I hope you had a great day of worship yesterday. We had a great time of challenge and fellowship. Also, we are rejoicing in the provision of the Lord as we placed an order for a new baby grand piano. The church raised more than $19,000 towards this purchase. Hallelujah!
Today, we are going to look at a section in Proverbs 4 that includes the exhortation to live a righteous and holy life.
Notice first, Proverbs 4:20-22, "My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. 21Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 22For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh." As we see again in Proverbs, there is much wisdom in paying attention to a godly parent. Solomon compels his son to pay attention to his advice. A young person who values the instruction and advice of a parent is wise. One should never forget the godly training received from their parents, it should rather be kept in the depths of their heart. I am very grateful for the godly instruction and wisdom I received from both of my parents. Verse 22 promotes the fact that godly instruction even produces physical health. Many times people who live in sin live life filled with disease and disability.
Proverbs 4:23 is one of my favorite verses in the book, and it begins a list of basic proverbs to follow in life.
Verse 23, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." The first basic proverb is to guard our heart carefully, for out of it spring the issues of life. The decisions of life spring from our heart. From the heart can come forth godliness, truth, goodness, and righteousness. However, as Jesus taught, “out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19). When one’s heart is not carefully guarded, Satan will attempt to steal it away with the various enticements and temptations of the world. And when sin begins to run its course, it invariably brings all manner of trouble and eventually even death.
Verse 24 admonishes to "Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee." It is not coincidental that the first warning is of a froward mouth and perverse lips. The word translated forward here has the sense of that which is ‘crooked’ or ‘dishonest.’ That essentially is the thought of perverse lips. The greater thought is to not allow a devious or dishonest mouth. The basic character of the devil is that of dishonesty. He is a liar and the father of all lies according to John 8:44. Nothing is more intrinsically satanic than the sins of pride and lying. Solomon, therefore, urged his son to discard any temptation to be dishonest.
Finally, notice verses 25-27, "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." The thought in this section of verses is of one traveling the highway of life. There frequently are temptations and distractions along that roadside. For some, it is the temptation of alcohol or other intoxicants. For others, it is the temptation to steal. For others it is the temptation of sexual impurity in all the various ways it seeks to entice. For others, it is materialism or covetousness. There are many advertisements and enticing signs along the highway of life. The godly advice of Scripture is to keep our sights straight ahead and not upon the enticements along the wayside.
The devil advertises many exits to the sinful attractions of life. (This is true both literally and otherwise.) God’s advice is to keep our eyes focused straight ahead. In ancient times (as well as the present in many cities) prostitutes would advertise themselves by their skimpy attire along the roadside. God’s advice is to keep your eyes straight ahead. The same is true for drug dealers, pornography, strip clubs, taverns, nightclubs, gambling, video stores, and numerous others manifestations of sin. God’s advice is to keep our eyes on the way before and not glance at the enticements along with way. We must make sure to consider the direction we are headed and proceed with care and caution.
God's perfect will is what you and I should desire. There are many things He permits, but that doesn't mean they are His perfect will.
May we be careful to stay on the right path. May God bless you as you meditate upon His Word today.
Your Friend and His,