Proverbs 4:5-6

Proverbs 4:5-6 "Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee."
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Solomon began this fourth chapter of Proverbs with an emphasis on paternal influence and instruction in a home. After counseling his children to take his influence seriously, he quickly attached his favorite virtues to that paternal influence.  Because of the seamless connection between fathers and the virtues in this passage, it is clear that Scripture teaches the important lesson that one of the main sources of WISDOM in this life is a FATHER.  In particular, verse five undeniably links the words of this father and the virtues of wisdom and understanding.  For Solomon’s children, the way to wisdom was through the words of their father.

Wisdom can be drawn from a number of different wells but a PARENT is the ideal well from which to draw.  For example, wisdom can be drawn from experience but the kind of experience that produces wisdom usually comes later in life while wisdom at the mouth of a parent can come very early in life.  Parental wisdom will prevent a child from having to learn wisdom by experience, which often comes the hard way.  You can get wisdom by listening to your parent or you can get wisdom by touching the hot stove.  Both will teach wisdom but one comes by pain while the other comes only by listening.

Solomon knew that God gave him wisdom and furthermore, he knew that he was going to be the primary source from which his children could receive wisdom.  His children did not have to travel far to obtain wisdom.  They didn’t have to travel to the Temple to get wisdom when they could get it in the Palace.  They didn’t have to go to the dean of the college to get wisdom when they could get it from the head of the dinner table.  They didn’t have to learn it by experiencing life when they could learn it by listening to their father.  They didn’t have to hope for a dream from God when they could get it by hearing their dad.  This is precisely why he told his children to listen to him.

In verses five and six, there is a warning of clear moral regression related to a father’s wisdom.  
First, this paternal poet warned his children of FORGETTING wisdom.
Verse 5a, “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not.”
This may be the hardest but most important stage.  Wisdom learned in the classroom is the hardest to retain because it is not nearly as memorable as wisdom learned by experience.  The wisdom learned by pain is always easier to remember than the wisdom learned by listening.  That being said, forgetting wisdom is the first step towards forsaking wisdom.  On the contrary, rehearsing wisdom is the first step towards remembering wisdom.  In order for a child to remember a father’s wisdom, he or she needs to rehearse that wisdom.  Questions and conversations about that wisdom will help a child understand and remember it.  The same is true for the child of God.  In order for the child of God to remember their Heavenly Father’s wisdom, he or she needs to rehearse that wisdom by memorizing and re-reading Scripture.

Secondly, Solomon warned his children of FLIRTING with that which opposes wisdom.
Verse 5b, neither decline from the words of my mouth.”
To “decline” from something means to lean away from that thing just as to “incline” towards something means to lean towards that thing.  To be “inclined” to vote a certain way is to lean toward voting that way.  To be “declined” from the words of a father would be to lean away from those words.  Solomon knew that if his children forgot the wisdom of his words, then they would be tempted to follow the words of another person.  When a child doesn’t value his father’s advice, he will forget it and eventually be drawn to the philosophy and pressure of his peers.  The same is true for the child of God.  When a child of God doesn’t value his Heavenly Father’s advice, he will forget it and eventually be drawn to the philosophy and pressure of the world.  Christians who don’t read and remember the wisdom of God’s word will eventually lean away from the wisdom of Scripture.  Little to no time in the Bible combined with constant influence from the world will result in a worldly-leaning view.  Believers who don’t make Bible-reading a priority will forget it and lean away from it in their thought process.

Finally, Solomon warned his children of FORSAKING wisdom altogether.  
Verse 6, Forsake her not...”
Once a child flirts with the enticing words of fools, he or she is likely to forsake the wise words of a father.  Once a teenage son flirts with the exciting invitation from his buddies to go drinking, he is far more likely to forsake the sound counsel of his father.  Once a teenage daughter flirts with the romantic invitation from her boyfriend to “fool around,” she is far more likely to forsake the wise insight of her father.  Contemplating foolishness is one small and quick step towards embracing that foolishness.  Forgetting parental wisdom leads to leaning away from parental wisdom, which ultimately leads to forsaking parental wisdom.  Again, the same is true for the child of God.  Forgetting Scripture leads to leaning away from Scripture, which ultimately leads to forsaking Scripture altogether.  Once a believer leans away from Scripture, it will be incredibly easy to accept the world’s invitation to forsake Scripture.  This is why it is so important to rehearse and remember Scripture.  Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I HID IN MY HEART, that I might NOT SIN against thee.”

Solomon wanted his children to hear his words so that they might get wisdom. He wanted them to cherish his words so that they might cherish wisdom.  He wanted them to cherish wisdom so that they wouldn’t forsake wisdom and he ultimately wanted them to cherish wisdom because wisdom would cherish, protect and preserve them.  Young person, listening to your parent’s wisdom will keep you out of a lot of unnecessary trouble.  Listen to your parents and keep listening to your parents – they typically know a lot more than your peers.

Child of God, reading and heeding the Bible will keep you out of a lot of unnecessary trouble. Listen to the word of God and keep listening to the word of God.  If you stop hearing the word of God, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll stop heeding the word of God.  If you stop learning the word of God, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll start learning the hard way.  Learn the easy way by listening and always listening to your Heavenly Father.

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