In Proverbs 4:1-5, the great Proverb writer and Proverb compiler, King Solomon is, as he often does, imparting wisdom. Speaking to either his literal children or perhaps to all of Israel, he said, “Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.” For this article, I simply want to make three observations from these verses.
Don’t forget to appreciate your elders. I am not limiting this to mean strictly the shepherds of our congregation, (though we should be constantly appreciating them and their work) but also all of the aged individuals among us. Solomon thought back to his own father, David with fondness in this section. We too ought to never forget those who have laid the way for generations to come and think of them with fondness.
Don’t forget to appreciate their wisdom. He opened up in verse one by saying, “hear, my children, the instruction of a father.” He also thought back to when David taught him as a child. In 1 Kings 12, Rehoboam decided to spurn the counsel of the elders and opted to heed the advice of his younger peers. This led him to make horrible decisions for the kingdom of Israel which ultimately helped in dividing it. As a young person, I have to remember that those with more grey hairs than me have seemingly endless experience that has accumulated to an abundance of wisdom. I and others would be wise to heed their wisdom.
Don’t forget to appreciate divine wisdom. David told Solomon, as said in verse 4, “Let your heart retain my words; keep my commands, and live.” Where do we think that David got his words from? As the great Psalmist and man after God’s own heart, he was merely repeating what His God had told him. The Word of God is said to be able to make us “complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:17). Therefore, while the wisdom of the aged should be sought after, what we should ultimately be hungering and thirsting after are the Words of the all-wise God of heaven and earth (Deut. 8:3).-Brennan Hooper