The proverbs of Solomon carry so much practical and helpful information, I find it is extremely fruitful to glean its depths for ongoing inspiration and godly motivation. My personal practice is to continually review its content each month. Since there are thirty one chapters, it’s easy to review a chapter a day, doubling up as needed on months with less than thirty one days.
In our ongoing topic of vigilance and watchfulness in righteous actions, this passage toward the end of the fourth chapter (Proverbs 4:24-27) provides some helpful admonitions to ensure we are staying on the right path.
“Don’t let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don’t let your lips talk deviously.”
This wise advice from Solomon is easily nested as a further description of the ninth commandment, to not bear false witness against anyone. We should always be ensuring that our speech remains truthful and honest at all times.
“Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead.”
When we are distracted from our main focus, it is easy to get led astray. Instead, as we keep our eyes on the goal before us, we will be much less likely to deviate from the purpose that God has called us to.
Philippians 3:12-14 – “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Messiah Yeshua first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Messiah Yeshua, is calling us.”
“Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.”
Many times, where we run into problems in our walk is that we move forward impulsively without due consideration or prayer ahead of time. In those times we can find ourselves quickly removed from the path that God has called us. Better to take our time and carefully consider our options and responses ahead of time. Doing so provides the confidence that we are continually moving in the right direction in the way God has established.
“Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.”
Similar to the admonition to keep our gaze fixed straight ahead is the further prompting to ensure our actual progress stays on track, even if we may be temporarily distracted in our focus. Whatever may gain our immediate attention “off-path,” we should be sure our steps remain “on-path,” and to not mindlessly drift toward evil actions.
Overall, each of these actions requires a sense of vigilance and discipline regarding the monitoring of our own behaviors. At the beginning of the passage, Solomon provides a specific key that helps us maintain this sense of vigilance.
Proverbs 4:20-21 – “My son, pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. Don’t lose sight of them; keep them within your heart.”
Just as Solomon encouraged his son to follow his wisdom, we can do so with the wisdom of our Father if we also don’t lose sight of his instruction, his torah, by keeping it within our heart. This is, after all, the goal and fulfillment of the New Covenant.
Jeremiah 31:33 – “Instead, this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days” – Yahweh’s declaration. “I will put my teaching within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
God’s people are those who have his teaching, his torah, within their hearts. This is how we are enabled to remain on the path he has laid out for us, when we are vigilant in guarding that which he has graciously provided. Only then can his purpose be established in each generation.
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