-Solomon uses the plural now as he addresses his “sons” in the first nine verses of this three-part chapter on a father’s wise instruction. He commands attention to his sayings because it would help one gain understanding and it was sound teaching. He warned his sons not to ever abandon these words of his. He went back in reminiscence to when he was a son to his father, David the great king of Israel. When he was tender and the only son of his mother, his father passed down the lessons of life that were so valuable to his walk. His father had instructed him with diligence and taught him to hold fast to his words in the heart. Keeping his father’s Godly commandments would allow him to live abundantly and long. David taught his son, Solomon, to “Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.” David continued with his lessons as Solomon recounts, “Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if (conditional clause here) you embrace her. She will place on your head a garland of grace; she will present you with a crown of beauty (Proverbs 4:1-9).” Grace and beauty come from embracing wisdom and acquiring understanding.
-Solomon returns to a single son in this next section of literature for the wise. He keeps repeating the fact that acceptance of his words will make all the difference. Boys must have been very similar to our young men of this generation. Sometimes we want to do things our own way in our human nature. Not listening to dear ole dad in usually in vogue. However, the wise will pay attention to their father’s sayings, and this will lead to long life as he directs in the way of wisdom and leads in upright paths. Heeding Godly wisdom will help a young man walk without impediments and stumbling. In other words, it will be much smoother sailing through the course of life if young men attend to their father’s sound teaching from the Scriptures. Solomon tells his son to “take hold of instruction” and not let it go. He implores to guard her (wisdom), “for she is your life.” Now, he compares and contrasts the righteous and the wicked for his son’s benefit. He warns not to “enter the path of the wicked,” nor “proceed in the way of evil men.” He flat out says, “Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass by it.” He rightly relates how the wicked cannot sleep unless they do evil and are robbed of sleep unless they induce someone to stumble. Another way of putting it Scripturally, “Bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33).” Solomon doesn’t want his son to be deceived. These perpetrators metaphorically eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. Solomon wants his son to have no part of this. This is true wisdom. In contrast, the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn breaking forth in all its glory, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day appears. But, “the way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know over what they stumble (Proverbs 4:10-19).”
-Once again Solomon reiterates to his son to give attention to his words and incline his ear to his sayings. He warns to not let them depart from his sight and to keep them in the midst of his heart. These sayings of the LORD are life to those who find them. Cross reference what Jesus said about seeking and finding (Matthew 7:7-8, Luke 11:9-10). These words aren’t just life to those who find, but health to all their body. Therefore, Solomon instructs under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23, John 4:10-14; 7:37-38).” Then he goes further with some teaching on the tongue and where to fix one’s gaze. A deceitful mouth and devious speech should be put far away from the man of God. The eyes should look directly ahead, fixed straight in front, ever watching the paths of the feet. Then, all the ways of a righteous man will be established. Solomon finishes this pericope with not turning to the right or to the left in a righteous course, but turning the foot from evil every time listening to the words of God (Deuteronomy 5:32; 17:20, Joshua 1:7; 23:6, 2 Kings 22:2, 2 Chronicles 34:2, Proverbs 4:20-27, Isaiah 30:21).
-*Application* A father’s words to his son can be the most precious and endearing factor towards the success of a young man. If we are fathers, let’s make the most of every day we’ve been given with our sons to teach them the proper ways to live under the loving and gracious commands of our Heavenly Father. Be diligent in this, and be faithful to live out what we speak. Let’s help our kids avoid the luring troubles of this world and acquire the wisdom of God for the course of their lives so that they will hopefully pass these things on to the next generation.
Verse to Memorize: Proverbs 4:23