Proverbs 4:1-4 (ESV)
Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
 for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching.
 When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
 he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.
Proverbs 4 is the counsel of a father to a son regarding the pursuit of wisdom. Here in this Proverb we have a father urging his son to chase after wisdom, insight and righteousness. We need to receive this as God’s instructions to all of us. God wants all His children to embrace wisdom. We are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ, whether we are male or female. We are sons with the full rights of inheritance that first born sons receive.
Quite often we can be like rebellious adolescent sons who believe that they know better than their fathers. Like the Prodigal son we want what we want and we want it now. And like a loving father, God offers us much better than what we ask for.
What is much better is insight (verse 1), wisdom (verse 5), instruction (verse 13), righteousness (verse 18). One does not need to be a young person to benefit from such instruction. We live in a culture that values money, fame, popularity, reputation etc. It is a great act of non conformity to the world to take what Proverbs 4 offers and value it like it says we should. As Christians however we believe that what God says is better than anything anyone else may say.
It is better to have wisdom and poverty. It is better to have wisdom and sickness. It is better to have wisdom and loneliness. In the Proverbs wisdom is quite often to be taken as Jesus Christ and we can see that in this chapter. Verse 5 – wisdom is to be chased after and greatly desired. Verse 6 – wisdom will keep you, she will guard you. Verse 8 – wisdom will honour you if you embrace her. Verse 9 – wisdom will bestow on you a beautiful crown. Jesus is our wisdom – I Corinthians 1:18-27.