Home » On Proverbs » A Father’s Instruction – On Proverbs 4:1-9

A Father’s Instruction – On Proverbs 4:1-9

1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; 2 for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law.”

Solomon urges with repetition the value of obeying a father’s teaching, including his own in his fatherly/kingly role.
In Proverbs 4 we see why he is so persistent about the reader to do so. He has been brought up by his own father to honour wisdom and to obey him.

3 When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 he also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live. 5 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.”
From a young age he remembers his father, King David, taking time to teach him the way to live rightly.

What I find interesting is that both Solomon and David say to keep “my laws” and “my words”, referring to themselves, instead of, “Follow God’s laws.”
Is it because they are so sure of their discernment of God’s laws that their rules are similar to His ones? Look at the language – “keep my commandments and live” – one would assume they are basing their laws on God’s laws. If not, they would be giving false hope and promises for blessing from God.
The ideas of a father taking on the responsibility of teaching his children, and their obedience to him, is throughout Proverbs. Is there sense in following this model?


Solomon has quoted his dad in this passage, and we can see similarities in their words. He remembers his dad exhorting him, “Get wisdom! Get understanding,” and then explaining why Solomon should do so.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.
8 Exalt her, and she will promote you; she will bring you honour, when you embrace her. 9 She will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.” A question arises, surely love is the principal thing? Well the problem with supplanting wisdom is that you lose whom you are searching for. If there is no wisdom and just love, what kind of love is that and who is it directed at? At the same time, we are to love our God. You can’t disregard either virtues.
King David held wisdom and understanding in high esteem and spoke much of their blessings. This is clear at least. His search for God led him to declare this. It was one of the many things he must of told his son about life.
It certainly had a big impression on Solomon; he wrote a book on wisdom. Thanks to God that he did. Amen

Pondering: What things has your dad or mum said to you that made a big difference to you in your walk with God?

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