Proverbs 4:1-27 - Outline of Proverbs (Book Notes menu page)
The Wisdom of Experience - The Choice of Two Paths
v.1-6 - Is this Solomon speaking?
If so, then the father and mother from whom he received instruction (in v.3) are David and Bathsheba. But this could well be David speaking as recorded by Solomon (in the second person, as the recipient of instruction), in which case, v.3 looks back to David's parents, Jesse and his wife. In either case, the parents speak with the wisdom gained through life experience, as they applied the instruction which they themselves received from their parents.
     Their counsel is that wisdom must be retained {ie., seized, grasped, held securely}, kept {guarded, observed}, gotten {acquired, purchased, possessed}, not forgotten {not ignored}, not declined from {not stretched or bent}, not forsaken {not left behind, not abandoned}. The benefits of wisdom (ie., to be preserved and kept by it), are for those who preserve and guard the Word which they have heard. The natural tendency is to let the words of wisdom drift away. Heb 2:1; Jam 1:23-25
v.7-10 - Wisdom is the principal thing...- ie., It is first in order of priority.
It is first in importance. It is chief among pursuits. Wisdom is of greater importance than knowledge. Knowledge can be misapplied. But wisdom knows what to do with what it knows. So, wisdom and knowledge must work together.
     Those who exalt {esteem highly} Wisdom will be promoted {lifted up} by it... to: honor (v.8, worth in the sight of men), grace {ie., favor, before God and man}, glory (v.9, ie., moral beauty), and long life (v.10).
v.11-17 - Wisdom, speaking from experience, identifies two paths which the children will encounter:
  1. The path of wisdom (v.11-13) -
    1. is safe and wide (v.12) -
      • This is the straight and narrow way of which Jesus spoke (Mat 7:13,14). The entrance to this path is very narrow (Joh 10:9), but those, who follow it, find the path leads to true freedom and unfettered service for the Lord (Joh 10:10).
      • The Lord Himself watches the steps of those on this path. Whether walking or running, they are kept from stumbling (falling). cp. Jer 31:9 (re: Israel's restoration and return to the land); 2Sam 22:33,34,37 and Psa 18:36-f (re: David's testimony)
    2. tends to life (v.13) - "wisdom... she is thy life." -
      God's Word not only leads to life, it is life for those who heed it.
      cp. Eccl 7:12 (wisdom vs. money); Joh 6:68 (Peter's declaration: " whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.")
  2. The path of the wicked (v.14-17) -
    • v.14 - The entrance is wide and inviting.
      But it becomes more constrictive the farther you travel, and ends in death and hell. Pro 16:25
    • v.15 - The entrance to this path is to be...
      • avoided - Purposely planning a course wide of its wide mouth.
      • turned from - Actively taking a new direction, when you see your course converging with the path of the wicked.
    • v.16,17 - The characters on this path...
      • give their waking hours to mischief {injurious evil} and causing others to fall {stumble}. Mic 2:1
      • have an appetite for ill gotten gain, and for violence {ie., cruel injustice}. Pro 1:10-19
v.18,19 - Wisdom, speaking from experience, differentiates the end of each path.
  1. The end of the path of wisdom (v.18)...
    • is the path of the just (those judged to be righteous, Joh 5:24)
    • is a path of light, leading to a brighter day. As dawn yields to bright noon. So, those who follow the "day star" will enjoy the day when the sun is fully risen. Joh 8:12; Php 2:15,16; 2Pet 1:19 (Christ is the day star, observed by believers, who watch for the day of His return.); 2Sam 23:3,4 (David's hope)
  2. The end of the path of the wicked (v.19)...
    • is the path of darkness and stumbling, of those...
v.20-27 - Wisdom, speaking from experience, urgently admonishes...
  1. the importance of keeping (and heeding) God's Word (v.20-22)...
  2. the importance of keeping your heart according to God's Word (v.23-27)
        Out of it (the heart) are the issues of life... Mat 12:35 (Luk 6:45,46); Mat 15:19
    • mouth...- Mat 15:18 (the tongue, Jam 3:5-10)
    • eyes... straight before thee - ie., on the goal, undistracted (Pro 23:5);
      - single minded to serve the Lord (Mat 6:22);
      - guarded against impure sights and thoughts (Mat 5:27,28)
    • feet...- What you do... Where you go...
      Ponder {weigh carefully} the direction of your life. Psa 119:5,6; Eph 5:15-17 (where 'circumspectly' means to be 'watchful, discreet, prudent', lit., 'looking around,' ie., taking everything into consideration. This is the opposite of being rash, impetuous, or injudicious.)

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