Acquire Wisdom, Keep Your Heart Pure

Acquire Wisdom, Keep Your Heart Pure

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Brent Pollard

Solomon begins chapter four by recalling his childhood and his parents’ lessons about living a godly life. Then he sets a good example for his students, addressing himself as their father. We understand this in the context of Timothy and Titus being Paul’s sons. However, this non-familial relationship does not preclude affection between teacher and student. On the contrary, Paul carried that burden for all the Christians under his tutelage (cf. 2 Corinthians 11.28). 

Solomon tells us that wisdom and understanding are commodities that we can buy and sell (cf. Proverbs 23.23), similar to the “pearl of great price” mentioned in Matthew 13.46. As a result, our spiritual father leaves wise words to the student as a valuable heirloom. The main idea in Proverbs 4.6 is that proverbs are the way to become wise. Solomon once said that the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Solomon now instructs us on the first step we should take. Acquire. It is that simple. You must first identify wisdom. We’ve already accomplished this task by recognizing God’s Word as our primary source and our godly parents as our secondary source. (Tertiary sources are only permitted if they closely parallel the primary source.) Then you must go to any length to obtain it, even if it means selling everything we own (cf. Matthew 13.44-46). 

Lady Wisdom will make you look good as a reward for your efforts (4.8-9). In his book, His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage, Willard F. Harley identified affection as a woman’s number one need. 1 Now, I understand that we can only anthropomorphize wisdom so far, but since Scripture depicts wisdom as a lady, we can see that she shares some characteristics with the fairer sex. One of the characteristics shared by Lady Wisdom and human ladies is the wish to be desired. That is analogous to affection in this context. Those who have read Harley’s book understand that the point is that couples can protect their marriages by meeting each other’s needs. When a husband shows affection to his wife, she gives him what he most desires from her. In this case, the young man’s affection for Lady Wisdom prompts her to lavish him with her beauty, which is essentially the third manly need identified by Harley (i.e., an attractive spouse). 2 

The path of wisdom leads to enlightenment, whereas the path of righteousness adheres to what is good and right. If the young person continues on this path, he will not have to worry about getting lost or walking in the dark. He will not stumble and fall over an unexpected obstacle if he flies along his path. Nonetheless, Solomon issues a warning. He warns young men not to cross the course of the wicked. In verses 14 and 15, notice the expressions “do not enter,” “do not proceed,” “avoid it,” “do not pass by it,” “turn away from it,” and “pass on.” You’ve probably heard the phrase “evil never sleeps.” In verses 16 and 17, Solomon frames it in this manner. If one goes near the sinful path, he will encounter people who will not rest until they have done evil. And these shady characters are only out to corrupt you. So your options are binary (4.18-19). You will take either the lighted or the dark path. You can only find wisdom along the illuminated way. 

Our Proverbs study has already discussed how obeying God leads to a longer life. Under Moses’ Law, this indeed means that they did not have their lives cut short by the death penalty, which God instituted for many offenses. Disobeying your parents? That’s a stoning! But we’ve also seen that sin can have physical consequences, some of which Solomon will discuss in the next chapter. However, wisdom is similar to physical nourishment. You cannot survive by eating infrequently and skipping meals most of the time. Wisdom is something that the student must constantly strive for. As an ileostomate and diabetic, doctors and nutritionists frequently advise me to divide my three daily meals into six smaller ones, with snacks in between. We must approach wisdom in the same way. We can say we don’t have time to read the Bible or listen to God’s Word, but we know that’s an excuse. We can find minutes throughout the day to read, study, and pray rather than being overwhelmed by a full plate three days a week for a couple of hours. 

And we must guard our hearts as well (4.23). “Heart” does not refer to the organ that circulates blood but the location of our intellect, feelings, and will. Beliefs influence a person’s moral conduct, actions, attitudes, and goals. As a result, it should come as no surprise that Jesus later tells us that what comes from our hearts can defile us (Mark 7.20). We must practice self-discipline now that we are aware of the truth. Proverbs four’s final verses address training our heart, mouth, eyes, and feet. Why were those parts chosen? Consider how each is vulnerable to the devil’s three temptations: lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life (1 John 2.16). 

However, by exercising “thought-control,” we take the first step toward being morally correct and honest. Is this why Paul tells us to focus our thoughts on certain things? (According to Philippians 4.8) This training will keep us on the path and out of the ditches. We must walk forward with our eyes straight ahead. Looking ahead implies that we will not allow sensual, earthly, selfish, or material temptations to cause us to lose sight of the true goal and focus on other things. Furthermore, we will only find extremism on both sides. So, like Josiah, we must follow God’s path without deviating to the “Left or Right” ( 2 Chronicles 34.2).    

In chapter five, Solomon discusses the dangers of giving in to the body’s desires. We’ll look at this next week if the Lord allows. 

Sources Cited 

1 Harley, Dr. Willard. “His Needs Her Needs List.” His Needs Her Needs, His Needs Her Needs,

2 Ibid 

A Touching Savior

A Touching Savior

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

A person that feels loved through physical touch is looking for connection. 

They feel love when they are close to their spouse, and they experience love through the physical side of their relationship. 

While God doesn’t physically touch us today to show His love, He has done it in the past. 

Mark 1:40-42 says, “And a leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.” 

In the time of Christ, leprosy was a disease that immediately made you an outcast. If you had this disease you were considered unclean and you were forced to live in isolation from everyone else. Lev. 13:45-46 tells us, “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp.” 

The leper was forced to live alone because this disease was spread through physical touch. 

This is what makes what Jesus did even more incredible. Jesus didn’t have to touch the leper, but He went above and beyond by physically touching him. 

It says, “Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him.” Through this we see the compassion of Christ. Mark through inspiration makes it a point to tell us that Jesus physically touched this leper. God expressed His love through the physical touch of a compassionate Savior. 

This same loving Savior is who we serve today. 

While He doesn’t personally touch us today, He has given us a family to physically care for us. God loved us so much that He made sure we would never be absent of physical comfort and encouragement. The church is a place where we can experience comfort and compassion from fellow-believers, a hug when we are struggling and a shoulder to cry on in times of grief. 

Contained within the pages of scripture we read of a truly touching Savior. So how will we respond to the love of God?



Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross


Neal Pollard

The story of Hosea is a microcosm of the human experience. In chapter eleven, God appeals to the people to understand how much He loved His people. God loved Israel, but the people loved the Baals (1-2). God healed them, but they did not know that He did (3). He held them with cords of love (4), but they preferred the bonds of Assyria with their swords and their fires (4-7). One way God depicts this is by saying, essentially, I bent down to feed them, but His people were bent on turning from Him (4,7). 

Have you ever reached down to feed your child only to have that child bend away in disgust and disapproval? Especially is this true when the food is good for them but does not taste good to them. Hopefully, in the process of training and development, they get over this tendency. Yet, God paints the picture of His children doing the same thing as they reject their Almighty Creator for a world that hates them.

When Hosea says God “bent” down, he uses a word found over 200 times in the Old Testament. Often, when referring to God’s outstretched hand, the writers are referring to it being extended in judgment against man (especially in Isaiah where we see the repeated phrase, “His hand is still stretched out,” several times in chapters 9 and 10). But that mighty hand is gently reaching down to care for, love, and hold His wayward people. But what do they do when He bends down? With rigid posture, they stubbornly turn away. They call Him “God Most High” but they do not honor Him with submission and obedience.

But then I consider my circumstance. Through Christ, God made the ultimate gesture of reaching down. Jesus allowed Himself to be lifted up on the cross, but this was God extending Himself and His love to me (Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20). In my daily life, what do I do with His outstretched hand. Am I ever determined to turn away from Him by my rebellion and self-will? I need to see how utterly foolish and self-defeating that is, and I need to see it for what it is. I am rejecting the love, the help, and the grace of the Omnipotent One who longs to be in a relationship with me. What do I hope to get anywhere else that can even compare to that? Thank God that His Word draws me back and reminds me of what He’s done for me and what He wants to do for me! May I be wise and humble enough to reach up when He reaches down! 

How To Improve Your Love Life

How To Improve Your Love Life

Neal Pollard

  • Even when provoked, endure without complaining.
  • Give your spouse a gift (not necessarily monetary) as an act of kindness.
  • Avoid intensely negative feelings toward your spouse’s success and jealousy over them.
  • Avoid an exaggerated conception of yourself or an inflated ego.
  • Avoid behaving in a way that shames, disgraces, or embarrasses your mate.
  • Don’t be selfish and self-centered.
  • Don’t be easily stirred to anger and irritated toward your mate.
  • Don’t keep score.
  • Don’t derive delight and happiness from the sinful in your marriage.
  • Delight in the things that God promotes and delights in.
  • Put up with annoyances and difficulties in your marriage.
  • Have faith in your mate.
  • Think positively about and anticipate the future with your spouse.
  • Dedicate yourself to standing by your mate’s side, for better or worse, in sickness and health, etc.

No, that does not sound like what the world’s “love doctors” will tell you, but it’s a short summary of the 14 characteristics of love that Paul gives as part of the inspired definition of that word (1 Cor. 13:4-7). The love he writes about is that highest form of love, exclusive, totally committed, totally trusting, uplifting, edifying, unselfish, connected to faith and hope.

When we pore over those qualities and see how God defines it, it leaves us fully aware of the fact that each of us, in our relationships, has so much room for growth and improvement in the “love life” of our marriages. My prayer for each of us who is married that, not just on days like today but every day, we will focus on how we can improve the love we demonstrate in our marriages.