In chapter four it seems to me that Solomon provides instruction and warning in a balanced way. He includes both Do’s and Don’ts, an effective method in my opinion.
When I was a son to my father, … he taught me and said to me (v4)
Solomon – the wisest man ever – taught. By King David. I know how difficult it can be to remain teachable. I wonder how hard it was for a man like King Solomon?
For me to learn from someone I need to know there is potential gain, the educational WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?)
Here is Solomon’s WIIFM from verses 6 – 12:
- She will guard you (v6)
- She will watch over you
- She will exalt you (v8)
- She will honor you
- She will place on you a garland of grace (v9)
- She will present you with a crown of beauty.
- The years of your life will be many. (v10)
- Your steps will not be impeded (v12)
- You will not stumble
And the “Don’ts”:
- Do not abandon my instruction
- Do not forget
- Do not turn away from the words of my mouth
- Do not forsake wisdom
- Do not enter the path of the wicked
- Do not proceed in the way of evil men.
- Do not let them (his sayings) depart from your sight.
- Do not turn to the right or left
“The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know over what they stumble” (v19)
I’ve tripped over things in the dark, it feels like whatever it was “comes out of nowhere”. There’s no way to prepare. The pain is real. It takes a little while to figure out what in the world happened when you come-to. The way of the wicked is like that. Well-said, Solomon.
I’m especially touched by the end of the chapter today:
Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. (v23)
Someone once said: Put all your eggs in one basket … and WATCH THAT BASKET!
Put away from you a decietful mouth, and put devious lips far from you. (v24)
Lord, protect me from even the subtle deceit of needing to make a good impression all the time, of not saying the last 10%, of being almost authentic.
Let your eyes look directly ahead, and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. (v25)
Lord, I want to apply this to
- the things I know God wants for our ministry,
- to my earnest desire to more-than-make-up for times I’ve disappointed my Heavenly Father,
- to my integrity and authenticity
- to my mission in life.
Watch the path of your feet, and all your ways will be established. (v26)
Pay attention to where today will lead, as it relates to the above, and it will set the course of action.
Do not turn to the right hand nor to the left; turn your foot from evil. (v27)
One word: Resolve.
Mine. Because I’m the only person I can account for. But I will. I need Solomon’s wisdom. I need what’s in it for me.
[ on to chapter 5 ]