We live in a day when it seems everyone is a victim and few are willing to grow up, take responsibility for their actions, and accept the consequences of their choices. Perhaps I am in the minority, but when people riot, pillage and destroy the possessions and lives of others—justice demands the consequences should be swift and deliberate! This may come as a revelation for some, but if you choose the path of violence you will more than likely die in a pool of your own blood [“for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword” – Matthew 25:52].
In the closing verses of Proverbs 4 Solomon challenges his son to grow up, exercise maturity and take responsibility for decisions in life. Solomon suggests four areas for which a man must assume responsibility and protect himself: His Heart (4:23), Mouth (4:24), Eyes (4:25) and Path (4:26-27).
Proverbs 4:23-27 – “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”
Proverbs 4:23 presents us with one of the great challenges found in the Book of Proverbs—Protecting our heart; guarding our thoughts and harnessing our emotions.
Proverbs 4:23 – “Keep [guard; set a watch] thy heart [mind and thoughts] with all diligence [guard standing at his post]; for out of it [heart] are the issues of life.”
Proverbs 4:24 exhorts us to rein in our tongue.
Proverbs 4:24 – “Put away [remove; eschew; turn aside] from thee a froward [perverse; twisted] mouth [speech], and perverse [crooked; deviant] lips put far [remove; distance] from thee.”
To be blunt—Shut your mouth. I know that blunt summary might risk offending someone; however, I am not the first to observe that God gave us one tongue, but two ears! We would be wise to listen twice as much as we talk! By the way, there is a benefit that comes with holding your tongue:
Proverbs 17:28 – “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”
Protect your eyes is a third area of concern in today’s devotional. In a day that media dominates our lives and provoking images surround us, Solomon’s exhortation to his son to guard his eyes is one we should heed.
Proverbs 4:25 – “Let thine eyes [countenance; sight; longing] look [behold; consider;] right on [forward; straight], and let thine eyelids look straight [be right; upright] before thee.”
The psalmist challenges us with the same principle for guarding our “eye gate”.
Psalm 101:3 – “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.”
The fourth and final exhortation in today’s devotion is a summary of one’s whole life: “the path of thy feet” (4:26-27).
Proverbs 4:26-27 – “Ponder [consider; weigh] the path [the way; going] of thy feet [steps; journey], and let all thy ways [course; journey in life] be established [fixed; firm; right]. 27 Turn [incline; morally turn; pervert; turn aside] not to the right hand nor to the left: remove [eschew; turn aside; depart] thy foot [step; journey] from evil [wickedness].”
I urge you to accept Solomon’s challenge, consider the consequences of life’s choices and set your heart, eyes and affections upon the eternal.
Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”