Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life
Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well. Today is Christmas Eve! I pray you are ready and excited to celebrate the birth of our Saviour – the wisdom of God made flesh solely for the purpose to redeem mankind- you and me- no matter what the cost! (I find this fitting for what is to follow.)
In my NIV Bible, Proverbs 4 is entitled Get Wisdom at Any Cost. It is King David’s plea to Solomon; it is a father’s plea to his son; it is God’s plea to us, even though it meant forsaking his own son.
Please note that I have included all of chapter 4 in this devotion in order for us to look at David’s plea as a whole. Let’s top up our coffees and see what words of wisdom King David imparted to his young son…
Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown.” Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. 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.
Solomon begins this chapter by sharing a time as a young boy when his father, King David, sat him down and had a heart-to-heart talk. Do you recall a time when your parent(s) had a heart-to-heart talk with you? These talks make an impact on us as young people. They are times when we feel that our parents are seeing us adults and preparing us for adulthood which would be just around the corner, even though as a young person we probably already felt like we were all grown up. Our parents, however, knew better. They knew that it would not be long before we would be embarking on the world of independence and adulthood, and they desired to help prepare us. Oh to have parents that cared enough and were observant enough to see our impending ignorant jump into the world of choices and temptations, responsibilities and burdens, and to impart learned wisdom and knowledge to help us survive.
King David’s words of wisdom were not what we expect, like ‘continue to get a great education’, ‘marry a nice girl’, ‘take a finance course because you’ll have a fortune to manage.’ No, King David begged Solomon to listen and to heed his words, which directed him to seek wisdom in all and everything he was to do. Solomon knew that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” (Proverbs 1:7a) He knew and saw from his father that to seek wisdom was to seek God and His ways. There was nothing more important.
For us, life has a lot of ‘options’, and society places a lot of importance and prestige on many things, but what is important is not wealth, nor education, nor the number of children, nor your social status, nor your profession, nor your place of employment, nor how much money you make, nor your marital status. No. The most important is seeking true wisdom in the Lord and trusting that he will fill you with patience, understanding, courage, and a trust in him that will enable you to walk sure footed through life, no matter what may come your way. It’s just as Jesus says:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Life is full of storms and unknowns, forked roads and choices, but heed the words of your heavenly Father, through the words of Solomon, and seek wisdom. Seek the one who created you to be you, who loves you more than life itself, and who will enable you to stand firm through it all, no matter what may come your way!
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, King David was your faithful servant, and he was a faithful father. Help me to be your faithful servant and to be a faithful parent. Help me to live in knowing your ways and your love that is so strong for me that it required your son to suffer and die on my behalf; your wisdom that goes beyond the physical realm and reason but reaches my conscience and the depths of my soul. Help me to be secure in you and your wisdom and help me to be a faithful parent to the youth in my life, like David and like Solomon after him. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN!