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Proverbs 4

A Father’s Instruction
1Listen to my correction, my sons,
for I speak to you as your father. # 4:1 Read and study this entire chapter as though it were Jesus Christ speaking to you. He is the Father of Eternity, and we are called his sons. See Isa. 9:6–7 and Rev. 21:6–7.
Let discernment enter your heart
and you will grow wise with the understanding I impart.
2My revelation-truth # 4:2 Literally “Torah.” is a gift to you,
so remain faithful to my instruction.
3For I, too, was once the delight of my father # 4:3 See Matt. 17:5 and John 3:35.
and cherished by my mother—their beloved # 4:3 Or “unique.” See Luke 1–2. child.
4Then my father taught me, saying,
“Never forget my words.
If you do everything that I teach you, you will reign in life.” # 4:4 The lessons of wisdom are meant to be passed on from parents to children.
5So make wisdom your quest—
search for the revelation of life’s meaning.
Don’t let what I say go in one ear and out the other.
6Stick with wisdom and she will stick to you,
protecting you throughout your days.
She will rescue all those who passionately listen to her voice. # 4:6 It is not enough to acquire wisdom; we must love her and listen wholeheartedly to her instruction.
7Wisdom is the most valuable commodity—so buy it!
Revelation-knowledge is what you need—so invest in it!
8Wisdom will exalt you when you exalt her truth. # 4:8 The Septuagint says, “Build a fort for wisdom and she will lift you high.”
She will lead you to honor and favor
when you live your life by her insights.
9You will be adorned with beauty and grace, # 4:9 Literally “She will place a garland of grace on your head and a crown of beauty upon you.” A garland and a crown are metaphors for what is awarded a victor in a race. See 1 Cor. 9:24–25.
and wisdom’s glory will wrap itself around you, # 4:9 Or “wisdom’s laurel of glory shielding you.”
making you victorious in the race.
Two Pathways
10My son, if you will take the time to stop and listen to me
and embrace what I say,
you will live a long and happy life
full of understanding in every way.
11I have taken you by the hand in wisdom’s ways,
pointing you to the path of integrity.
12Your progress will have no limits when you come along with me,
and you will never stumble as you walk along the way.
13So receive my correction # 4:13 Wisdom will correct us and adjust our hearts to discipline. We must embrace the corrections of wisdom in order to mature spiritually. no matter how hard it is to swallow,
for wisdom will snap you back into place—
her words will be invigorating life to you.
14Do not detour into darkness or even set foot on that path.
15Stay away from it; don’t even go there!
16For troublemakers are restless if they are not involved in evil.
They are not satisfied until they have brought someone harm.
17They feed on darkness and drink
until they’re drunk on the wine of wickedness. # 4:17 Or “violence.”
18But the lovers of God walk on the highway of light, # 4:18 Or “the glow of sunlight.”
and their way shines brighter and brighter
until the perfect day.
19But the wicked walk in thick darkness,
like those who travel in fog,
and yet don’t have a clue why they keep stumbling!
Healing Words
20Listen carefully, my dear child, to everything that I teach you,
and pay attention to all that I have to say.
21Fill your thoughts with my words
until they penetrate deep into your spirit. # 4:21 See Col. 3:16.
22Then, as you unwrap my words, # 4:22 Or “discover my words.”
they will impart true life and radiant health
into the very core of your being.
23So above all, guard the affections of your heart, # 4:23 The Hebrew word levav is the most common word for “heart.” It includes our thoughts, our wills, our discernment, and our affections.
for they affect all that you are.
Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,
for from there flows the wellspring # 4:23 Although most translations have “the issues of life,” the Hebrew word yasa is actually “seasons,” especially springtime. Out of your heart flow the seasons of life. It is our hearts, not our ages or circumstances, that shape the seasons of our lives. If our hearts are tender to God, we can live in perpetual springtime. of life.
24Avoid dishonest speech and pretentious words.
Be free from using perverse words no matter what!
Watch Where You’re Going
25Set your gaze on the path before you.
With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead,
ignore life’s distractions. # 4:25 Implied in the text. See Heb. 12:1–2.
26Watch where you’re going!
Stick to the path of truth,
and the road will be safe and smooth before you.
27Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment
or take the detour that leads to darkness.

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