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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Proverbs Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Solomon, Agur, and Lemuel
Date Penned: (970-931 BC)
Overview: Wisdom to Teach People to Live Godly (c 1-31)
Theme: Wisdom for Young Men (c 1-9)
Message: Wisdom Can be Learned (v 1-27)

Proverbs 4 Commentary 

(4:3-4) Seeking Wisdom - One of the greatest responsibilities of parents is to encourage their children to become wise. Here Solomon tells how his father, David, encouraged him to seek wisdom when he was young (see 1 Kings 2:1-9 and Chronicles 28-29 for David's charge to his son). This encouragement may have prompted Solomon to ask God for wisdom above everything else (2 Kings 3:9. Wisdom can be passed on from parents and grandparents to children, from generation to generation. Ultimately, of course, all wisdom comes from God; parents can only urge their children to turn to him. If your parents never taught you in this way, God's Word can function as a loving and compassionate parent to you. You can learn from the Scriptures and then create a legacy of wisdom as you teach the next generation. 

(4:5-7) Pursuing Wisdom - If you want wisdom, you must decide to pursue it. This will take resolve and determination not to abandon the effort once you begin, no matter how difficult the journey may become. This is not a once-in-a-lifetime step but a daily process of choosing between two paths--that of the wicked (4:14-1719) and that of the righteous (4:18). Nothing else is more important or more valuable. 

(4:7) Choosing Wisdom - David taught Solomon as a young boy that seeking God's wisdom was the most important choice he could make. Solomon learned the lesson well, at least initially. When God appeared to Solomon and promised to grant any request, Solomon chose wisdom above all else. We also should make God's wisdom our first choice. We don't have to wait for God to reveal himself; he has done that in Jesus and in the Bible. We can boldly ask him for wisdom today through prayer. James 1:5 assures us that God will grant this request. 

(4:13-17) Peer Pressure - Even friends can make you fall. It is difficult for people to accept the fact that friends and acquaintances may lure them into doing wrong. People who want to be accepted would never want to confront or criticize a friend for sinful plans or actions. Some may not be able to anticipate how their friends' actions could lead to trouble. While we should be accepting of others, we need a healthy skepticism about human behavior. When you feel yourself being heavily influenced in ways that could be dangerous, it may be helpful to share the situation with other friends who can help you be more objective and proceed with caution. Don't let your friends cause you to fall into sin. 

(4:23-27) Guarding Our Hearts - Our hearts--our feelings of love and desire--dictate to a great extent how we live, because we always find time to do what we enjoy. Solomon tells us to guard our hearts above all else, making sure we concentrate on the desires that will keep us on the right path. Make sure your affections push you in the right direction. Put boundaries on your desires: Don't go after everything you see. Look straight ahead, keep your eyes fixed on your goal, and don't get sidetracked on detours that lead to sin. (See Philippians 4:7 and 2 Thessalonians 3:3 for more on how God guards our hearts.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Learning Wisdom

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today, we continue with the Book of Proverbs with Chapter 4. In our text today, we see how Wisdom can be Learned through application after application. Learning from wise teachers and mentors as they teach the Word of God. In applying, we see that we need to seek Wisdom and wise teachers from the authorities the Lord places in our lives. How about you? Do you notice those who teach us the Wisdom of the Bible? Let us learn from our text today to remember that Wisdom is from the Lord, and He uses the authorities He places in our lives to help us learn Wisdom. 


Proverbs 4

Proverbs 4

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

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

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

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

 5Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.

 6Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

 7Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

 8Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

 9She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

 10Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 24Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

 25Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

 26Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

 27Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.