Proverbs 4:27

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.
– Proverbs 4:27

The deliberation in the previous verse leads one to properly identify the good way. Verse 27 exhorts to stay in that way and not leave it for one thing or the other. Chapter 4 ends having spoken to the heart, mouth, eyes, and feet. This speaks to the course of life of the whole person and exhorts to not turn, or bend away from the straight path of wisdom no matter the inducements.

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Proverbs 4:26

Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.
– Proverbs 4:26

Ponder means to weigh out and make level as in measuring some substance in a balance. To be established is to be stood upright. Wisdom instructs to weigh carefully the path we shall tread. Our steps should be deliberate and the idea is presented of being straight. Wisdom is often seen in the exercise of judgment or discernment. Feet and ways refer literally to a road or path but is put here for the course of one’s life.

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Proverbs 4:25

Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.
– Proverbs 4:25

Eyes are used to see. Going in the way of wisdom means seeing the way in the sense that we are thoughtful and deliberate in considering well the end of the way before we begin in it. So we should look right and straight ahead at where we should go. Even considering the uncertainties of life, Solomon concluded that it is better to walk in wisdom, which he spoke of as having eyes in your head as opposed to the fools who stumble in the dark (Ecclesiastes 2:13-14).

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Proverbs 4:24

Put away from thee a forward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.
– Proverbs 4:24

Froward and perverse both carry the thought of crooked. They describe speech which is bent away from the straight way of wisdom. They are opposite of righteousness (Proverbs 8:8). Guarding the heart and mind is primarily a guarding of input and storage. We are also to give diligence to guard the product of heart and mind as well. The mouth and lips are obviously put for speech. Many exhortations, admonitions, and reproofs concerning speech await us in the Proverbs. So wisdom entails the governing of our tongues, which is no small feat and is accomplished with no small effort (James 3:3-8).

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Proverbs 4:23

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
– Proverbs 4:23

Verses 23 to 27 end this chapter with an exhortation to practical living by wisdom. All diligence means to keep or guard the heart above all else. Solomon starts with the heart because it is the source, for that is what issues means. Jesus said that the defilement of a man wasn’t from without but within (Matthew 15:19). We must labor to grasp onto wise sayings and guard them with all diligence. We must keep them fixed in our mind that we not go astray in the evil way.

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Proverbs 4:22

For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
– Proverbs 4:22

Wisdom keeps men from the destructiveness of the path of wickedness. Wisdom brings a wholeness and soundness to life on earth. Wisdom also brings spiritual life that delivers from death. Life and health are here seen as good rewards of wisdom and good reason to incline the ear, keep the sayings in the heart, and keep them before the eyes.

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Proverbs 4:21

Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
– Proverbs 4:21

Solomon continues addressing the sensory parts here with eyes and heart. The eyes see and read the words of wisdom that are written. The eyes are also put for looking well to your goings, which is a crucial feature of wisdom. The heart often means the mind or thinking faculty. It can also refer to the emotions or the whole inner being. Wise sayings must be fixed in the mind which speaks to deliberate actions rather than heat-of-the-moment decisions.

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Proverbs 4:20

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
– Proverbs 4:20

Verses 20-22 rehearse the exhortation to be attentive to the wise sayings. The repetition supplies emphasis to the command and the need for attentiveness. From this we gather some of the means of obtaining wisdom are diligently applying ourselves to the words of wisdom. He mentions different sensory parts of the body to illustrate the whole-man involvement in acquiring wisdom. He starts with the ear in this verse. The command is to listen, to listen intelligently, to listen for understanding. Solomon elsewhere commanded us to “be more ready to hear” (Ecclesiastes 5:1) than we are to speak. So our immediate response to wise sayings is not to speak but to listen.

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Proverbs 4:19

The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
– Proverbs 4:19

The way of wickedness is contrasted with the way of the just in the previous verse. The path of the just is a path of increasing light and the way of the wicked is a way of increasing darkness. It is a deepening darkness. It is a hazardous way that causes stumbling and falls. Thus it is to be avoided by preferably avoiding the entrance to it.

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