Proverbs 4:21-27
Prov 4:21 (KJB)
Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
Here Solomon is counseling his son to always keep the words of wisdom before his eyes. This means we are to always to judge matters through the eyes of wisdom. We are to look at the issues of life through our redeemed eyes and not through the lust of the eyes of flesh, because that is where we always get into trouble and sink into sin. To look with our eyes means we make a spiritual assessment of our situation or what is before us according to the spiritual knowledge God has given us in the Scriptures. This is why Solomon tells his son to keep them in the midst of his heart. He wants the wisdom of God to be central in his sonís life and allow his entire life, including decision making, which gives us direction in our spiritual walk. One wrong decision can cause us to wander off the path of understanding and it may take a lot longer to return to that path than it was to wander. The wisdom of God must be central in every believerís life.
Prov 4:22 (KJB)
For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
True words of wisdom brings life to those who embrace it. Those words which do not contain wisdom and are contrary to what God would have us to do, could be death unto us and definitely they are spiritual death to those who are unsaved. A believer can take wrong advice which can cause them to stray unto physical death. Samson was a good example of this. He wound up captured by his enemies which gives us a picture that if we stray, we can become captured by the enemy of sin. If we avoid the pitfalls of sin, it not only keeps our spirits clean and avoids quenching the Holy Spirit, it is also a savior to our flesh. Our physical bodies also reap the benefits of living a life of obedience unto the Lord. When we stray onto the highway of sin, our bodies normally take the brunt of our unwise decisions and if our bodies are injured, it may cause a hindrance in the ministry the Lord has given to us. It is better to walk obediently and in wisdom before the Lord than to engage our fleshly desires.
Prov 4:23 (KJB)
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Keep - Guard
Issues - Exiting or (figurative) water pouring out of a spring
Here we have an admonition to guard our heart from the sin pitfalls of life. It is not speaking of a physical heart but the spiritual heart of man where all the issues or actions the person takes emanates from. The heart of the unsaved man will always devise plans which are contrary to the wisdom of God and that is why wickedness flows from the heart of unsaved man as water flows from a fountain. Solomon is counseling us to guard our hearts so that we will not follow in the pernicious ways of the unsaved man. The issues of life which emanate from the redeemed man conform to the ways of the Lord, which causes us to live a spiritual life before the Lord. It is a life that intentionally avoids sin, as Jobís testimony was. (Job 1:1 KJV) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
Jobís testimony was that he eschewed evil. Eschew means to avoid habitually. When we make it a habit to avoid sin, we are making it a habit to walk in the wisdom of God simultaneously. This principle is also given in Ephesians.
(Eph 4:22 KJV) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
(Eph 4:24 KJV) And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
As a Christian puts off the old ways and replaces the old habits with those of the new man, or the redeemed man, then that allows the true issues of the redeemed heart to flow through. Sin hinders ministry but when we eschew sin, we will then allow the spiritual wisdom to flow from our hearts causing us to live a solid Christian life. The things of this world become dimmer while the things of the Lord become brighter and a steady part of our life unto the point it is our life.
Prov 4:24 (KJB)
Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
Froward mouth - Fraudulent or deceitful speech
Perverse - Crooked, deviation, or depart
Here the Bible counsels us to refrain from any type of speech which may deviate from the wisdom of God. If we are walking in the spirit, then out of our heart will flow proper speech but if we are walking in the flesh, we have the ability to deviate from the redeemed mouth we are supposed to have. The evil speech described in this verse is a symptom of the heart. If we are truly walking in the spirit, we will not have speech which is deceitful nor departing from the truth. This is especially important in ministry. If we are teaching the Bible and we are not adding any of our own ideas to it, then we will produce speech which will be glorifying to God but if we mix the Biblical teachings with worldly systems such as philosophy or Gnosticism, then we will be departing from the pure teachings of Scripture and will be creating deceitful speech which will cause others to go astray. Another form of speech which the Christian must avoid is speech with double meanings. Worldly speech is replete with innuendos which people can take in two ways and we must always avoid these. We must be firm and singular in our delivery of Biblical truth or biblical counsel and there must never be speech which could cause someone to stray.
Prov 4:25 (KJB)
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
Here is counsel to look at something the way it needs to be looked at. We are being told to make sure that when we make an assessment, it must be true and no back door can be left open for us to justify a sinful plunge. This verse tells us to make proper judgments according to what is before our eyes. We must never justify a sin in hopes that we can partake of it. Let me give a straightforward example. If a woman or man friend is engaging in sexual activity and we find out about it, we must never make a justification on their part simply because they are our friends, especially with the thought in the back of our minds that maybe they will engage some activity with us. This is where life as a Christian becomes tough. We see the sin with our eyes right before us and we must not shirk our duty and we must be up front with our friend and tell them they are in peril of hell. If they walk away from us and refuse the counsel, then we have done our duty. If they heed the counsel, then a soul has been won if they become saved. This verse is an admonition to us that we must never justify a sin but must condemn it, no matter what the consequences are.
Prov 4:26 (KJB)
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
Ponder - Prepare, weigh, or make level
Not only are we to watch with our eyes the sins of others so they will not infect us, we are also to constantly watch ourselves. We must ponder our ways and weigh them against the Scriptures to see if we are walking circumspectly. If we are walking according to the wisdom of God, then our paths will be established. They will be established according to the ways of the Lord. We walk in spiritual safety when we walk in the Lordís ways. We must ponder every move or decision we make because one wrong move or decision could be the catalyst into a life opposite the way of the Lord. Do not only look at the short term consequences, but always ponder the long term, which is the big picture. There is always a ripple effect to every decision we make, that is a fact of life.
Prov 4:27 (KJB)
Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
(Josh 1:7 KJV) Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. Joshua was given this counsel directly from God. This means when we have established truth in our life, that is, from our salvation and then from the Scriptures, we are never to add or subtract from them any type of philosophy or personal beliefs. The Scriptures stand alone and are sufficient to keep the believer in this life. Whenever we begin to add spurious meanings to the Scriptures, to please us or someone else, we are then going to the left or right. Just as we are to assess things directly and head on with our eyes, we are also to see Scripture as the only authority for living the Christian life. If we add or subtract any meanings to Scripture which are not compatible, then we are allowing our foot to walk in evil. When we hold the Scriptures as complete and sufficient for our spiritual walk, we are then removing our feet from evil. No amount of worldly philosophy will ever make the Scriptures more authoritative, in fact, trying to add meanings to the Scriptures that are not there, only dilutes the true meaning and will send us off in the wrong direction. This verse also serves as a warning to resist the temptation of even a small sin in our life because a small sin can erupt into a large sin and may get us into a life of addiction to some type of sin. Never underestimate the power that sin has over the flesh.