Verses 1-27 The Two Ways of Life
There are also three divisions in Chapter 4. They are also introduced by the words “My Son.” In the fist section we see a rational for the manner in the way they each begin. The teacher or father was taught by his father and has a responsibility to pass on the teaching to his son. This is a lovely picture of the value of moral teaching from one generation to the next. This is contrary to the popular opinion that the children should not be burdened by the values of the previous generation. The Bible teaches us to pass on these moral lessons to the next generation.
The second unit begins in verse 10. It is similar in thought to Psalm1 and it is at the heart of Chapter 4. We are to consider that there are two ways of life. One is the way of righteousness and integrity, and the other the way of the wicked. If we walk in the straight and narrow path, then there will be no cause for fear, and no reason to stumble. (Matthew 7:13-14) But, when you get of the straight and narrow and explore the ways of the wicked, you find yourself in trouble. When you come to the side road that leads to the paths of evil do not take it but pass on. The perils of the path of the wicked are described as being restless to commit violence against the innocent, and especially eager to recruit more for the doing of evil.
The third unit begins in verse 20 where again the teacher draws his youthful student to listen to the words of wisdom. In verse 23 we see a favorite proverb. (Mark 14:23) “Guard you heart” for it is the heart that controls all your activities. The heart is the command post of the human life. From the heart the orders go out for the body to obey, whether they are good or evil. If the heart is right, then the body will be right.
We again return to the figure of walking the straight and narrow way. We are to “Watch were we are going,” and “do not swerve to the right or the left” like a drunk driver weaving all over the road.