The path of the careless seems so easy, but make every effort to seek out and live in wisdom.
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Proverbs 4 Summary
As the wise father continues to teach his young son, chapter four opens with the father looking back to the instruction he received from his own father, who taught him to prize wisdom highly (v8).
It's clear that over the course of his life, he's seen first hand how wisdom, again personified as a woman, has kept him and guarded him (v6).
The desperation the father has for his son, who like many young sons was probably more impressed with and interested in the shiny glamours of the world at this point in his life than in stodgy wisdom lessons, comes through in the way he pleads with his son to stay on the path of righteousness rather than to stumble down the way of the wicked (v18-19).
Look at the strong words the father uses to encourage wisdom:
v13 - Keep hold... do not let go;
v10, 20-25 - Hear and accept my words; be attentive; Don't let this advice escape; Let your eyes look directly forward;
The father uses even stronger words to warn of the dangers of the wicked world:
v14 - Do not enter, and do not walk in wicked & evil;
v15 - Avoid wickedness and do not go into it; turn away and keep going;
v24 - Put away crooked speech and devious talk;
v27 - Don't swerve to the right or left.
It doesn't take a person very long to look over the societal landscape and realize that wisdom is not the default condition of the world. We're surrounded by all sorts of people who eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence (v17).
Proverbs 4 helps illustrate two fundamental principles of the world:
Wickedness leads to wickedness, and wisdom leads to wisdom. Those raised in wickedness will likely pass it on to their offspring, and those given wisdom at a young age will likely continue to model it to future generations.
The first statement is only a general truth: sometimes those raised in wickedness find wisdom, and those raised in wisdom wander into wickedness. In either case, this chapter makes it clear that staying on the path of righteousness takes hard work and concerted effort.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who pleads with us to follow wisdom;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask for the strength to keep your eyes locked on the wisdom that comes from above (v25).
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: