Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Proverbs 4: 1-9

Today's Thought Question:
  1. What verses do you find particularly thought-provoking and can you think of ways to apply these verses to your life in practical ways?

Our verses today provide a wonderful summary of what we have read thus far in our introduction to Proverbs.

Today's language is especially beautiful, with lots of descriptive action words. We are privy to a special conversation between a father and his sons, yet it is as much a message for any of us having a conversation with our Father God.

This would be a good time to recall who Solomon's parents were--David and Bathsheba. We will likely talk about them more as we continue on, because their relationship had an obvious impact upon Solomon, and God would work through Solomon and these proverbs to instruct us about wisdom and foolishness. Solomon makes reference to them in verse 3.

For a young son growing up, who wouldn't want to hear about being exalted, honored, and having a garland of grace and a crown of beauty presented to him?! The acquisition and understanding of wisdom is what leads to such blessing. Can we present this same idea to our children? Can we accept these words for ourselves, knowing that all of this blessing can be ours?

Generally, I fear that we have lauded our children with tangible recognitions for things they do. That's difficult in an age in which self-esteem is so misunderstood. We all want our children to learn, grow and succeed. Even as the ribbons and trophies are awarded, I try to temper such honors with a bigger picture--gifts, talents, and, yes, wisdom acquired. It's hard to explain to a "tweener" that there is more behind the token award.

God wants us to grasp more than the tangible, because He knows those tokens will not last. They may not even be remembered past the short term. What goes along with those tokens, however? Will we remember the hard work? The folks who trained and encouraged us? The new skills developed? The character shaped? The spark of a gift fanned into flame, resulting in a ministry on fire for God?

For a time, PBS Kids featured a short that ran in between its daytime programming. Kids commented on things they saw, using their words. And all the kids saw different things. As parents, viewing the same sights, we would also use different words to describe the same things. Was anybody wrong? No. Depending upon the framework--the words used--viewers could understand different things. The tag line of the short? "It's all in how you look at it!"

Perhaps it is a challenge to all of us today to present these Scripture verses to our children--and to hear them for ourselves--asking God to bless our understanding of His wisdom to us. Because if wisdom is "all in how you look at it," then we need to see it...."embrace it, love it, prize it"...through the eyes of the One who created it and uses it.

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 4: 10-19
  1. God is using words in this text such as "avoid," "do not," and "put away." These phrases imply that choices need to be made by one who pursues wisdom. Read Matthew 7: 13&14. How might the understanding of these verses help us with daily choices?
  2. After reading Matthew 7: 13&14, reread verses 14-18 in Proverbs. Begin to formulate paths to start avoiding and paths to pursue.

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).


B His Girl said...

I enjoyed exploring this passage and reading your thoughts especially how we have 'taught' our children self-esteem. To cherish wisdom, and not swerve all over the road on our journey home. I want wisdom. I can't share with my children what I don't have. B

Sue J. said...


Make sure you come back tomorrow, as your choice of words will come to even greater light!

Even what little wisdom we have needs to be offered through our heavenly Father. I find that even my best intentions to communicate wisdom don't work. Ears need to be able to receive, and that's something that God needs to work out through our children.

Thanks for sharing today!

KelliGirl said...

What verses do you find particularly thought-provoking and can you think of ways to apply these verses to your life in practical ways?

Great post again! You have to package this up as a Bible study for print. Your wisdom is evident and you have a talent for expressing your thoughts and using real life examples.

Now, on to the question:
As I've been reading through Proverbs I'm amazed at how practical and relevant Solomon's words are to us an individual seeking wisdom and as a parent trying to impart it.

This passage has lots of action words: listen, pay attention, do not forget, gain understanding, do not forsake, love wisdom, get wisdom, esteem wisdom.

Throughout the Bible, it seems that our spiritual growth and depth of understanding is always linked to us rolling up our sleeves and really getting involved. The same holds true for gaining wisdom.

But, to receive a garland of grace and a crown of certainly seems worth the effort!

I think I'm going to go through PRoverbs with my kids this summer.


Sue J. said...

For anyone who thinks the Christian life is a cakewalk, he or she need think again! Rolling up sleeves, as you put it, Kelli, is definitely required. The Bible can't say it enough--though sometimes it seems we lose those verses--that we need to "work out" our salvation with fear and trembling. Not lay out. Work out!

Thankfully, we are not alone in that work. Indeed, we NEED God to guide us through if we are going to work out properly, with all the benefits of life, liberty and the pursuit of wisdom!

Kelli, just prepare yourself for some of these chapters coming up, dealing with the adulteress. Language gets to be pretty in-your-face, as we'll very soon see.

Carmen said...

"An age in which self esteem is so misunderstood"
That is so well put. I hadn't actually thought of it that way before. Really great insight in this post! Thanks!