Proverbs 4 (12-19-20)
In Proverbs 4, we are given more insight into the counsel of a father for his son. We are given more encouragement to take hold of good, godly counsel and to let its many blessings lead you in life.
Solomon mentions many of the blessings that holding fast to good, godly counsel will give us in this life.
Proverbs 4:6 says that this kind of wisdom “… will keep you …” and “… she will guard you.”
Proverbs 4:8-9 says that this kind of wisdom “… will exalt you …” and “… honor you if you embrace her.” And “… she will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
Proverbs 4:10 says that this kind of wisdom will make “… the years of your life … many.”
Proverbs 4:12 says that this kind of wisdom will cause your step to “… not be hampered …” and “… you will not stumble.”
So, there are practical benefits to hearing, keeping, and walking in good, godly counsel. We will be guarded, rewarded, it will prolong our days, and it will cause us to walk without stumbling.
This is so practical and true, but somehow, we are guilty of missing its application in our lives. Many of us are quick to say, “Amen!” and “Yes, I find that to be true,” but then we are guilty of not applying it to our daily lives. Instead, we set the godly truths we have learned aside, and we end up in jeopardy. Or, instead of being rewarded, we are penalized. Instead of our days being plentiful, they are cut short, and we end up stumbling because we look to sinful desires within ourselves, or we heed the counsel of the wicked, or we step into the temptations of the worldly.
The good news is that Proverbs is going to keep driving this point home again and again. Are you seeking and valuing wisdom? Are you heeding it and applying it? You will falter and sin and stumble if you do not.
James said this so well in his letter, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)
Sunday church is not enough. You are not done with your eating of the truths of God when church is over. No, your diet of God’s truths should just be beginning. Your pastor’s teaching of the word should be a catalyst for your walking in, meditating on, and living out the word of God all week long. But all too often what we end up doing is hearing it on Sunday and then never doing it throughout the week.
It is the same thing with our daily Bible reading. Is it just a moment in your day? Do you read it and then are you done and move on to other things? Or does it wreck you, propel you, slow you down, cause you to truly be changed and motivated to live out the truths you have learned and the wisdom God has given you?
In the second part of Proverbs 4, we are admonished to avoid the path of the wicked. Warnings to avoid what is sinful and evil in the sight of the Lord are a great gift from God.
Do you regularly invite mature, godly brothers and sisters to speak into your life—to love you enough to bring warning and to walk with you in life so they can have eyes on you to help you see what you are not seeing?
I have found this to be a great gift in our lives in the body of Christ. We are all susceptible to sin and, therefore, blessed to be warned to avoid sin and evil that we just don’t see ourselves.
Proverbs 4:14-15 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.
The writer goes on to highlight the way of the wicked and how he practices lawlessness and stumbles in the darkness. But the way of the Lord is life in the light, which is a blessing and a great provision of good.
Finally, in verse 24, he brings his counsel to a close in this chapter by specifically calling for his listeners to put away the specific practice of crooked speech and devious talk—to keep your eyes looking ahead at the prize and not at the wicked things of this world and to be mindful of the steps of your feet so that you do not swerve and turn into evil.
Brothers and sisters, this is important counsel that we need to be reminded of often, as we read through Proverbs this year. Sin is tempting. Acting like the world is always before us to gain laughter or acceptance by those with whom we do life.
We must heed this counsel to avoid acting like, or walking with, the world. We must not set down our testimony of Christ and become loose with our daily and moment-by-moment practices.
So, take inventory this morning so you are not just a hearer but a doer.
Are you constantly valuing the counsel of the word of God and of mature believers in your life—inviting them in and feasting on God’s word daily?
What are you looking at lately—other people or media on the computer or phone?
What are you saying with your mouth—coarse jokes, teasing others, cutting remarks, and/or language that doesn’t exalt God?
What are your habits, practices, or the things you do daily—the places you go and the things you do? Are they of the world, or do they make much of the name of Jesus?
As you contemplate these questions this morning, don’t consider making changes alone. Go to God in prayer and share with a trusted brother or sister so they can walk with you and hold you accountable. May the Lord be glorified, and may our lives be better for the practical application of these things.
By His grace and for His glory,
Soldiers for Jesus MC