Proverbs 4: Security in Wisdom
1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to
2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law.
3 When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of
4 He also taught me, and said to me: ” Let your heart retain my words;
Keep my commands, and live.
5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from
the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will
7 Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your
getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when
you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory
she will deliver to you.”
10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life
will be many.
In this passage, we can see the father exhorting his son on the need to get wisdom, understanding and good judgement; to value her above silver or gold, see her as the principal thing, the cardinal thing, precious thing.
He reiterates that he gives good instruction and teaching on the fundamentals of life that will hold the child in good stead as he grows up to be a man. He wants to pass on the baton for a productive, enviable, durable adult life that he can be proud of while he is alive and when he is long gone.
He is speaking from the point of view of a possessor and not just a confessor. He has been around long enough to distinguish between folly and wisdom; knows the difference between knowledge and discretion and understanding and godly counsel amidst the myriads of ungodly alternatives in the world around him.
What more? He had been his father’s son (‘…I was my father’s son…’v3) He had been under instruction and guidance himself, humbling himself to learn from his father.
Young people often think they know it all. However he was wise to defer to his father, take his instructions and is now able to advise his son. Unless you have learned to be under authority, you cannot give authority effectively. It is wisdom to learn to submit yourself to those God has set over you. It does not make you inferior. It is a safety net. God is pleased and will honour you in due time. He gives grace to the humble and resists the proud.(1Pet5:5-6)
What are the benefits of wisdom that we can glean from the passage?
The marginal title: says it all: Security in wisdom. Wisdom protects you from error of judgement. You learn from other peoples mistakes rather than repeat them. The centurion recognised that Jesus was a man with a higher authority but he also alluded that there were people under him. He was himself under others before he had his authority and he submitted to Jesus’ authority. (Matt8)
Wisdom will make you stand out like David when invited by Saul to stay in the palace. David was wise in the way he conducted himself (1Sam18:5). Wisdom will give you an excellent spirit like Daniel and his friends who honoured God even while in exile and God made them ten times better than their peers, when the time of testing came . (Dan1:20,-5:12) Wisdom will make you distinguished like Joseph in Potiphar’s house such that his master left everything in his charge.(Gen.39:1-6) If you are wise, you will be head-hunted. People will come looking for you. Your employers will promote you and look for ways to keep you- increasing your salary, pecks and your responsibilities etc.
Although a father is obliged to provide for his children, experience has shown that those children who listen to their parents instructions, guidance and counsel, get the most from them. Others get by with the minimum. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.’ But if you go about as if you’re your own boss, you will be in want. You cannot confidently rely on the promise and provision of your father. (Ps23:1) ‘A promise taken out of context is a pretext.’
Prolongation of life (longevity)
When a son dishonours his parents or father, he is digging his grave, opening the door for all kinds of evil. He is making himself vulnerable to the elements (so to speak) and so doing endangering his life. He is spurning the security in place, the safety net his father has for his good and this can shorten his life. On the other hand, when a son listens to his father’s instruction and obeys him, it brings delight to his father who will do anything to protect the son. God is also pleased with this son and would protect him and thereby elongate his life. He will not die before his time.
Wisdom brings with it the ability to produce wealth, increase and lay the foundation for a fruitful adult life. It teaches you the value of working not only hard but smart It teaches you the virtue of delayed gratification Wisdom imparts diligence and excellence, perseverance, character which are important pillar of productivity and prosperity.
The wise son who listens to and adheres to his father’s instructions will grow, develop, mature to be an able teacher himself, equipped with the knowledge and wisdom, discretion, counsel and understanding from his father. He is now a professor.
There are many professors in life who not possessors. Such professors teach what they have learnt in books and internet and other means but they have not lived it themselves. Anybody can teach if they sit down and learn from books. It is different when you have submitted yourself under the authority of your father, learnt from him, not only in words but through experience and matured in your wisdom whilst also realising that we grow in wisdom and no one has arrived. We learn daily as we humble ourselves before God who is all-wise.
Let us pray:
Father, we thank You for what You have taught us today.
Help us to value wisdom from You as the principal thing in our daily walk. Open our eyes, O Lord, to recognise the authority figure You have set over us and to acknowledge and humble ourselves to learn from them to grow, mature and develop.
Teach us Lord to be sensitive to Your Spirit even when we read Your word listen to you, cherish your words of wisdom.
O that we would be teachable and not consider ourselves as arrived. Grant us hearing hearts and understanding mind as we read your word daily.
Grant, O Lord, that Your wisdom will protect us, promote us, open door of provision for us, make us productive, able professors and possessors of your kingdom, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
My Son, Listen to Your –Father
He is wiser and knows better
His silver hair counts for something
He has been through many things.
Don’t behave as if you know all
Such attitude will lead to a fall.
Son, value wisdom above all
And you will, doubtless, stand tall.
Son, Wisdom will bring protection,
Increase, productivity and provision.
She will bring excellence and promotion
Make you an able professor with unction.
Now you can go to the song relating to this Bible study: