A Father’s Instruction
Proverbs 4; I die daily devotional.
3 When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
4 Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
5 Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Death could not hold Jesus Christ captive, and that’s a serious claim proven as fact according to the testimony of the gospel (, Acts 2:24, Acts 3:15, Romans 5:17, Romans 8:13, Philippians 3:10, 2 Timothy 1:10, Revelation 1:18, ).
Acts 3:15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
So we can have confidence that Jesus lives and will always be alive forevermore. We can hold fast His words, keep His commandment and live because wisdom is teaching us how. Do you know how to let your heart hold fast the Word of God? Do you know how to keep the commandments of God and live?
For me—when I think about what it means to let my heart hold fast His words as well as keeping His commandments and live—the idea of perfection comes to mind as though attainable by effort, but what is “perfection”? I think the reader, if Christian, might object to this, but to be perfect would mean that the believer in Christ our Lord has become perfect through faith because only Jesus is perfect, and yet, there is only one Jesus Christ; so how can I—or anyone—hold fast, let alone keep, the meaning of perfection and live?
If I were to make the claim—that I hold fast Christ Jesus, and that I keep His commandments and live—what would be judged of me by the human mind?
I think the answer—considering that I’ve provoked people by this idea in the past—might be, “You, nor anyone, can be perfect; that would make you Christ.” And I mean, after all, I’ve sinned; so how can I hold fast the Word of God and keep His commandments? To do so would mean that I can be perfect. I believe the answer is in the faith of God supplied to human will.
Romans 12:3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
God has allotted each of us a measure of faith, by which we are presently using as we continue to draw breath for our lives. And by this gift of grace through faith; I’m taught what it means to hold fast the words of wisdom and keeping the commandments; Jesus lives, and I believe in Jesus. So by using my God given faith to believe in Jesus, therein lies my perfection.
However, if I’m using my God given faith to behave contrary to belief in the gospel, then how can I not be perfectly condemned? I think that might be why faith is what pleases God.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
So by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, I let my heart hold fast His words while keeping His commandments and live. Matthew 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Proverbs 4 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org | biblegateway.com
Matthew Henry (P4-V4) Commentary
II. The instructions he gives them. Observe,
1. How he came by these instructions; he had them from his parents, and teaches his children the same that they taught him, v. 3, 4. Observe,
(1.) His parents loved him, and therefore taught him: I was my father’s son. David had many sons, but Solomon was his son indeed, as Isaac is called (Gen. 17:19) and for the same reason, because on him the covenant was entailed. He was his father’s darling, above any of his children. God had a special kindness for Solomon (the prophet called him Jedidiah, because the Lord loved him, 2 Sa. 12:25), and for that reason David had a special kindness for him, for he was a man after God’s own heart. If parents may ever love one child better than another, it must not be till it plainly appears that God does so. He was tender, and only beloved, in the sight of his mother. Surely there was a manifest reason for making such a distinction when both the parents made it. Now we see how they showed their love; they catechised him, kept him to his book, and held him to a strict discipline. Though he was a prince, and heir-apparent to the crown, yet they did not let him live at large; nay, therefore they tutored him thus. And perhaps David was the more strict with Solomon in his education because he had seen the ill effects of an undue indulgence in Adonijah, whom he had not crossed in any thing (1 Ki. 1:6), as also in Absalom.
(2.) What his parents taught him he teaches others. Observe,
[1.] When Solomon was grown up he not only remembered, but took a pleasure in repeating, the good lessons his parents taught him when he was a child. He did not forget them, so deep were the impressions they made upon him. He was not ashamed of them, such a high value had he for them, nor did he look upon them as the childish things, the mean things, which, when he became a man, a king, he should put away, as a disparagement to him; much less did he repeat them: as some wicked children have done, to ridicule them, and make his companions merry with them, priding himself that he had got clear from grave lessons and restraints.
[2.] Though Solomon was a wise man himself, and divinely inspired, yet, when he was to teach wisdom, he did not think it below him to quote his father and to make use of his words. Those that would learn well, and teach well, in religion, must not affect new-found notions and new-coined phrases, so as to look with contempt upon the knowledge and language of their predecessors; if we must keep to the good old way, why should we scorn the good old words? Jer. 6:16.
[3.] Solomon, having been well educated by his parents, thought himself thereby obliged to give his children a good education, the same that his parents had given him; and this is one way in which we must requite our parents for the pains they took with us, even by showing piety at home, 1 Tim. 5:4. They taught us, not only that we might learn ourselves, but that we might teach our children, the good knowledge of God, Ps. 78:6. And we are false to a trust if we do not; for the sacred deposit of religious doctrine and law was lodged in our hands with a charge to transmit it pure and entire to those that shall come after us, 2 Tim. 2:2.
[4.] Solomon enforces his exhortations with the authority of his father David, a man famous in his generation upon all accounts. Be it taken notice of, to the honour of religion, that the wisest and best men in every age have been most zealous, not only for the practice of it themselves, but for the propagating of it to others; and we should therefore continue in the things which we have learned, knowing of whom we have learned them, 2 Tim. 3:14.