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Posted By Nan

4:20-27
My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.” NIV
These verses conclude the teaching on the importance of the words of the father. Of course, these do not refer to the earthly father and should not be used to justify a child following the unreasonable instructions of an earthly father. These words are the words of God, our heavenly father and Jesus is the one we should keep our gaze fixed firmly on as we step out in life.
You are to keep a guard on our heart with all vigilance, put any false and dishonest and wilful and contrary talk aside, not rush in but think before acting and choose not to do what is evil.
There is a lot of debate and confusion in Christian communities about how to live that way. And people can be given incorrect information on how to live that way. Remember, this is about living a life of Godly wisdom, not human thoughts and desires.
So what does that look like in our lives?
To live according to these verses is to be careful who we love and are loyal to. We are to love Jesus not earthly possessions, because we can only serve one master (Matthew 6:24). We are to not use false and dishonest speech or use wilful or contrary talk. In The Message it is described as not talking out of the side of your mouth, no carless banter, white lies or gossip. That is pretty clear. We are also not to rush in, but instead to think before taking action. In other words, respond, don’t react! Sometimes that is hard to do. Hurts in our past cause us to derail the thinking processes in some situations. In that case seek God’s help. If He directs you to counselling, then go, once you have asked Him to direct you to the right person for you to see. Expect the unexpected. He will often direct you to the most unlikely person. We are also to make a choice to not do what is evil. We must never forget this is about choice and what we choose to do.
These verses are beautifully summarised in Hebrews 12:1-3:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” NIV
 

 
Posted By Nan

4:10-19
Again the reader is encouraged to listen and accept wise teaching. The repetition emphasises the importance of the teaching. The teaching is aimed at teaching the listener skilful and Godly wisdom. The Amplified Bible translates this as insight into the ways and purposes of God. What a lovely description of wisdom!
Godly wisdom guides you in the way of wisdom and keeps your path going straight to God. On that path you do not stumble in darkness, because Jesus is the light that guides you.
Godly wisdom is precious, the most precious commodity there is. Guard it well. Godly wisdom gives life. Do not walk away from it along the path away from God.
If you walk the walk of the righteous, those who possess Godly wisdom, your path will be like the dawn then light starts to seep across the sky. And as you continue along that path, it will become lighter and lighter. You will not stumble because you can see where to put your feet and the rising light will be beautiful to see.
The path of the wicked, in contrast, is one of total darkness. Not even stars light the sky. It is just complete blackness. Stifling and cloying. The one on that path falls over and has no idea what it was they stumbled on.
We tend to perceive the lit path of Godly wisdom as meaning we can see clearly ahead. But that is not so. The lit path only needs to be light enough for us to see where to put our feet for the next step. And as it grows brighter, to see to lead others on the path as well.
 

 
Posted By Nan

4:1-9
Proverbs is a practical book of instruction and these verses, that expand on what has already been introduced, offer great practical advice.
Solomon speaks of how his father, David, taught him to have personal knowledge of God, to be acquainted with him. There is a world of difference between knowing about God and knowing God. It is easier to know about God and there are many in this world who spend their lives in that pursuit. And that is fine, provided you also know God. David, one who loved God and served Him as faithfully as a sinful human could, knew God well and loved Him deeply. He sought wisdom and righteousness and wore it with pride. He taught Solomon also, so that He would know God. To this knowledge, he added the importance of seeking to understand God, to appreciate Him and all He does, to listen and heed His instruction and cherish Him as that most precious of things in his life. He taught him to serve God with a blameless heart and a willingness to learn and serve. He taught Solomon that God searches all hearts and minds and understands all thoughts. He told Solomon that if he sought God as though his life depended on finding Him (which of course it does) then he would find Him. He warned Solomon that if he walked away from God and stopped seeking Him then God would cast him out. this teaching is in 1 Chronicles 28:9. It is very powerful instruction on how we seek God. It is that important advice that the wise seek God. That is what Solomon seeks to teach people in these opening chapters of Proverbs.
As Solomon teaches about wisdom, he also teaches the people that it is important for fathers to teach their children about God and Godly wisdom. Ephesians 6:4 is a verse that is often ignored. It is paired with the one about children honouring their parents and it is the qualification of the instruction to the child. A parent has no right to expect to be honoured by his or her child if he does not behave according to God’s instructions. God instructs parents to do nothing to irritate or provoke their child to anger and resentment but to raise them with love and tenderness in the training, discipline (and I am not referring to hitting your children – this is obeying God, the gospels never speak of Jesus hitting any children), counsel and admonition of God. In other words, teaching your child Godly wisdom, just as David taught Solomon, that much loved child.
But what if your parent does not know anything about God and His instructions on child rearing? James 1:5 has an answer to that. If you lack wisdom you are to ask God for it. We do not all have wonderful childhoods with fantastic, loving parents who support us. Many of us grow up in families with abuse, and anger, and put downs and controlling behaviour. And some of these families claim to be ‘christian’ families. If you have not learned wisdom from you parents, all is not lost. You can ask God for wisdom. Ask it often, not just once, and wait patiently. He will answer your prayer at the right time, which might mean you have to wait for a while. But answer your request He will and He will give liberally, ungrudgingly, without reproach or fault finding at exactly the right time.
And when we have wisdom then ‘she will garland your life with grace …’ and ‘festoon your days with beauty.’ (The Message Proverbs 4:9). There is something very beautiful and compelling about the Godly wise person. The serenity, faith, trust and calm. The one who pauses before speaking, who offers sound counsel and listens with love and acceptance. Who does not preach hatred and revenge, but love and forgiveness. Who is not controlling, but respectful and accepting. That is the wise person. The one who makes seeking God essential for survival and having found Him, never forgets how essential He is for life and never loses that wonderful delight in God.
 

 
Posted By Nan

3:27-35
Here is some sound advice for the reader of Proverbs.
Those with Godly wisdom help those they can and do not withhold good from them. Likewise, the wise give their neighbours what they need when they need it, not some other time. The wise also choose not to plan evil against another person or pick a fight with someone who has not harmed them.
When a person had Godly wisdom, they are not jealous of the unscrupulous and do not seek to copy their behaviour. Instead the wise honour God with their behaviour.
The wise know God curses the home of the wicked and blesses the home of the righteous.
The wise possess Godly wisdom. Such people inherit glory. The evil inherit only shame.
The wise know this promise is for the future. In this life they may watch the evil prospering and not coming to judgement for their actions. But the wise know that day of reckoning will come.
The wise person is not perfect. But they know they can, with God’s help, aim to live the life of those with Godly wisdom.
 

 
Posted By Nan

3:21-26
Preserve sound judgement and discernment. This will bring life to your inner self and mark your outer self wonderfully. When you walk in wisdom, you will be able to walk confidently, trusting in the security of God. He will guide you and support you in the uncertainty of stepping out of your comfort zone into the life He has planned for you. Wisdom tells you that God is always there. That He is the constant. No matter what.
So many people read these verses as proof God will give us an easy life. But that is not what it says. Reading the Bible tells us that. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us we will have difficulties in our lives but we must stand firm in the knowledge that He has overcome the world.
So when things are difficult and you feel in freefall, do not let go of Godly wisdom. Remember. Stop. Wait for God. He will come. Reserve time in the blackness of your night to watch and trust.
When I am facing difficulties I draw comfort from Psalm 130 especially verses 5-7. They are below as written in my NIV.
“I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption
.”
 

 


 
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Nan
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