Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Walking in Wisdom – Wisdom in Temptation

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Week Five – Day 4.  Thursday, February 16, 2017wk05d04


Read Proverbs 4:20-27   SOAP Proverbs 4:23

PROVERBS 4:20-27 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.

O – Instructions for staying away from evil:


  • Be attentive to instruction: be willing to learn – from the Word, from wise people, from pastor
  • Incline my ear to instruction: The Hebrew meaning is to “lean over and listen closely….”
  • Keep God’s word in my heart: memorize it, meditate on it, let it permeate me
  • Keep my heart with vigilance: “guard my heart”, be watchful for those things that would destroy or damage my heart – my inner being
  • Keep my eyes “forward” with a “straight gaze” – not lose sight of what God has for me
  • “Ponder the path of my feet”: think about where my path, my journey, is going – evaluate the path of my life
  • Turn my foot from evil: walk away from what I know to be wrong


  • Don’t let God’s words escape from my sight: don’t neglect the word
  • Put away crooked speech and devious talk – self-explanatory!
  • Do not swerve to the right or the left – don’t get sidetracked

It was interesting to note that the “guard” in v. 21 is a little different shade of meaning than the “guard” in v. 23.  To “guard” instruction (v. 21) is to keep or observe, such as keeping the commands that we know are in the Word.  To “guard” our hearts (v. 23) is to watch over, to keep, or preserve, as in something precious or worth keeping.  It is to be on watch – vigiliant.  With all vigilance gave the idea (from the Hebrew wording  “of all” – totality, whole – as in “keep watch over my heart with everything I got…”

A – What we think about or look at tends to influence us. What are some ways you’re guarding your eyes, your mind and instead focusing on Jesus?  What do I need to guard my heart from?  I need to be aware of the things that would make me swerve “from the right or the left”, or away from what God has for me.

  • My reading? Are the books and magazines that I am reading wholesome – or encouraging my spiritual growth?  Do they cause my mind to wander to areas that are not healthy?
  • My watching of movies or shows? Are they wholesome – or distracting?  Do they cause my mind to wander to things that are NOT wholesome?
  • My time online? Is it taking away from something else that I should be doing – or is it enhancing my life?  Do I “wander” aimlessly – or specifically search for something that I really need?
  • The people that I spend time with? Do they encourage me to grow spiritually – or drag me down?   Do our conversations edify God – and encourage each other?
  • My spending habits? Do I use our money in ways that are frugal and thrifty – without being stingy and selfish?
  • My health and eating habits? Am I eating healthily, planning healthy foods without being excessive or obsessive?  Is my goal to be healthy – or something else?
  • Reliving the past? Do I dwell on things that I cannot do anything about – now?  Do I spend time in the “I wish I had….” mentality?  Or – do I live in the present – seeking to learn from the past, but not dwelling on it?
  • Am I so “heavenly minded that I am of no earthly good?” Am I practical in my spiritual growth – and encourage that in others?   Do I do what I do with the right motives – or for a pat on the back?

It is interesting that in my life, now, there are no obvious “vices” – but more heart attitudes.  But, in all, I need to recognize heart motives, heart attitudes, the temptation or risk of being slack or less diligent.  I need to be vigilant in my heart guarding, so that my life reflects what God is doing.  And – to let God work in the darker corners of my heart.

P – Father God – work in me.  Search out those shady corners of my heart, and sweep them clean.  Help me to be vigilant and watchful in my attitudes and actions.  Help me to discern YOUR ways – so that I may walk in them.  May my life reflect Your love, Your forgiveness, Your cleansing power in me.  Help me to keep my eyes on You, and my heart set on You.

Study notes:

Incline your ear (v. 20) – Heb “incline your ear.” The verb הַט (hat) is the Hiphil imperative from נָטָה (natah, Hiphil: “to turn to; to incline”). The idiom “to incline the ear” gives the picture of “lean over and listen closely.”

Guard ( v.   ) – Heb “more than all guarding.” This idiom means “with all vigilance.” The construction uses the preposition מִן (min) to express “above; beyond,” the word “all” and the noun “prison; guard; act of guarding.”

Guard ( v. 21) – shamar- to keep, guard, observe, give hee

d, to keep, treasure up, observe, celebrate

Guard (v. 23) = natsar –  to guard, watch, watch over, keep, preserve, guard with fidelity,

With all – (v. 23) – kol – all, whole, totality, everything

Heart – (V. 23) – “Heart” (v. 23) usually means “mind” (3:3; 6:32a; 7:7b; et al.), but it has a much broader meaning that includes the emotions (15:15, 30), the will (11:20; 14:14), and even the whole inner person (3:5).[74] Here the affections are particularly in view. With verses 20-22, verse 23 helps us see that the life in view is not some prize that one gains all at once. It is rather a growing spiritual vitality that empowers the wise person and enables him or her to reach out and help others effectively (cf. Mark 7:15-23; Luke 6:45; John 4:14 and especially 7:38). One’s words (v. 24) reflect his or her heart’s affections. We must be single-minded in our pursuit of wisdom (v. 25; cf. Ps. 101:3; 119:37).

“A Mighty Fortress” (Kristy Nockels) –

Our God is, a consuming fire,
A burning holy Flame, with glory and freedom
Our God is, the only righteous judge,
Ruling over us with kindness and wisdom

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You

A mighty fortress is our God
A sacred refuge is Your Name
Your Kingdom is unshakable
With You forever we will reign

Our God is, jealous for His own
None could comprehend, His love and His mercy
Our God is exalted on His throne
High above the heavens
Forever He’s worthy…

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You

We will keep our eyes on You
We will keep our eyes on You
So we can set our hearts on You
Lord we will set our hearts on You!


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