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Staying the Course for 2021
Proverbs 4:20-22 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Do not let them depart from your eyes;
keep them in the midst of your heart.
22 For they are life to him who finds them,
and a healing to all his flesh.
My son, be attentive to my words: The Hebrew (qā·šǎḇ) be attentive means to pay close attention, to listen, give heed, accept information as being true, while usually following it.
Incline your ear to my sayings: The Hebrew (nā·ṭā(h)) incline is when one leans their ear in the speaker’s direction so that they can hear better. This is simply a more literary way of saying be attentive or pay attention. The believer needs to carefully listen to the Father and heed his words.
Do not let them depart from your eyes: Them is a reference to “my words” and “my sayings” in verse 20. This is an appeal to the believer to not lose sight of the words and sayings of the Father. In other words, you would say do not let wisdom, knowledge, discernment, understanding, and thinking ability that the Father has given us out of your sight. Do not let them depart from your eyes (Heb. ʿǎ·yin), which has the sense of paying attention, concentrating on the qualities of God to the exclusion of Satan’s world that surrounds us.
Keep them in the midst of your heart: Hear heart is being used figuratively, which refers to the interior of the believer: such as the desires, affections, emotions (15:15, 30), passions, purposes (11:20; 14:14), center of thinking and reasoning (3:3; 6:21; 7:3), perceptions, wisdom (4:24), knowledge, and the motivating force behind one’s conduct (4:26-27).
For they are life to him who finds them: Again, here them is referring to the words and the sayings, that is, the teachings of the Father. The Hebrew (mā·ṣā(ʾ)) find (discover, uncover) has the sense of discovering something by searching for it.
And a healing to all his flesh: Here his is referring to all who find the teachings of the Father. His flesh both narrowly and broadly refers to the person’s body and his wellbeing as a whole (mental, moral, and physical well-being), respectively.
Solomon is closing this message out, and he needs to get their undivided attention one last time. They need to be actively listening to his every word. Again, he promises life and good health to those that heed the words and sayings. Yes, this section is referring to Solomon and his son but, in the end,, it on a larger scale is referring to the Father and all the believers who heed his words and his says, namely, his teachings.
You can never go wrong by obeying the Father. What he instructs and counsels you through his Word, it is for your best interests and for the improvement of your life now and eventually your eternal life. Do not be like some who get an exaggerated opinion of their own wisdom when they gain a little knowledge. You should never foolishly think you are wiser than God and can direct your lives better than the Father, your Creator. He is infinitely wiser than could ever be imagined. While the world foolishly rejects his wisdom, you should not follow in its folly. The wickedness that you see in the world today is evidence of that foolishness. Your best teacher is the Father; so, respect his words and sayings. If somehow you have gotten off course, find your way back. How? Begin at minimum a 30-minute personal Bible study for each day. Attend all Christian meetings regularly and consistently. If you know what is being studied at the Christian meetings ahead of time, prepare for it by studying the material at home first. Share your faith whenever the opportunity presents itself. Improve your prayer life. God wants to hear from you, not with many words, but heartfelt communication between Father and child.