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Proverbs 4 Commentary on Wisdom of Solomon

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Got Wisdom? Sounds like a slogan that belongs on a T-shirt. Odd thing about wisdom is those who know what it is, and find value in it, they live by it. They seek it out everywhere. Practice it daily. They canít get enough of it.

Proverbs 4 Commentary on the Way of Wisdom of Solomon

Those who don’t know wisdom, or do know it but reject it hate those who have it. When it comes to wisdom, there is a major class separation between the “haves” and “have not's”.

The dictionary defines wisdom as the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action- also known as discernment.

Wikipedia says: “Wisdom is a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to choose or act or inspire to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time, energy or thought.”

Wikipedia goes on to say that: “It (wisdom) is the ability to optimally (effectively and efficiently) apply perceptions and knowledge and so produce the desired results. Wisdom is also the comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action. Wisdom often requires control of one's emotional reactions (the "passions") so that one's principles, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions.”

Sounds like pretty important stuff, right? Lot’s of Oriental religions are based on wisdom. Certainly gaining wisdom is something worthy of more attention.

And that’s secular man’s opinion. What does the bible say about wisdom? What is God’s opinion? God places a very high value on wisdom. It says in Proverbs 3:19 “By wisdom the LORD laid the earth's foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place.” To put it plainly, God used wisdom along with a deep understanding of it when creating the heavens and the earth.

Wisdom is discussed in some form or another, to one extent or another in every book of the bible. Wisdom is one of the main central themes woven throughout the entire bible. The fact that God holds wisdom in such high esteem finding great value in it, and had each of his prophets write about it… that should be our (not so) subtle cue that wisdom is something we all need more of in our lives.

The Book of Proverbs - Wisdom of Solomon

The book of Proverbs is the best condensed repository of wisdom, understanding and instruction found in the whole bible. Proverbs sets the standard for what God thinks of wisdom that all the other books in the bible follow.

In Proverbs 1: 2-5, 7 (KJV) we discover the meaning of the entire book of Proverbs, it’s plainly written right there in the beginning of the book:
2) “To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;
3) To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; (fairness, that which is right)
4) To give subtilty (good judgment), to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion (the act of making good decisions based on good judgment).
5) A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain wise counsels:
7) (last half) …but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

To help us understand the concept Wisdom it is figuratively personified as a woman. Proverbs chapters 1-2 show us that wisdom is to be sought after. Wisdom has great value and comes with a price. Wisdom keeps us safe from evil. Wisdom teaches us things bringing knowledge. Knowledge is strength and power.

We are encouraged to listen to wisdom. She’s found everywhere out in public; in the market place and at the city gates. When she reaches out to you, take her in. Fools mock wisdom and ignore her. Wisdom can greatly reward you or she can ignore you in your time of need and laugh at your troubles. It’s your choice.

Proverbs 3 extols the merits of walking with God. The value of wisdom comparing her as being greater than gold and silver. Also gives more instruction on what wisdom is and what having it can do for you. Chapter 3 concludes in verse 35 by saying: “The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”

And who are the fools? Fools are people who despise wisdom and instruction.

In chapter 4 We are Exhorted to Embrace Wisdom

Proverbs 4
1) Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend (pay attention) to know understanding.
2) For I give you good doctrine (teaching, instruction, policy), forsake ye not my law (not the Law of Moses, Solomon’s writings).

3) For I was my father's son, (referring to King David) tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. (When he was very young and still an only child of Bathsheba)
4) He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. (Meaning, he started his training in wisdom way back when he was a very small child.)

5) Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline (turn away) from the words of my mouth.
6) Forsake her not, and she shall preserve (guard) thee: love her, and she shall keep (watch over) thee.

7) Wisdom is the principal thing (first, most important); therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.
8) Exalt her (prize, value), and she shall promote thee (promote, to raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality) 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 (figuratively, meaning your path in life) shall not be straitened (distressed, vexed); 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.

In Chapter 1:7 we learned that “fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Now in chapter 4 it goes on to show an example of what fools become in life and that children should stay away from them and their violent ways.

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. (A poetic analogy meaning they survive on wickedness and violence is in their blood.)

18) But the path of the just (good people, righteous) is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (that time of day when the sun is at its brightest; midday).

That makes sense. Solomon’s father, King David wrote in Psalms 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” This is some of the instruction Solomon references in Proverbs when he says he learned wisdom from his father.

19) The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Have you ever fumbled around in the dark tripping over stuff, breaking things and hurting yourself? Figuratively speaking, that’s what it’s like for fools and wicked people. They stumble through their lives in midday as if it’s dark. Mired in their own ignorance and hatred all the while surrounded by wisdom. Tripping over stuff, making a mess, hurting themselves- and they never know why.

Have you ever the joke that says there are 3 types of people?

1) Those who make things happen
2) Those who watch things happen
3) and those who wonder, “What happened?”

Funny but true. Those who wonder what happened have no wisdom. That’s how you can identify them in life. That or they hate wisdom and instruction, or reject it when they get it. The bible call them fools. Don’t be one of them! Be the one who makes things happen. That’s where all the action is and where all the rewards are.

20) My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. (Meaning, listen intently to what I’m saying.)
21) Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst (middle) of thine heart.
22) For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh (to their whole body).

23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Guard your input. Guard your heart. Keep it pure. You become what you think. The desires of your heart eventually manifest in your choices and in your action. Whether your heart is dark or light then your actions are soon to follow accordingly.

24) Put away from thee a froward mouth (speaking wicked or corrupt things), and perverse lips put far from thee.

In plain English: Stop speaking deceitful, corrupt and wicked things. Stop saying things that turn away from or reject what is right, good, or proper.

25) Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Proverbs 4 poner the path of thy feet

Speaking figuratively again:  The NIV version translates this verse as: “Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.”

26) Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

Meaning: Pay attention to your motives and to the choices you make concerning your path in life; in the short term and in the long run. That way you’ll build your life on a firm foundation not easily swayed, damaged or destroyed by fools and by the wicked.

27) Turn not (turn aside, depart) to the right hand nor to the left (stay on the straight path so you don’t get lost. Don’t turn down side roads thinking they are short cuts): remove thy foot from evil.

The analogy is like when you’re walking down a trail surrounded by wildlife and you step in something nasty. Do you keep walking in it and track it everywhere? No, you should “remove thy foot from evil” and wipe it off.  Then go around it and not step in it anymore.

Evil is better interpreted as: adversity, affliction, bad things or calamity. Don’t walk in any of those things. Stay away from them. You think you have a grip on evil things? You don’t. Evil will consume you. The sound advice here is to stay on the “straight and narrow” and if you encounter evil, just step away from it.

Let’s Take Solomon’s Advice:

Get wisdom, get understanding: and remember it. What is wisdom?  The knowledge of what is true or right along with proper judgment on what to do about it.

Take wisdom with you wherever you go, and she will guard you: love her, and she’ll watch over you.

When walking with wisdom on your path in life, you won’t be overly distressed or vexed; and when things get going for you, when life is moving fast, you won’t stumble. Wisdom works for you.

Grab hold of wisdom and hang on tight. Keep wisdom close to you and use it. When you use wisdom, you’ll gain understanding. Without wisdom and understanding, you have nothing in your life but adversity, affiliations, evil and all sorts of other troubles.

How do you get wisdom? Read Proverbs; study it. Think on each one. Deeply consider the message and truly understand them. Put them into use in your life. Read the other books in the bible. Read the gospels and study how Jesus interacted with people. Follow him; do what he did. Learn from your own life experiences, and from the experiences of others.

Growing in wisdom is a lifelong challenge. Not a one time study. Commit to her, and she will guide your path to blessings and righteousness. God bless you!

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