Proverbs 4:10-11 begins setting the stage for some hard topics on seeing and even changing our associations, beliefs, and support when we get to Proverbs 4:14-17. Before we get to that, we need to make sure that we understand what the plea is for us here in Proverbs. Please understand that he is setting the stage for major changes if we are willing to follow what is being taught in this book of wisdom.
So in Proverbs 4:10 notice there is a plea to hear and receive the sayings. Hear is a very large used word. In the O.T. it is translated 1,155 times! The top to translated words is heard (371 x’s) and hear (at 268 x’s). We, who are the audience, are pleaded to hear what he is saying. This is not the first time we have ran across this word in Proverbs. Proverbs 1:5, 8, 33; 4:1 all have this Hebrew word in its text. And this call to hear is vital considering all that we have covered thus far. I would encourage a re-read of the blog posts covering these verses. But it is not just to hear. There is also the receiving.
Receiving is again used 962 x’s throughout the O.T. What is interesting is the main use of this word is not the concept of receiving something. That is only 30 x’s. Instead it is the concept of took or take. In this case, the sayings being given and that will be given is to be taken by we who are listening and reading. We find this word in Proverbs 1:3, 19 (takes away); 2:1. Please take time to review these words as well for they will help us to piece what is being said here in this text.
But there is a result if we hear and receive. It is the years of life will be many. There is a longer life given to those who hear and receive. How many young people die early for failure to heed the wisdom given. We find this truth where God is telling the Israelites to listen to what He is telling them. Heed Deuteronomy 11:18-20. The result of this is Deuteronomy 11:21-22. Once again we are seeing this being taught to children in Exodus 20:12. This obedience will give children a long life, not only because God will bless them, but because by listening to the parents, they will gain wisdom that will keep them safe as they get older. But it is not just in the Old Testament. We can look at Ephesians 6:1 which tells children to obey their parents. Then in Colossians 3:20, it is pleasing to the Lord.
Children, are you listening to your parents? It may seem as though they do not know what you are going through, or they do not understand. And perhaps they do not know what it is like growing up for they grew up in a different time and place. But do not be mistaken. Their instructions are very important and the principles laid out from them can and will help you in your own life.
Do not mistake this. Not only will your life be enlarged, but you will also find you are pleasing the Lord by your obedience. Therefore, take stock on how you respond. How do you react when you are asked to do something? How do you present yourself when you have to have a conversation with your parents? It isn’t just the listening part, that is easy. It is the receiving part that is often missed. As a child you may hear what your parents are saying but are you really receiving it or does it go in one ear and out the other?
It is easy to fall into the mindset that what is being said is shallow, hallow, and or inconvenient. It may go against what you desire to do or want to do, but that is not being obedient to what God is wanting from you. But adults, do not think you are off the hook as well?
Proverbs has wisdom for you and part of that is to also listen to your parents. Perhaps, though, you do not have your parents. However, you do still have the lessons, both good and bad, that you can follow. But you also have your Heavenly Father who has given you His wisdom and instructions in His Word. This plays a major part when we get to Proverbs 4:14-17.
Then we look at Proverbs 4:11. The ways of wisdom were being taught. Again, we have ran across these words before so to expand them would be a repeat of what was said before. Taught is found in Proverbs 4:4. It is also found some 79 x’s throughout the Old Testament and I would encourage reading that blog post as well.
We turn our focus to Wisdom. Found 149 times throughout the Old Testament, we also find it in Proverbs 1:2, 7; 2:2, 6, 10; 3:13, 19; 4:5, 7, 11. Solomon says he led his son, including us, in the right paths. This leading in the right paths is true for the good things he did, but also the bad things It should have taught his son what he should not have done. Therefore, wisdom can come in both negative and positive ways.
Therefore the right paths in focus is the way of righteousness. Psalm 1 gives us the difference between toe right and wrong paths and what that looks like. Therefore, not only is it important to heed these directions but it is also important to pray for the right direction. If we look at Psalm 119:35, the author is seeking for God’s right path. How do we know the right path? Psalm 119:105 tells us this. Therefore, we go to God’s Word for the path. We look at God’s Word for the standard. We seek God’s path, not our own. This is why we are taught to not trust ourselves in Proverbs 3:5. If we do, we are going to find ourselves in a world of pain and sorrow.
So what is the result of all this? For that we wait till next week when we deal with Proverbs 4:12-13. For this moment, however, are we heeding, hearing, and receiving the wisdom we have been covering? Are we heeding this wisdom? This is the wisdom that comes, not from our own imagination but from God Himself. The reason is because His ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). Therefore, we are to go to where the wisdom is and that is beyond ourselves. Children, are you also listening and obeying as you should?
Therefore, all of us can and should take heed from this text and evaluate ourselves. Till next week. God bless.