Speaker: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: An Invitation to Wisdom: Proverbs 1-9
Proverbs 4:1-27 (ESV)
1 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
2 for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom; get insight;
do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
and whatever you get, get insight.
8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head a graceful garland;
she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
10 Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many.
11 I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
The wise depend on sound advice to help them navigate the path before them.
1. Keep your heart.
v4 “let your heart hold fast my words”; v13 “keep hold of instruction, guard her”
v23 “keep your heart with all vigilance for from it flow the springs of life”
vv14-19 “do not enter the path of the wicked”
2. Listen to those who have gone before.
vv3-9 “when I was a son with my father… he taught me…”
vv10-13 “I have taught you the way of wisdom”
3. Receive the good word.
v1 “hear” (translates to seeing, v21, 25; pondering, v26; etc.)
v2 “for I give you good precepts”
vv8-9 “prize her highly”, v21 “let them not escape from your sight”
Questions for Reflection
Do you take advice well? Do you get defensive? Do you dismiss advice? Do you feel you are in a position to give advice, but have no need of advice? Do you want affirmation more than advice? Why? How does this affect you?
Are you overly dependent on advice? Do you have trouble knowing what to do in relatively simple matters? Why? How does this affect you?
How can you “keep your heart”? What does personal vigilance look like?
What are ways you can watch your heart when: a) you get angry with someone? b) you are jealous? c) you are dissatisfied? d) you are anxious? e) you are excited?
Who has shaped or impacted your life? Is there anyone who is currently a strong influence? What role are they playing (or have they played) in your life and how?
Are you helping anyone? Is there anyone you can or should be teaching, investing in, mentoring, etc.? Are there opportunities in the church you should consider (Sunday school teacher, home group leader, personal discipleship) or otherwise (mentoring through a youth program, engaging in personal evangelism)?
Do you see your own spiritual growth correlated in any way to whether or not you are helping others?
What does it look like to receive the words of Christ? What are ways that following Jesus is walking the wise path to life (what things are you to do)?
Think of wisdom as an heirloom, passed down through generations because of its value and importance. How can this help you be motivated to pursue wisdom, and to hold carefully onto it as you get it?
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, you have spoken but we have not listened. You have revealed yourself, but we have looked to other things. We have walked the path of evil without knowing how each step brought us closer to death. But you have sent Jesus, who is himself the way. You have made forgiveness a reality. You have given us your word. We have the testimony of a cloud of witnesses who have walked your path before us. Plant your word deep in our hearts so that springs of life would flow from us. Amen.