THE MAN OF UNDERSTANDING
Hearing and Holding On – Proverbs 4:1-27
Verses 1-13 – Hold on to wisdom; like a family heirloom. Children are the fruit of marriage, and the responsibility of their teaching, their learning is that of the father and mother. It is, however the responsibility of the child to learn the teachings which they are taught. Hearing instruction; godly instruction; as lived by the parent is necessary for the child to see as well as hear.
When God is our Father, our Instructor/Teacher we know that His teaching is never in error. If we err from His teaching it is the child who errs not the Father. Remember Wisdom is personified in Proverbs, and is seen in the New Testament as Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.
Verses 14-19 – There are two paths which each individual must choose from. “The way of wisdom” is mentioned in verse 11. We are shown that there are two paths people can take. “…The path of the wicked…” (v. 14), and “…The path of the just…” (v. 18).
The just and wise person is warned not to enter the path of wickedness. It is the path of darkness and the way of evil men. The path of the just is “…as the shining light…”. The way of darkness is filled with dangerous, headlong, falls, that lead to death, destruction, deception, and eternal despair. Most of all eternal darkness, separated from God, and His grace, mercy and love.
The path of the just is light filled with visibility. There are falls, but the righteous can fall and rise again to continue in the way of light (Proverbs 24:16). Decisions are made with clarity, and with a cause that will glorify the LORD.
Verses 20- 22 – The child must give heed to the teaching of the parent’s wisdom received from God.
“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35 KJV
There is life and light for all who choose wisdom, justness, and righteousness.
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8; also see Psalm 16:11).
Verses 23-27 – From the e-Sword edition of the Pulpit Commentary we find,
“WHAT IS TO BE KEPT. The heart. In the Bible the “heart” represents what we call the “head” as well as the affections and conscience to which we confine the word “heart;” i.e. it stands for the whole inner nature, the life of thought, feeling, and will. This is the “Town of Mansoul,” and it has the various constituents of a town.
1. Entrance gates. The soul is always receiving thoughts and impulses from without. It is important to see that no adulterated article, no poison, no subject of infectious disease comes in. Debased, false, and immoral impressions must be warded off.
2. Ways of exit. The broad river bears on her bosom argosies from the busy city to many a distant port. Let us see that the cargo is of good wares, in good measure, honestly realizing professions, containing no injurious things. Some hearts export only sham products, some deadly poisons. Deeds, words, even smiles and glances carrying thought and influences out of the soul must be carefully guarded.
3. Internal thoroughfares. The town is a network of streets and passages. Busy thoughts run to and fro in the heart. Let the traffic be orderly, the road well preserved, lest pure thoughts should be smirched with the mire of an unwholesome mental habit.
4. Storehouses. Memory has her treasuries, warehouses, granaries. Let us see that they are not crowded with rubbish, left in disorder, made fever nests by the corruption of any unhealthy contents. Nourishing truths and beautiful ideas should stock them.
5. Factories. In the heart we weave fine webs of fancy see that the pattern has the beauty of holiness; there, too, we forge great engines for future work see that they are constructed on safe and serviceable principles.
6. Halls of amusement. Let them be places of recreation, not of dissipation.
7. Shrines for worship. See that no idol takes the place of the true God, no hypocrisy does service for the incense of spiritual prayer and praise.
8. Graveyards of dead hopes and loves; keep them beautiful with flowers of tender memory. Are there also graves of dead sins? Plant weeping willows of penitence over them.” Pulpit Commentary; e-Sword edition
“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” Matthew 12:35
The point of verses 25 – 27 is for the just to keep their eyes open so as not to end up on the path of darkness and wickedness. See Deuteronomy 5:32.
-Tim A. Blankenship