Life is a pathway and the Book of Proverbs has many observations about the nature of this pathway and the challenges to those who walk upon it.  Of course, the fact is that everyone is walking on it!  Today’s chapter (4) has much to say about the responsibility of fathers to give instruction and guidance to their children as they find their pathway in life.  Solomon reflects on the guidance he received.

    “When I was a son with my father tender … he taught me … Let your heart hold fast my words … and live. Get wisdom, get insight … do not forsake her and she will keep you; love her and she will guard you.  The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly … “ [v.3-8]

    Let’s try to understand the full meaning of insight.  In the 400 year old A V version it uses the word “understanding” – yet in the A V there are 7 different Hebrew words all translated mostly as ‘understanding.’- But our ESV version uses ‘insight’ for this Hebrew word biynah. Our Dictionary defines insight as “A perception of the inner nature of a thing” – we could say, the knowing the true reality of what a thing means.

    With wisdom of this nature, “the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” [v.18].   There is a growth pattern in our lives in developing wisdom, so that it is a true insight, a real inward vision, into the meaning of our lives before God. 

    Solomon builds up this chapter to a climax of thoughtful perception. “My son, be attentive to my words … keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.  Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life … Let your eyes look directly forward … Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” [v.20-23,25-26]  

     How very much to the point is that advice today as we are confronted by a flood, one could say a tsunami, of fleshly human ways, not only in words, but so often before our eyes every day. May our eyes, especially “the eyes of our hearts’ [Eph. 1 v.18] be fixed on him more and more then our feet will not stray from “the path.”

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