Proverbs 4-6
(Though it Costs All You Have)
June 30th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Hold fast to instruction, never let it go;

keep it, for it is your life.

- Proverbs 4:13 (NAB)

Summary of Chapters

Chapters 4-6 continues the the Proverbs of Solomon. In this trio, the chapters are written as a set of instructions delivered from a father to a son. In chapter 4, the father begins by describing how his father had advised him of the priorities of getting understanding regardless of what it might cost him. For if the son follows this he will have health and long life, while those who do not will stumble and live in darkness.

    Get wisdom, get understanding;
        do not forget my words or turn away from them.
    Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
        love her, and she will watch over you.
    The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
        Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
    Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
       embrace her, and she will honor you.
    She will give you a garland to grace your head
        and present you with a glorious crown.
    - Psalm 4:5-9 (NIV)

The father devotes chapter 5 to advising his son against adultery and encouraging him to enjoy the benefits of loyalty to his own wife: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth (5:18).”

In chapter 6, the father warns the son regarding various forms of folly, beginning with making unwise agreements regarding money. He also dedicates a section to laziness, warning the son of the price of too much leisure, and presents the lowly ant as an example of industriousness.

Just to be sure the son gets the message, the father returns to the topic of adultery as one of many follies to avoid. He reminds the son of the dangers of this folly by comparing it to a hot fire: “can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burnt (6:27)?” He also reminds his son that if he commits this folly that “his shame will never be wiped away (6:33).”

Reflection and Application

Parents have received wisdom from their parents through words and actions and have a duty to pass on that wisdom to their children.

What does it mean for it to “cost us all we have” in order to learn wisdom? Perhaps part of the answer is that that time spent studying wisdom takes the place of generating income, so we sacrifice some earnings potential and the benefits of the money we accrue. Maybe as we learn more about wisdom we recognize that all belongs to God, so the knowledge “costs” us the loss of the impression that we own what we have. Maybe it costs us the loss of things we thought were important, such as an unbalanced emphasis on leisure or pride.

Our spouses are a gift from God to be cherished from our youthful years to our senior years. The author of Proverbs reminds us that the idea of finding something better is pure folly - except if a person is in a dangerous situation or other extreme circumstances. The temptation to seek pleasure elsewhere has not changed despite thousands of years of advancements in other areas of civilization. Likewise, the fact has not changed that the danger and shame outweigh any perceived benefits. We don’t have to look far back in history for examples of families and careers that have been ruined because of adultery. Most likely we can see examples in today's news.

We have gained so much knowledge in the last few thousands of years, yet still struggle to cherish and retain wisdom. Only God can help us with that challenge, but there is a cost.

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What is one of the best lessons that you learned from your parents?
    2. Why is it that people often find it hard to be fully satisfied with what they have?
    3. What is it going to cost you to attain the next level of wisdom?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, help us to sacrifice whatever it costs us to tap into your eternal fountain of wisdom.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Parents of all ages

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow will be our mid-year study break (The Wise Know When to Rest). The following day will be Proverbs 7-11 (It Appeals to Intellect)

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