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The Path of Wisdom that Transforms the Heart (note the reference to the heart in Proverbs 4:4 ) - Proverbs 4:1-9 tells us how wisdom will transform our heart. In addition, Proverbs 4:10-19 tells us how wisdom renews our minds and Proverbs 4:20-27 tells us how wisdom directs our bodies. Thus, wisdom sanctifies our whole bodies to become like Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.
Whatever a man gives his attention to, his heart follows. Proverbs 12:27 tells us that the substance, or wealth, of a diligent man is precious.
Proverbs 12:27, “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.”
Therefore, when we take great pains to search for wisdom (Proverbs 4:1-6), the treasure that we find becomes precious to us. This means that our heart becomes attached to this treasure.
The path of wisdom that transforms our heart is the path of searching always for the hidden treasures of wisdom that are found in God's Word. This will transform our hearts to a place of exalting the wisdom that we find hidden in the Scriptures (Proverbs 4:7-8) above our own reasonings. These truths will become the most important things in our lives. In this experience, the grace and glory of God will emanate from our lives (Proverbs 4:9).
A close study of this passage of Scripture will reveal a progression of events in the transformation of our hearts. The words of wisdom are given to us (Proverbs 4:2) because of His great love for us (Proverbs 4:3). We are told to humble our hearts in order to receive these teachings (Proverbs 4:4). Allow these teachings to remain in our hearts (Proverbs 4:5). Then a love will develop in our hearts for the things of God (Proverbs 4:6). With this growing love for God's Word, it will become the most important thing in our lives (Proverbs 4:7). We will begin to seek God's Word first in our lives in all matters and situations. As God's Word becomes our priority, we will exalt it above all other things (Proverbs 4:8). This practice will change our character until wisdom will grace our outward appearance as a crown of beauty (Proverbs 4:9).
Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
Proverbs 4:1 “Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father” Comments - A father can only give instruction to a child that is willing to receive it. A child will receive his father's instruction only if the child believes that the father loves him. I never had my father take that time to give me instruction while growing up into adulthood. However, as a young man in August 1983, when I made a decision not to return to a Baptist seminary, he came over to ask me to finish this degree. As I look back on this unique time in my life when my father actually attempted to give me instruction, I know now why I did not receive what he said. It is because a father has to earn the respect of his children before they will heed his counsel. Because my father was not a believer and had never shown Godly love, I was unwilling to listen to him. He was disappointed in my rejection of his counsel, and he did not understand why I so quickly turned him off. It was because he has never earned my respect with a father's love.
Many people do not grow up in a well-balanced home environment. A popular phrase used today for these types of homes is “dysfunctional.” Thankfully, God has made provision for this. As a Christian, we can sit at the feet of the Holy Bible, and as a father instructs his son, the Lord can instruct his children. God has a way of helping balance our lives. In the body of Christ, we can develop those types of family relationships in a health way, making up for what we are lacking in a family upbringing (1 Timothy 5:1-2). Being active in the body of Christ has helped me learn how to develop healthy, pure relationships with people.
1 Timothy 5:1-2, “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father ; and the younger men as brethren ; The elder women as mothers ; the younger as sisters , with all purity.”
Proverbs 4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.
Proverbs 4:2 Comments - A father will give a child instruction because he loves this child. This is the reason behind the act of instructing.
Proverbs 4:3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.
Proverbs 4:3 Word Study on “tender” Gesenius says the Hebrew word “tender” “rak” ( רַךְ ) (H7390) means, “tender, delicate, soft.” Strong says it means, “tender, weak,” and it comes from the primitive root “rakak” ( רָכַךְ ) (H7401), which means, “to soften.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 16 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “tender 9, soft 3, fainthearted + 03824 1, one 1, weak 1, tenderhearted + 03824 1.”
Proverbs 4:3 Comments - In the phrase “only beloved,” we see that a father gives his teachings to his son (Proverbs 4:2) because he loves his son (Proverbs 4:3). Note:
Proverbs 13:24, “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”
Proverbs 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.
Proverbs 4:4 Word Study on “retain” - Strong says the Hebrew word “retain” ( תָּמַךְ ) (H8551) means, “to sustain, to obtain, keep fast.” This Hebrew word is used 21 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “ hold 7, uphold 5, retain 4, hold up 2, misc 3.” It means, “to grasp, hold, support, attain, lay hold of, hold fast.”
Proverbs 4:4 Comments - We are taught how to find wisdom in Proverbs 2:1-7. We are to study God's Word, keep it in our heart, pray for understanding and make this search for wisdom a priority in our lives. Therefore, in this passage, we are now told to get this wisdom and retain it in our heart.
In order to receive words of instruction we must humble our hearts.
Proverbs 4:3-4 Comments - David Instilled with His Son Solomon a Love for Wisdom - We see in this chapter how Solomon reflects upon his father's teachings, “For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” (Proverbs 4:3-4) As King David taught his son wisdom, he not only instilled in his son divine truths, but also the passion to seek God for divine wisdom, as Solomon must have seen his father seek the Lord passionately. Not only did Solomon inherit good behavior from these teachings, but he also inherited a yearning for wisdom.
We also see evidence in Proverbs 4:3-4 that King David favored his son Solomon above his other sons. As he groomed him for the kingship, his other sons appear to be raised without discipline and training. We see immorality in Amnon, murder and rebellion in Absalom, and insurrection and pride in Adonijah. Solomon was corrected in the smallest of areas, while his brothers remained without discipline in their sins.
Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Proverbs 4:5 Comments - After we have humbled our hearts to receive wisdom, we must be careful to maintain them in our hearts, and not forget them.
Proverbs 4:6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.
Proverbs 4:6 Comments - In the phrase “love her,” we see that when the Word of God has time to abide in our hearts and take root, a love will develop for the Word of God.
Proverbs 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Proverbs 4:7 Comments When Christians experience a trial, they will often stand upon the Scriptures. When this does not bring immediate deliverance for them, they will seek medical advice. When this does not work to relieve their suffering, they sit down in despair and ask God what they are doing wrong. In other words, they begin to ask for His wisdom. However, the pursuit of wisdom should be the first step in facing trials. Instead of standing upon 1 Peter 2:24 and say by His stripes we were healed, we may need to first stand upon James 1:5 and ask for wisdom. The Lord will show us the cause of such trials, and lead us out of trouble. Standing upon Scriptures is good, but we must rightly divide God’s Word and stand upon Scriptures that are ordained for our particular situation. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit who directs our paths. When we get wisdom, then we get understanding. Then the way out of the problem becomes clear.
Illustration (1) God would not ask us to do something that He Himself was not willing to do. In Proverbs 4:7 He asks us to make wisdom the priority of our lives. Proverbs 8:22-31 tells us that wisdom was the first aspect of God’s acts in creating the heavens and the earth. Proverbs 8:22 says, “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” Wisdom was God’s delight and He rejoiced in it (Proverbs 8:30).
Illustration (2) - As the love of God's Word grows in our hearts the Word will become the highest priority in our lives. A good example of this is seen in the testimony of Kenneth Copeland, who once said that when his wife was dealing with a potentially deadly disease with her liver, he was praying in as many different ways about the situation as he knew how to pray, yet they were not getting results. They had stood upon healing Scriptures and spoken the Word of God. Then, they had consulted a doctor, who had recommended a medication that had severe side effects. The doctor had also told them that this problem was incurable, and that medication was the only solution, which would have to be taken for a lifetime. One day, the Lord spoke to him and said, “My Word says that wisdom is not a principal thing, it is the principal thing.” In the book of James, when you encounter trials, you are to count it all joy. This can take place when the first prayer that you are to pray is for wisdom. Kenneth Copeland said that he began to ask God for wisdom. The next day the Lord gave him a word of wisdom about the situation, and showed him what to do. He and his wife began to look in health food stores for the product in the drug that was to cure the problem, without having to take the drug, with all of its side effects. As he followed that leading from the Holy Spirit, a path began to become visible to them about what to do. They found a particular health food to eat that quickly corrected the problem, and his wife, Gloria, has not had that problem again. 
 Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.
Proverbs 4:8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.
Proverbs 4:8 Comments - As we begin to use God's Word in our lives, the Word will begin to promote us to better things, to the blessings of God listed in chapter 3. A man came to the high priest Eli and said that those who honor God would be honored by Him and those that despise Him will be lightly esteemed by Him (1 Samuel 2:30).
1 Samuel 2:30, “Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed .”
Proverbs 4:9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.
Proverbs 4:9 Word Study on “an ornament” Gesenius says the Hebrew word ( לִוְיָה ) (H3880) means, “a garland, a wreath, so called from the idea of joining and bending.” Strong says this word means, “a wreath,” and it comes from the primitive root ( לָוָה ) (H3867), which means, “to twine, to unite, to remain.” Baker says it means, “a garland, a wreath,” and says, “It indicates, probably figuratively, a decorative headpiece worn as a sign of approval and honor, gracing a person's features.” This Hebrew word is used only two times in the Old Testament, with both occurrences being found in Proverbs (Proverbs 1:9; Proverbs 4:9).
Proverbs 4:9, “She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.”
Comments We can imagine a woven turban as a similar headdress, which would represent a position of recognition or leadership in the oriental culture, thus giving honor and authority.
Comments Modern English versions use a variety of translations for the phrase “an ornament of grace.” The ASV translates it as “a chaplet of grace,” which is a garland or wreath worn on the head. Rotherham reads, “a wreath of beauth.” The RSV translates it as “a fair garland.” The YLT reads, “a graceful wreath.”
Proverbs 4:9 Comments - With divine wisdom gracing our lives, others will begin to notice this anointing. People of wisdom have a countenance about them that is attractive. The way they respond to people, the way they conduct themselves has an appeal about it.
God the Father’s Foreknowledge: Calling Us to Our Journey (Preparation for the Journey) Most scholars consider Proverbs 1-9 to be a discourse, or a tribute, to wisdom. This section serves as an introduction to Solomon’s collection of wise, pithy sayings that follows. This introductory material is a preparation for being able to understand the rest of the book. Its underlying emphasis is the divine calling that God gives to every human being. Therefore, we find the statement of wisdom “crying out,” “uttering her voice” and “calling” used repeatedly throughout this section of Proverbs.
In these first nine introductory chapters, wisdom is personified as a person speaking in the feminine gender. Just as an artist sketches an outline of a painting, then splashes colors upon the canvas, until a beautiful painting emerges, so in these chapters of Proverbs does wisdom begin to reveal itself verse by verse (as an artist reveals a picture color by color) until chapter 8, when wisdom is seen as an intimate part of God and His creation. Wisdom is personified as a person speaking because man would be incapable of understanding his experiences in life without divine wisdom being given to him. This impartation is done in the person of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom is personified as a woman because the Hebrew word translated as “wisdom” is in the feminine gender.
These chapters contrast the table of blessings (Proverbs 9:1-6) with the trap of death (Proverbs 1:17-19, Proverbs 9:18). The wise man chooses wisdom's table of blessings. In contrast, the fool chooses the trap of death, supposing that it is a table of blessing. Studying this introduction is a necessary preparation for finding one’s way through the rest of the book of Proverbs. Thus, a drama immediately unfolds in the introduction, revealing to us how wisdom sets a man free, but the trap of death ensnares its victims in the strongholds of sin. These strongholds do not turn its captives loose until it completes its assignment of death. In contrast, wisdom leads a man into his rightful place of glory and honor above God’s creation (Proverbs 3:35, Proverbs 31:30), and into submission to his Creator.
This section of Proverbs is actually a call to follow the path of wisdom, in which wisdom presents his arguments for choosing the path of wisdom over the path of the fool. God calls mankind to righteousness in this present Church age through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit that has been sent upon the earth, who convicts the world of sin righteousness and judgment (John 16:7-11); but prior to this age God called mankind to righteousness through wisdom, which testified from Creation (Romans 1:19-23), and from society. We see in these chapters that wisdom is a path that is to be diligently followed. Wisdom is a decision that is made on a daily basis, and these daily decisions will determine our destiny, both in this life and in the life to come. This book of wisdom contrasts the wise man with the fool throughout the book. As we will see in Proverbs, every decision that we make is either a wise decision, or a foolish one. Every decision affects our eternal destiny. This section begins with a call to follow wisdom (Proverbs 1:7-9), and ends by explaining how every human being decides between destinies, heaven or hell (Proverbs 9:1-18).
In the path of wisdom, there are many dangers. It is for this reason these nine chapters give us many warnings against the evil man and the adulteress, even before the real journey begins. The path of wisdom is narrow and easily missed. All of us have fallen off this path at one time or another in our lives. This book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon, considered the wisest person that has ever lived. Yet, even he fell off this path of wisdom because he allowed pride to blind his vision and dull his hearing. This gives us an indication of how narrow is this path to follow.
Pride is an attitude of the heart. It is the very reason that Solomon fell into idolatry. It is the root cause of every man's failure. It comes clothed in many forms, such as false humility and it clothes itself in man-made titles of honour, such as “honorable, his lordship, his excellence, his grace, cardinal, pope, etc.” For example, the Pope in Rome carries the title of “His Holiness”. These nine chapters open and close with Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 9:10, which reveal the secret of avoiding failure, which is caused by pride. We are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 9:10). This fear keeps us from falling off the path of wisdom.
This introductory material in Proverbs 1-9 makes up almost one third of the book. Why is this introduction to Proverbs so lengthy relative to the overall length of the book? It is because the preparation for our journey in life is also lengthy. Solomon was taught for many years before he took the throne as king of Israel. Good training takes time and a good education does not come quickly. The degree that a person receives a secular education usually determines the height of his career. In comparison, the degree that a person becomes rooted and grounded in the Word of God will determine the height of that person's ministry. You must take the time to receive this introductory training in the first nine chapters of Proverbs before you are ready for the journey. The better we are able to understand the introduction of the book of Proverbs, the better we will be able to understand the rest of its teachings.
For hundreds of years in western civilization, a theological education was a part of a well-rounded education. All students learned the classical languages of Hebrew, Greek and Latin in order to study theological literature. The children of Israel were also to give each child a theological education. Solomon received such an education. Therefore, we can see this introduction to Proverbs as the theological training that everyone should go through in preparation for the journey in life.
One further note is worth mentioning about chapters 1-9. Upon reading, we must ask the question as to why this lengthy introduction in Proverbs spends so much time describing and warning the readers about the harlot. Perhaps because this is the one area that trapped and deceived Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived. This is the area that Solomon knows many of the young men he is training for leadership positions in the kingdom will be tempted. In addition, in a figurative sense, such spiritual adultery represents a believer who chooses to love the things of this world above his love for God.
Outline Here is a proposed outline:
1. The Call of Wisdom to Young & Tender Proverbs 1:7-33
2. Answering Wisdom’s Call (A Hearing Heart) Proverbs 2:1-22
3. The Blessings of Wisdom Proverbs 3:1-35
4. Three Paths of Wisdom Proverbs 4:1-27
5. Three Paths of Destruction Proverbs 5:1 to Proverbs 6:11
6. Characteristics of the Evil People Proverbs 6:12 to Proverbs 7:27
7. Characteristics of Wisdom Proverbs 8:1-36
The Path of Wisdom that Renews the Mind (note that light is symbolic of understanding in Proverbs 4:18 ) - The previous passage of Scripture (Proverbs 4:1-9) tells us how wisdom will transform our heart, Proverbs 4:10-19 tells us how wisdom renews our minds. We will then see in the next passage (Proverbs 4:20-27) how wisdom directs our bodies. Thus, wisdom sanctifies our whole bodies to become like Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.
Making daily decisions can be likened to walking down a path. When we have received God's Word (Proverbs 4:10) and have been taught in His ways (Proverbs 4:11), our decisions will keep us from falling (Proverbs 4:12). We will begin to learn to cling to the right decisions (Proverbs 4:13) and abhor the wrong decisions (Proverbs 4:14-17). This path of wisdom will become clearer each day in our minds as we walk in the light of God's Word (Proverbs 4:18-19). We will be able to make better decisions with much more insight as the years go by.
Proverbs 4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.
Proverbs 4:10 Comments - The first step in allowing wisdom to renew our minds is to open our hearts to God's Word.
Proverbs 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths.
Proverbs 4:11 Comments - The second step in allowing wisdom to renew our minds is to study and learn God's Word.
Proverbs 4:12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
Proverbs 4:12 Comments - As we open our hearts (Proverbs 4:10) and study God's Word (Proverbs 4:11), we will begin to make decisions that will keep us from falling, or failing (Proverbs 4:12).
Proverbs 4:13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.
Proverbs 4:13 Word Study on “instruction” Gesenius says the Hebrew word “instruction” ( מוּסָר ) (H4148) means, “correction, admonition, discipline, instruction, doctrine.” Strong says it means, “chastisement, reproof, warning, instruction, restraint.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 50 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as, “ instruction 30, correction 8, chasten 4, chastisement 3, check 1, bond 1, discipline 1, doctrine 1, rebuker 1.” This Hebrew word is used 30 times in the book of Proverbs.
Comments- This word is most often translated as “instruction,” but quiet often “chastisement.” This word means any form of discipline and instruction that leads to a changed life.
Proverbs 4:13 Comments - As the process of learning to make wise decisions is developed in our lives (Proverbs 4:12), we will begin to cling more and more to wisdom, and less and less to our old ways of foolishness.
Proverbs 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
Proverbs 4:14 Comments - The path of the wicked and the way of the evil men is the path where man takes himself without the wisdom of God. In other words, a child of God can resist the leadership of the Holy Spirit and go places that put him or her in harm’s way. Then when something bad happens, Christians often blame God, who actually tried to lead us away from danger.
Proverbs 4:15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
Proverbs 4:15 Comments - As Christians in the Church Age, we avoid the path of the wicked by being led by the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 4:14-15 Comments - The Enticement of Sinners - Lost sinners do not mind a bit of fellowship with Christians. They even think that Christians are self-righteous for avoiding fellowship with sinners. They will entice and ask you to fellowship with them. Note in a similar passage in Proverbs 1:10-16 how the sinners entice the righteous.
Proverbs 4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
Proverbs 4:16 Comments - Proverbs 4:16 reflects the bondage that develops in the lifestyles of a sinner.
Proverbs 4:17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.
Proverbs 4:17 Comments - In Rick Joyner’s book The Final Quest, he describes a vision in which hoards of Christians had been taken captive by demons of hell. He says that the only food provided from them was the vomit from the vultures. He continues:
“Those who refused to eat it simply weakened until they fell. Those who did eat it were strengthened for a time, but with the strength of the evil one. Then they would weaken unless they would drink the waters of bitterness that were constantly being offered to them. After drinking the bitter waters they would then begin to vomit on the others. When one of the prisoners began to do this, a demon that was waiting for a ride would climb up on him, and would ride him up to one of the front divisions.” 
 Rick Joyner, The Final Quest (Charlotte, North Carolina: Morning Star Publications, 1977), 21.
The author then describes a scene that is even worse than the vomit from the vultures. He says that the demons would urinate and defecate a repulsive slime onto these fallen Christians that they rode. This slime, which was the pride, selfish ambition, etc., that characterized the nature of this army division made the Christians feel better than those who partook of vomit and bitter water. Thus, they believed that these demons were messengers of God and that the slime was the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 4:16-17 Comments - The Addiction of the Wicked to His Sins - We can see in these two verses how a wicked person literally becomes addicted to the habits that will eventually destroy him. He cannot go through the day without causing affliction in someone’s life. He will realize this addiction at some point in his life, but will not be able to free himself without the divine intervention of an Almighty God.
Proverbs 4:14-17 Comments - Cling to Wisdom, Abhor the Ways of the Fool - As we learn to cling to wise counsel, we will begin to abhor the ways of the fool. As we walk down the path of wisdom, these wicked ways will become more and more obvious to us as destructive ways.
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Proverbs 4:18 “ But the path of the just is as the shining light” - Comments - The NASB translates the phrase “the shinning light” as “light of dawn.” The new day begins with dim light, which grows brighter and brighter until noon time, here referred to as the “perfect day.” As we grow as Christians, we begin to understand more and more spiritual truths, and why things happen around us, until finally in heaven we shall understand all things.
2 Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts :”
Proverbs 4:18 “that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” - Comments - As a new Christian, we find this path a challenge to walk. However, as we learn to walk this path of wisdom, it becomes easier. We find that making the right choices is easier as the years go by.
Proverbs 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
Proverbs 4:19 Comments - In Proverbs 4:19 the dark path of the wicked is contrasted with the bright path of the righteous. The wicked do not understand why their life is filled with so many problems. This verse reflects the darkness that a sinner walks in daily. They have no idea why their lives are full of problems. They do not understand how to deliver themselves out of these bondages of sin that are destroying their lives. It is contrasted with the light in which the wise walk. The brighter the light, the easier it is to see the darkness of sin. For example, if I am in a house during the night and turn all of the lights off inside the home, I can easily see outside. However, the minute I turn on the lights in the house, the darkness outside becomes utter darkness, too dark to seen past the windowpane.
This is what it is like walking in the light. The brighter the light, the greater the intensity of darkness that we see around us. If we are also in the dark, then this darkness seems to give to us light enough to follow, but we do not know that we are really walking in the darkness.
The Path of Wisdom that Directs the Body (note a reference to the body in Proverbs 4:22 ) - The previous passages of Scripture in this chapter tells us how wisdom transforms our hearts (Proverbs 4:1-9) and how wisdom renews our minds (Proverbs 4:10-19). We then see in this passage (Proverbs 4:20-27) how the human body is moved and directed by wisdom. Thus, wisdom sanctifies our whole bodies to become like Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.
This passage of Scripture shows a progression in how the human being receives information, processes it and acts on it. For example, when we receive either wisdom or folly into our ears (Proverbs 4:20 b) and our eyes (Proverbs 4:21 a), it enters into our heart. Jesus said that it is what enters a man that defiles a man, and not what comes out.
Matthew 15:10-11, “And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”
If wisdom is received into the heart of man through the eyes and ears (Proverbs 4:20-21), it brings health to our bodies (Proverbs 4:22). For this reason, we are to guard what we see and hear, and thus, guard our heart (Proverbs 4:23). What is in our heart comes forth out of our mouth (Proverbs 4:24). Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the man speaks (Luke 6:45).
Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
What we say with our mouth determines how we see with our eyes (Proverbs 4:25). What we fix our eyes upon, our feet with follow (Proverbs 4:26-27). One preacher said that our thinking affects our believing, and our believing affects our actions. Our actions affects our receiving.
This passage explains to us how the human body is moved and controlled by wisdom. Thus, we now realize how God has given us our five “sense gates,” which are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching, in order to receive information around us and to process it. Within the context of these passages, we receive most of our information that guides our daily decisions through our eyes and ears. How careful we must be in what we allow ourselves to receive into our souls through these two important sense gates of the body.
Proverbs 4:20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
Proverbs 4:20 Comments - In order for wisdom to direct our bodies, we must first allow wisdom to enter our ears. This requires a humble heart that will receive God's Words. It requires us to pay attention to God’s Word by reading and meditating on it, by pondering how to apply it to our lives.
Proverbs 4:21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
Proverbs 4:21 “Let them not depart from thine eyes” - Comments - In order to walk in the path of wisdom, we must learn to see wisdom in action, as well as hear instruction with our ears. This is how Jesus Christ taught His twelve apostles. He taught them to preach the Gospel and demonstrated to them how to perform signs and wonders and to minister to the sick.
Proverbs 4:21 “keep them in the midst of thine heart” - Comments - Once wisdom enters our ears and eyes, it goes to the heart. This is why Proverbs 4:23 will tell us to guard our hearts.
Proverbs 4:22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Proverbs 4:22 “For they are life unto those that find them” Comments - We must seek the Lord and His Word in faith in order to find them (Hebrews 11:6).
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him .”
Proverbs 4:22 “and health to all their flesh” Comments - That is, every part of your body: head, legs, etc.
Proverbs 4:22 Comments - A healthy heart produces a healthy body. Even medical doctors are agreeing to this fact.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence” - Comments - Once we have transformed our hearts (Proverbs 4:1-9) and renewed our minds (Proverbs 4:10-19), we must now protect our hearts in order to walk in the purity that comes as a result of this process of sanctification. If we let sin back into our lives, it becomes much harder to deal with according to Matthew 12:43-45.
Matthew 12:43-45, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”
Proverbs 4:23 “for out of it are the issues of life” - Comments - Or, “for out of it (the heart) are the issues (springs) of life.” Jesus said, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15) True life is peace and joy within, in our hearts. We must not let our hearts become corrupted, especially by striving after this world’s goods.
Luke 12:15, “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
Jesus spoke on this issue when He was teaching His disciples about the traditions of the Pharisees. He said that from a man’s heart proceeds either clean or unclean things (Matthew 15:18-20). In Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus discussed the good and evil treasure of a man’s heart (Luke 6:45).
Matthew 15:18-20, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”
Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”
Jesus spoke on this issue when He called all those who were thirsty to partake of the Holy Spirit. It was out of our hearts that the Holy Spirit would come forth, for that is His dwelling place in our earthly tabernacle (John 7:37-39).
John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Proverbs 4:23 Comments - In other words, “Be careful who you let influence you.”
Proverbs 4:24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Proverbs 4:24 Word Study on “put away” - Strong says the Hebrew word “put away” ( סוּר ) (H5493) means, “to turn off.”
Proverbs 4:24 Word Study on “froward” Strong says the Hebrew word “froward” ( עִקּשׁוּת ) (H6143) means, “perversity,” and it comes from the root verb ( עָקַשׁ ) (H6140) that means, “ to distort, to pervert.” Note Proverbs 6:12, “A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.”
Proverbs 4:24 Word Study on “perverse” - Strong says the Hebrew word “perverse” ( לְזוּת ) (H3891) means, “perverseness.”
Proverbs 4:24 Word Study on “lips” - Strong says the Hebrew word “lips” ( שָׂפָה ) (H8193) means, “the lip, language.”
Proverbs 4:24 Word Study on “put far” - Strong says the Hebrew word “put far” ( רָחַק ) (H7368) mean, “to widen, recede, remove.”
Proverbs 4:24 Comments - We are to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23), because we will speak what is in our hearts. Note:
Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh .”
Proverbs 4:25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
Proverbs 4:25 “Let thine eyes look right on” Comments - The eyes are figuratively used for “the heart.”
Luke 9:51, “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,”
Proverbs 4:25 “and let thine eyelids look straight before thee” - Comments - Two great examples of those who looked ahead to their heavenly reward were Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and Abraham (Hebrews 11:10).
Hebrews 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 11:10, “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.”
It is the ability to focus on the eternal destiny our soul that keeps us moving forward on the path of wisdom. When we begin to look around at all of the pleasures and distractions of this life, the path of wisdom becomes dim and we lose our way.
Proverbs 4:25 Comments - Note other translations:
YLT, “ Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”
Proverbs 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Proverbs 4:26 “Ponder the path of thy feet” Comments - In other words, take time to consider issues before making a decision. As the next phrase states, our ways will be sure and established.
Proverbs 4:26 “and let all thy ways be established” Comments - The only thing in this life that is established and sure, unchanging and secure, is the Word of the Living God. Man’s promises will change, but God’s Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalms 119:89).
Psalms 119:89, “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
Proverbs 4:27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
Proverbs 4:27 Illustration I eased out of the church service one Sunday morning to take my four-year old son Michael to the restroom. As I made a straight path for the restrooms in order to get back into church as quickly as possible, Michael darted to the left and to the right, with no apparent purpose other than to expend his energy. He jumped and ran back and forth to the restrooms. The only reason he was able to find it was because he was following the straight path that his father was walking.
Scripture References - Note a similar clause in Joshua 23:6, “Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside there from to the right hand or to the left ;”
Proverbs 4:25-27 “Let thine eyes look right on … Turn not to the right hand nor to the left” - Comments - When we allow the Lord to lead our lives, we must be careful not to allow our lives to become busy doing many other things. As a business manager of Lighthouse Television, I receive invitations to go and do many things. I could also allow myself to become absorbed in some hobbies, such as boating or fishing, but I have learned to do only what I know I have been called to do and let other things go. I do not consider them by allowing my eyes and ears to pay attention to them. Otherwise, my mind would begin to reason and consider allowing them to become a part of my life.
Many well-intending and successful ministers find themselves overwhelmed with things to do. They have become so busy that they are not giving their single calling the proper attention. They become weary in well doing.
The Lord has now called me as the station manager of Lighthouse Television in Uganda. I do not do much else on the side. I go to work, go to church and have family time. Otherwise, I spend as much time as possible in Bible Study with prayer time. If I did not give myself such restrictions, I would be busy all of the time and sidetracked on unimportant activities.
Proverbs 4:25-27 Comments - Fixing our Eyes Straight Ahead - What we believe in our hearts is the result of what has entered our ears and eyes. We will speak with our mouths what we have in our hearts. Therefore, our heart will determine our perception of circumstances around us. We will be able to see God's way of victory in every circumstance, or we will be seeing defeat. As a result of what we perceive, we will fix our eyes upon the answer. What we fix our eyes upon, our bodies will follow.
Proverbs 4:23-27 Comments - The Way becomes Narrow - In entering the Christian life, God begins purging a man and narrowing down his activities so that his goals and purpose being to glorify God. There are many steps to take, and everyone around us is walking their own path, but there is a simple, narrow life style that God has called us to, with most activities in this world being not of God. A very slim few lives are ordered and ordained by God as the Scriptures say:
Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
We see that the heart, the lips, the eyes, and the feet represent a progression of events that lead a person into a life of righteousness or wickedness. When a heart is made pure, a person begins to speak right. He then begins to think (or see) correctly. This leads to actions of a godly lifestyle. The same process takes place in the heart that is corrupted with wickedness.
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Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Proverbs 4". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent