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Proverbs (Part 041) - Pro 4:10-12

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10. Pro 4:10 - "Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many."

A. Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings;
i. Solomon had already repeated exhorted his son to hear his words (Pro 1:5; Pro 1:8; Pro 4:1).
ii. Hear v. - 4. To exercise the auditory function intentionally; to give ear, hearken, listen.
iii. Now he becomes more earnest by using the emphatic O in his exhortation.
a. O int. (n.) - 1. Standing before a n. in the vocative relation. 2. In other connexions, or without construction, expressing, according to intonation, various emotions, as appeal, entreaty, surprise, pain, lament, etc.
b. This should impress upon us the importance and urgency of listening to the word of God.
iv. We need to not only listen to God's word, but also receive his sayings.
a. Receive v. - I. 1. a. trans. To take in one's hand, or into one's possession (something held out or offered by another); to take delivery of (a thing) from another, either for oneself or for a third party. d. To take from another by hearing or listening; to attend, listen, or give heed to.
b. Saying n. - 1. The action of say v.1; utterance, enunciation; recitation. 2. Something that is said; now chiefly, something that has been said by a (more or less distinguished) person, an apophthegm, a dictum.
c. Whereas we are passive in receiving eternal life (Eph 2:1), we are active in receiving God's sayings.
d. We must be prepared to hear them and take delivery into our mind and heart what is being taught.
e. Just as Solomon had before exhorted his son to hear his wisdom, he had also before exhorted him to receive his words (Pro 1:3; Pro 2:1).
f. He is now emphatically charging him to do so by saying O my son.
g. When children of God don't listen to the first and second admonition, the preacher must get more emphatic.

B. and the years of thy life shall be many.
i. Here is a promise attached to the exhortation to hear and receive God's sayings.
ii. He who listens to and humbly accepts the words of God will be blessed with long life.
iii. As it was with the exhortation, so the promise of long life to those who keep God's commandments was likewise previously given by Solomon (Pro 3:1-2).
iv. So if we want to live a long, peaceful life, the prescription is hearkening and receiving God's word.
v. Doing so will invite God's blessing into our lives and will prevent the natural consequences of sin from shortening them.

11. Pro 4:11 - "I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths."

A. I have taught thee in the way of wisdom;
i. Notice that Solomon had already taught (past tense) his son in the way of wisdom.
ii. Yet he exhorted him in the previous verse to hear and receive his sayings (Pro 4:10).
iii. We can learn a few lessons from this.
a. A father's job of teaching his children (especially when they are still under his roof) is never done (Pro 22:6).
b. The same is true of a pastor (1Th 2:11; Eph 4:11-13).
c. Just because you've taught something before doesn't mean your children (or church members) heard and received it (Eph 3:2; 2Th 2:5; Heb 12:5).
d. Thus the need for repetition (2Pe 3:1; Jud 1:5; Php 3:1).
e. Current teaching builds upon previous teaching (Mat 28:19-20; Heb 6:1-3).
iv. Notice also that Solomon taught his son in the way of wisdom.
a. He didn't focus his teaching in the way of...
(i) sports
(ii) trivia
(iii) hunting and fishing
(iv) recreation
(v) mechanical skills
b. He didn't even focus his teaching in the way of secular education.
c. Any of these things are fine to teach your children (some more than others).
d. However, Solomon's most important focus was to teach his son in the way of wisdom.
e. Christian fathers should follow his lead and focus mainly on training their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

B. I have led thee in right paths.
i. Notice that Solomon did not just instruct his son verbally in the ways of wisdom; he led him in right paths.
ii. He taught by example as well as by precept.
iii. A pastor must also lead by example (1Ti 4:12).
iv. In order to teach your children in the way of wisdom (making good decisions), you must show them how to do it by making wise decisions yourself.
v. As the old saying goes, "actions speak louder than words."
vi. You can't expect your children to "do as I say, not as I do."

12. Pro 4:12 - "When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble."

A. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened;
i. Here is the result of being taught in the way of wisdom by precept and example (Pro 4:11) and of listening and receiving it (Pro 4:10).
ii. When it's time for the child to start his life's journey, he will not have a difficult road ahead of him (Pro 22:6).
iii. He will not be limited and constricted by foolish decisions that he made in the past.
a. Straitened ppl. adj. - 1. Contracted, narrowed; insufficiently spacious. d. straitened circumstances: inadequate means of living, poverty. Also straitened income, means.
b. The prodigal son's steps were straitened by foolish decisions that he made which restricted him greatly (Luk 15:11-16).
iv. The man that has been well instructed and has received it with meekness will be able to walk in freedom and prosperity within the bounds of God's law.
v. He will not be limited by the consequences of foolish decisions.

B. and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.
i. Not only will he be able to walk freely and unhindered, he will also be able to run.
ii. He will be able to see clearly to avoid potholes or rocks in the road that would cause him to stumble.
iii. Stumble v. - 1. intr. To miss one's footing, or trip over an obstacle, in walking or running, so as to fall or be in danger of falling. 2. fig. in various uses. a. To trip morally. b. To make a slip in speech or action; to blunder through inadvertence or unpreparedness.
iv. He will be able to run the race that is set before him and not fall into sin (1Co 9:24-27).
v. A fool who trips and breaks his leg in his youth because of foolish decisions is going to have a hard time running the remainder of the race without falling behind.