Tag Archive | Guarding the Heart

Proverbs 4 – Path of the Wicked

Proverbs 4:14-19 concerns avoiding the path of the wicked.

Proverbs 4:14-19 (ESV)

14  Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15  Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
16  For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17  For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18  But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.

This passage gives us several methods of avoiding the wicked path.  We are to avoid it at all costs.  We aren’t to go up to the edge and peer over.  Nor are we to walk along just slightly off the beaten path.  Nor are we to take “shortcuts” utilizing the path of the wicked along our walk.

Avoiding the Path of the Wicked

  • Do not enter the path of the wicked – Proverbs 4:14
  • Do not walk in the way of evil – Proverbs 4:14
  • Avoid it – Proverbs 4:15
  • Do not go on it – Proverbs 4:15
  • Turn away from it – Proverbs 4:15
  • Pass on – Proverbs 4:15
  • Deep darkness – Proverbs 4:19
  • Do not know over what they stumble – Proverbs 4:19

Notice how similar Proverbs 4:14-19 is to Psalms 1:1 and Proverbs 1:15-16?

Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

Proverbs 1:15-16 (ESV)

15 my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.

The Lord takes seriously our sinful human tendency to be persuaded to evil by those we associate with.  That is why we have the Bible full of warnings like this to avoid the path of the wicked.  We also need to not become complacent in thinking that we aren’t hanging around with wicked people so this doesn’t affect us.  Some companions that many forget about are the companions on TV, in the music industry (both secular and “Christian”), computers, the characters in books, and the characters in movies.  These companions have much more influence than many realize.  Often it amazes me how children are allowed to watch and read about circumstances that no one would allow them to participate in real life.

“The sins of others leave some kind of stain upon the conscience. I question whether you can read a newspaper and scan the story of a murder or a robbery, or survey with more distant glance in any book of history the sin of your fellow men, without being in a degree injured therewith.”

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Charles Spurgeon

 

As we get closer to Proverbs 4:23 concerning guarding or keeping your heart we see how avoiding the path of the wicked is important to the idea of guarding your heart.

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Guard Your Heart series

 


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Proverbs 4 – Wisdom

Let us look at an over view of Proverbs 4:5-13.

In Proverbs 4:5-13 the instructions are to “get wisdom”.

Proverbs 4:5  Get wisdom; get insight;

Proverbs 4:7 …Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.

Proverbs 4:11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; …

Wisdom is referred to in a feminine sense as something very desirable.

This is what Wisdom will do:

  • Keep you” – Proverbs 4:6
  • Guard you” – Proverbs 4:6
  • Exalt you” – Proverbs 4:8
  • Honor you” – Proverbs 4:8
  • Place on your head a graceful garland” – Proverbs 4:9
  • Bestow on you a beautiful crown.” – Proverbs 4:9
  • When you walk, your step will not be hampered” – Proverbs 4:12
  • If you run, you will not stumble.” – Proverbs 4:12
  • Is your life” – Proverbs 4:13

Now we can do a whole Bible Study on Wisdom but just a summary is I will do right now.  In this passage Wisdom is used as an analogy to a  female.  However, we are later told more about Wisdom. Who is Wisdom?

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (ESV)
30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.
31 Therefore, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Wisdom is Christ.  Let’s read each of the above and see that Christ does all that the passage in Proverbs says Wisdom will do.

Christ will:

  • Keep you” – Proverbs 4:6 / Revelation 3:10
  • Guard you” – Proverbs 4:6 / 2 Thessalonians 3:3
  • Exalt you” – Proverbs 4:8 / 1 Peter 5:14
  • Honor you” – Proverbs 4:8 / Romans 2:6-8
  • Place on your head a graceful garland” – Proverbs 4:9 / 1 Corinthians 9:24-25
  • Bestow on you a beautiful crown.” – Proverbs 4:9 / Isaiah 28:5
  • When you walk, your step will not be hampered” – Proverbs 4:12 / Psalms 18:35-36
  • If you run, you will not stumble.” – Proverbs 4:12 / Jude 24
  • Is your life” – Proverbs 4:13 / Colossians 3:4

 

So our goal is to Get Wisdom, Get Christ.

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Guard Your Heart series

 


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Proverbs 4:23

Let’s start by reading Proverbs 4:23 in context.

Proverbs 4 (ESV)

1 Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight,

2 for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching.

3 When I was a son with my father,  tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,

4 he taught me and said to me,  “Let your heart hold fast my words;  keep my commandments, and live.

5  Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;  love her, and she will guard you.

7  The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.

8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.

9 She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

10  Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many.

11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.

12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble.

13  Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

14  Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.

15 Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.

16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.

17 For they eat the bread of wickedness  and drink the wine of violence.

18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

19  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.

20  My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.

21  Let them not escape from your sight;  keep them within your heart.

22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.

25  Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.

26  Ponder the path of your feet;  then all your ways will be sure.

27  Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

 

Notice something missing?  The word “guard” is not there.  As far as I can find the NIV is the only version that uses guard.  The other translations use the word “keep“.

So what might Proverbs 4:23 mean by “keep” or “guard your heart“?

Look back at Proverbs 4:1 “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight,“.  The chapter begins with a Father speaking to his son.  Proverbs 4 verses 10 and 20 reference “My son“.  Proverbs chapter 5 also begins in a similar manner “My son, be attentive to my wisdom;  incline your ear to my understanding,”.  So obviously this verse is not directed specifically to young ladies as many might imply.  Nevertheless the general principles of the verse does apply to all believers.  But it isn’t particularly in reference to guarding your heart in relationships, unless you are speaking of your relationship with Lady Wisdom (Proverbs 4:5-10).

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Guard Your Heart series

 

 


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Guarding Your Heart

What does the saying “Guard your Heart” mean to you?

A lot of that may depend on your age.  When I was young (a long, long time ago), I don’t think I ever heard that expression.  But often today you will hear that phrase tossed around usually directed toward our youth and especially toward our young ladies. Most often in the ideology of “guarding your heart” during relationships in dating.

Where does that phrase originate?

Proverbs 4:23 has the expression “guard your heart“.  Now probably all of us have read that verse many times especially since Proverbs is a book of the Bible that is easy to read and is full of essentially sound bites of information.  Sound bites is about all of the Bible, or even any reading, many today do.  But unless you are younger, a part of homeschooling or a part of the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” generation you may not have thought much about that phrase beyond the level of any other verse.

What might surprise you is this verse is one of many verses in the Bible that are often taken out of context and given meaning beyond what was intended in the Bible and by the Lord.

Take some time reading Proverbs 4:23 and we’ll look closer at it later.  You might be surprised. 😉

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Guard Your Heart series

 


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