherwise, that which flows through the pipes must be tainted and corrupt. (Spurgeon)