Two Paths

Welcome back to our extended odyssey along our shared path here at “Becoming Today”.

If you are just finding this search,over the next month we are undertaking a search and rescue mission for wisdom. Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths.

Yesterday in our discussion on Proverbial Trust, we explored, the “Rewards of Wisdom“ in which we are urged to remain focused on the search and remember that integrity is integral

So to seek wisdom we must first trust in the process. In this case that is putting your trust in God. Do it with all your heart, not your mind. Don’t overanalyze or attempt to out reason the statement. Your mind will play tricks on you, but when you tune into your heart you can clearly hear the truth. 

A reminder for some, and an explanation for those of you joining us for the first time, as I am apt to do. Even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it.

I am being called to focus this teaching around the The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.

Done so by  Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the” message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change. 

Today, moving forward we’ll look at Proverbs 4

While many often teach this chapter as wisdom at any cost, I’m feeling the need to focus more on another aspect. Not to downplay the value of wisdom, but rather to accentuate the choices you have to make in opting to choose one of the two paths we’ll read about together. So let’s begin as it is written, 

A Father’s Instruction

Listen to my correction, my sons,

    for I speak to you as your father.[a]

    Let discernment enter your heart

    and you will grow wise with the understanding I impart.

My revelation-truth[b] is a gift to you,

    so remain faithful to my instruction.

For I, too, was once the delight of my father[c]

    and cherished by my mother—their beloved[d] child.

Then my father taught me, saying,

    “Never forget my words.

    If you do everything that I teach you, you will reign in life.”[e]

So make wisdom your quest—

    search for the revelation of life’s meaning.

    Don’t let what I say go in one ear and out the other.

Stick with wisdom and she will stick to you,

    protecting you throughout your days.

    She will rescue all those who passionately listen to her voice.[f]

Wisdom is the most valuable commodity—so buy it!

    Revelation-knowledge is what you need—so invest in it!

Wisdom will exalt you when you exalt her truth.[g]

    She will lead you to honor and favor

    when you live your life by her insights.

You will be adorned with beauty and grace,[h]

    and wisdom’s glory will wrap itself around you,[i]

    making you victorious in the race.

Two Pathways

10 

My son, if you will take the time to stop and listen to me

    and embrace what I say,

    you will live a long and happy life

    full of understanding in every way.

11 

I have taken you by the hand in wisdom’s ways,

    pointing you to the path of integrity.

12 

Your progress will have no limits when you come along with me,

    and you will never stumble as you walk along the way.

13 

So receive my correction[j] no matter how hard it is to swallow,

    for wisdom will snap you back into place—

    her words will be invigorating life to you.

14 

Do not detour into darkness or even set foot on that path.

15 

Stay away from it; don’t even go there!

16 

For troublemakers are restless if they are not involved in evil.

    They are not satisfied until they have brought someone harm.

17 

They feed on darkness and drink

    until they’re drunk on the wine of wickedness.[k]

18 

But the lovers of God walk on the highway of light,[l]

    and their way shines brighter and brighter

    until the perfect day.

19 

But the wicked walk in thick darkness,

    like those who travel in fog,

    and yet don’t have a clue why they keep stumbling!

Healing Words

20 

Listen carefully, my dear child, to everything that I teach you,

    and pay attention to all that I have to say.

21 

Fill your thoughts with my words

    until they penetrate deep into your spirit.[m]

22 

Then, as you unwrap my words,[n]

    they will impart true life and radiant health

    into the very core of your being.

23 

So above all, guard the affections of your heart,[o]

    for they affect all that you are.

    Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being,

    for from there flows the wellspring[p] of life.

24 

Avoid dishonest speech and pretentious words.

    Be free from using perverse words no matter what!

Watch Where You’re Going

25 

Set your gaze on the path before you.

    With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead,

    ignore life’s distractions.[q]

26 

Watch where you’re going!

    Stick to the path of truth,

    and the road will be safe and smooth before you.

27 

Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment

    or take the detour that leads to darkness.

Now that we’ve read the chapter together and you’ve had a moment to reflect upon it, let’s examine some verses. In verse five we hear a familiar theme in Proverbs restating the need to search for understanding, 

So make wisdom your quest—

    search for the revelation of life’s meaning.

    Don’t let what I say go in one ear and out the other.

Then we are reminded of the rewards available for undertaking the effort as it says in verse,

Stick with wisdom and she will stick to you,

    protecting you throughout your days.

    She will rescue all those who passionately listen to her voice.[f]

Plus as the Scriptures do, when something is important it bears repeating and in the next few lines,

Wisdom is the most valuable commodity—so buy it!

    Revelation-knowledge is what you need—so invest in it!

Wisdom will exalt you when you exalt her truth.[g]

    She will lead you to honor and favor

    when you live your life by her insights.

The most valuable of commodities, which includes insight, honor and favor upon your life. All  very “Becoming” traits to explore.

Next Proverbs 4 undertakes the discussion of two paths that are available in life. One is good and leads the sojourner towards favor, security and abundance. The other, if chosen, has its repercussions. Let’s review the section beginning with verse 10 called, 

Two Pathways

My son, if you will take the time to stop and listen to me

    and embrace what I say,

    you will live a long and happy life

    full of understanding in every way.

11 

I have taken you by the hand in wisdom’s ways,

    pointing you to the path of integrity.

12 

Your progress will have no limits when you come along with me,

    and you will never stumble as you walk along the way.

13 

So receive my correction[j] no matter how hard it is to swallow,

    for wisdom will snap you back into place—

    her words will be invigorating life to you.

14 

Do not detour into darkness or even set foot on that path.

15 

Stay away from it; don’t even go there!

16 

For troublemakers are restless if they are not involved in evil.

    They are not satisfied until they have brought someone harm.

17 

They feed on darkness and drink

    until they’re drunk on the wine of wickedness.[k]

18 

But the lovers of God walk on the highway of light,[l]

    and their way shines brighter and brighter

    until the perfect day.

19 

But the wicked walk in thick darkness,

    like those who travel in fog,

    and yet don’t have a clue why they keep stumbling!

The two are not mutually exclusive. At times we may find ourselves crossing the lines simultaneously, the importance is recognizing when we are straying from purpose achievement and “Becoming” and then opting to correct our course.

To those in the psychological world, this is considered examining your shadow, which is thought of as for everything we can not or will not see in ourselves.

However my earliest memories of these discussions come from the traditional Cherokee teaching of the Two Wolves Inside. The short version is a grandfather telling a young boy about the two wolves that live inside each of us. They are engaged in a constant battle . One is good. The other evil. The child asks, which wolf wins,and the sage elder replies, “whichever one you choose to feed”.

A question we must ask ourselves daily. Which are we choosing to feed? Just as goodness, mercy and faith are renewed each day, so is our ability to make wise decisions. 

That’s the intention behind the section entitled, Watch Where You’re Going.

You should recall reading, beginning with verse, 

25 

Set your gaze on the path before you.

    With fixed purpose, looking straight ahead,

    ignore life’s distractions.[q]

26 

Watch where you’re going!

    Stick to the path of truth,

    and the road will be safe and smooth before you.

27 

Don’t allow yourself to be sidetracked for even a moment

    or take the detour that leads to darkness.

We all do and will make mistakes. The key here is having the wisdom to discern when we are doing so and then taking swift action to compensate. To refocus our intentions, examine our motives and steer our course back to the Light. 

Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.

I hope you have enjoyed the first day of this odyssey. There is much more to come.

As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate. 

If you do not feel comfortable sharing below, remember you can always reach out privately through the easy to use form on our Contact page.

I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our proverbial search here along this shared  journey we call “Becoming Today”. 

Footnotes

4:1 Read and study this entire chapter as though it were Jesus Christ speaking to you. He is the Father of Eternity, and we are called his sons. See Isa. 9:6–7 and Rev. 21:6–7.

4:2 Literally “Torah.”

4:3 See Matt. 17:5 and John 3:35.

4:3 Or “unique.” See Luke 1–2.

4:4 The lessons of wisdom are meant to be passed on from parents to children.

4:6 It is not enough to acquire wisdom; we must love her and listen wholeheartedly to her instruction.

4:8 The Septuagint says, “Build a fort for wisdom and she will lift you high.”

4:9 Literally “She will place a garland of grace on your head and a crown of beauty upon you.” A garland and a crown are metaphors for what is awarded a victor in a race. See 1 Cor. 9:24–25.

4:9 Or “wisdom’s laurel of glory shielding you.”

4:13 Wisdom will correct us and adjust our hearts to discipline. We must embrace the corrections of wisdom in order to mature spiritually.

4:17 Or “violence.”

4:18 Or “the glow of sunlight.”

4:21 See Col. 3:16.

4:22 Or “discover my words.”

4:23 The Hebrew word levav is the most common word for “heart.” It includes our thoughts, our wills, our discernment, and our affections.

4:23 Although most translations have “the issues of life,” the Hebrew word yasa is actually “seasons,” especially springtime. Out of your heart flow the seasons of life. It is our hearts, not our ages or circumstances, that shape the seasons of our lives. If our hearts are tender to God, we can live in perpetual springtime.

4:25 Implied in the text. See Heb. 12:1–2.

The Passion Translation®. 
Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc.

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