4:1 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.
(See also: Proverbs 28:26 (KJV) He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered. ||| Proverbs 4:7 (KJV) Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.)
Remember when we talked about the heart, and how it’s more than just the seat of our emotions? The heart is so much more that just our affections: it is regarded as being the seat of the intellect, the feelings, and the will. The heart is often spoken of in God’s Word as our innermost being and charts the course of our life - it determines our decisions, our daily path, and our course of life!
When we ignore the wisdom we find here in God’s Word, we begin to make wrong choices. Those wrong choices begin to “pollute” our life - a wrong heart LEADS TO and PRODUCES a wrong life. Have you ever used food colouring or dye before? If you have some in your house, go grab it. Get a cup of water in a clear glass, as well. If you look at that glass, see the purity in the water, and then drop ONE little drop of food colouring into it. It changes and affects the entire glass, not just one portion of it!
In the same way, sin and wrong choices - ignoring God’s wisdom - affects our heart and thus pollutes our entire life. Often, our choices do not only affect us, but also those around us. We may think we can do whatever we like, but that selfish attitude and our actions resulting from it touch more lives than our own.
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.
Where are you and I choosing to ignore wisdom in our lives? How are those decisions affecting our heart, our attitudes, our lives? How are those actions spilling over and affecting others, and what can we do to change them??