(The boy in the big bad world)
The benefits of wisdom
1: Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2: For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3: For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4: He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5: Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6: Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7: Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8: Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9: She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee. 10: Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11: I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 12: When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 13: Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. 14: Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 15: Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 16: For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 17: For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. 18: But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19: The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. 20: My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21: Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22: For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 23: Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24: Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25: Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26: Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27: Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
Warning against sexual sin
1: My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: 2: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. 3: For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil: 4: But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. 5: Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. 6: Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them. 7: Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8: Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9: Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: 10: Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; 11: And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12: And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; 13: And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! 14: I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly. 15: Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. 16: Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. 17: Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. 18: Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19: Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. 20: And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? 21: For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. 22: His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. 23: He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
Today we are reading Proverbs 4 & 5. Proverbs 4 continues the call to wisdom. This is a call to the kings children from their wise father. He says listen to me my children and attend to my teaching so that you will have understanding, because I am going to give you good teaching and its simple – Do not forsake my law. Notice that this was spoken during the time of the Mosaic covenant. Notice also that he said it is ‘my law’. This was not something academic for David, it had been written on his soul. He had made it his own. It is my law and I received it from my Father – Jesse. I was delicate and the object of my mothers love. David was the youngest and the smallest and the mothers boy. David had godly parents who taught him faithfully the Law of the Lord. He was taught of his father to keep the commandments and live. This encapsulates the Mosaic law. It was the rule of life for mortal men – Jewish men. If they kept the law – they lived. Then his father says GET WISDOM, get understanding. Do not forsake wisdom. Wisdom is the right application of knowledge. And true knowledge comes from the fear of the Lord and a determination to keep the law. If you do not forget wisdom then you will be preserved in life by her. Being wise under the law is the ONE thing. Therefore get wisdom – in all your getting – get wisdom. Then the father speaks of Wisdom, exalt her, and she will pay you back giving you promotion and honour. Wisdom will adorn your head and wisdom will be a crown of glory. Then the father says again receive my proverbs and you will live a long life. This was a provision of the Mosaic law and has nothing to do with a christian. If a christian lives a long life then that’s according to the grace of God and it is not a reward for faithfulness, as it was under the law. The father says, I have done my part, I have taught you the right way. If you follow my advice you will run a straight race and you will not stumble. So grasp this wisdom and never let her go because she is your very life. He says with tears do not fall in to the path of the wicked – Avoid it!! They are restless to do mischief. They cannot sleep until they have caused someone to stumble. Their bread is paid for by wickedness and they drink wine that is forcibly stolen. But the path of the righteous is like a shining light and is shines brighter and brighter every day. But the path of the wicked is darkness and they do not see at what they stumble. The father says, keep my words in the centre of your mind, because they are your life and health in the flesh. So we see that the law only acted on the flesh, it promised physical health and long life. He says, stand guard over your mind, because out of it comes all the issues of life. Don’t be proud and put perverse speech far from you. Look forward straight ahead. Think about the path you will walk and let your path of life be established. Do not turn to the right or left to do evil. In Chapter 5 the father continues but he turns his attention to his greatest obstacle – a strange woman. That is a gentile woman. What’s wrong with a Gentile woman? The word of God is not in her soul. She is full of sensuality in the flesh and she is devoted to false gods. Under the law there is only room for one female and she is wisdom. So the Father says listen to me, the foreign woman will be very seductive. Her lips are a sweet as a honeycomb and her speech is smoother than oil, but she will leave you with a bitter taste, as bitter as wormwood. She leads men to their death - to the grave. She does this, so that you will never even think of the path of life. (true law keeping) Her ways are always changing so that you will not be able to get a grip on them. He pleads with his children – Get away from her, do not go anywhere near the door of her house, because if you do then your honour will be given to others and your years will be given to cruel men who will punish you. The enemies from afar will take everything you have and you will serve as servants in a strangers house. You will come to mourning in the end when your flesh and body is consumed. You will say to yourself, why did I hate to be taught and why did my heart despise reproof? I didn’t listen and obey my teachers. I did nearly every kind of evil in the midst of the congregation. Drink waters from your own cisterns and not from foreign wells. May no strangers drink from your water supply. Here the king warns of foreign invasion - if they forsake the Lord. May your fountains be blessed and may you remain faithful with the wife of your youth. May you only find your physical enjoyment in her body. Why would you be raped by a gentile woman? The LORD knows all that you do and he thinks about everything. A man is tied to his own desires and he will die without knowing why and is the greatness of his stupidity he will go astray. This serious passage is to the kings children and he warns them of the spiritual adultery that lies in their path.