As we look at Proverbs 4:13, we now see one charge, it is to hold fast to instruction. This instruction is important, not only because of what we have already covered but because we are about to deal with the wicked and the comparison between the wicked and the just. This segment is going to be very hard for many Christians to hear when we get to Proverbs 4:14-17.
What we find here in this text, we come to the importance of the instruction. This is the lessons that instruct (as in instruction) but also to provide correction. It also spills over into discipline, doctrines and lessons that are given. This is important because it tells us where we are to look for these instructions. One of the most important places we can go to find this instruction is here in the Scriptures. Proverbs specifically, which we have been covering, is written to give us this instruction (Proverbs 1:2-3). Digging deeper, this instruction is what fools despise (Proverbs 1:7), and therefore is a warning for us to evaluate whether we are despising or not.
As was said, this becomes so much more important in Proverbs 4:14-17 because there are many who, whether they want to accept it or not, actually do support evil and are in the same line as those who practice it (Romans 1:32). But this will come, Lord willing, in the next few studies. What do we find here in our text today? The instructions we have covered, up to this point thus far, is all designed to help us to live our lives in a way that is honoring and pleasing to God. It will set us on a better foundation from which we are able to observe and navigate life in our day and age. Sadly, many have rejected this firm foundation for one of shifting sand.
We see this instruction is to be held on, and to keep. It seems these are duplicating the meaning, but that is not what is going on. The call to not let go has the idea of going limp, becoming limp, or to cease. When I hear this, I picture a child in this instance. A child is told to follow his parents. The child does not want to. So the parent takes hold of the child’s hand to help them walk, and what is the result? They just drop right where they are and then what does the parent have to do? Pick up the child to carry them. The child just goes limp, does not use his arms or legs to help carry himself and the whole work is on the parents.
This imagery is still just because where at one point the child is walking and doing, the next just flops. The same picture is given even when we see a child told to pickup or hold something. They not only not pick it up, but when the attempt to put it in their hands is tried, they don’t even try to hold on to it. They just let it roll out of their fingertips. They went limp. This is what the author is saying to not do. Do not go limp on this. But instead, we are to hold to it. Do not go limp. So now we have a different picture.
When my children were little, I would sometimes pretend to take one of their things. I would smile, make statements such as, “I’m going to get it. I’mmmm goooiiiinnnnnggggg to getttt IIIIIIITTTTTT.” Then I will try to snatch it.
Have you ever tried to snatch something out of a child’s hand when they want what they have? I do not think a vice grip or bench clamp can hold any tighter. If a penny were put into the grip, Lincoln would be back into the White House!
That is what this verse is telling us to do. Grab hold. Do not go limp. Take it. But then it says to keep. Since we now know what it means to not let go, what does it mean to keep? It is not simply holding tight, but what we have here is a military term that has the idea of guarding (2 Kings 18:8) as one instance but also of preserving, keeping, or to keep something. The call is for all of us to not only not let instruction drop, but to take, keep, and guard it. The question is why?
This verse gives us the answer as well. She is our life. As was said, it will give us a firm foundation from which to view life, what is going on, and yes, how to handle and work through Proverbs 4:14-17. This wisdom is our life, and it will keep us and help us.
What is important is to realize that we cannot have this in ourselves, or from some collective whole of civilization, but it must come from God and His Word. So what do we do? Considering what we are about to talk about, I wish to make this challenge: 1. I am going to hit on points that some will be upset with me about. Understand, we are going to look at those who are wicked and perhaps a group, or individual is going to be in the light through this. If you are a Christian, and before getting angry at what is said, stop to consider that as a Christian, our life and our entire being (what we see, how we process the world around us, and our framework upon how we view life) MUST BE FILTERED THROUGH GOD’S WORD FIRST. That means, if it hits us where we are at, it probably means we must change. And Change I hope we do.
I leave us with this thought. No where are we ever told to just be passive when it comes to the lessons we are given here in Proverbs. We have not seen it. Instead it has been a charge for us to be proactive on measuring our lives and existence to its standards. Are we doing that? I pray that each one of us are.