Proverbs 4 (Part 1) / Read
Before jumping into today’s reading, spend a moment in prayer with the Lord. Thank him for the opportunity to hear from him and to know him better. Invite him to make clear what it is he has for you in his Word and posture yourself before him as a learner. Ask for the faith to put into practice whatever it is that you sense him saying to you.
Tomorrow we will dive deeper into the content of this passage, but today we begin by observing the position that the author has taken with regard to the path of wisdom - that of both student and teacher, of both son and father.
“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction… for I too was a son to my father [and] he taught me.” (vv. 1-4, emphasis added)
The author was giving away what had been given to him. How had it been given? How had the author learned the wise way in life? Surely it wasn’t through his father’s lectures alone, but in the day-to-day circumstances of life. Surely his father counseled him as he went, by being available for questions from the son or by stepping in when necessary to guide and instruct.
Take some time to consider the following:
Who are you learning from in life? Who is not simply offering you more information and slick phrases for living better - rather, who is offering their life to you as a living example worth imitating?
What is your relationship like with the person/people you identified above? To what degree is it as close, authentic and loving as a parent and a child?
Now look at your life in the opposite direction. Who is following you? Who looks to you as a life worth imitating? To what degree are you making yourself available to give away what you’ve learned about leading a healthy and productive life?
In the Bible, this process of learning and teaching, following and leading is not unique to finding the wisdom of Proverbs. Jesus commissioned his disciples to make more disciples by “teaching them to obey everything [he] commanded them.” (Matthew 28:20) The Apostle Paul, after a life-changing encounter with Jesus, would later write to the Church in Corinth, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1)
Who is/are your spiritual parent(s)? Who is showing you how to become like Jesus? Are you close enough with anyone to accept both the easy words and the hard words that come along with real learning?
Are you living a life worth imitating as a Christian? This doesn’t mean living perfectly, but it does mean living more and more into the love and grace of Jesus so that others can see God’s influence in your life.
Take a moment to identity what it is from today’s scripture and reflection questions that is most grabbing your attention. What do you sense God saying to you based on what you identified? What will your response be to what he is saying?