Images are powerful.
Many people talk of our present culture being image-driven, especially in our high-tech era. But images have always been a powerful influence in people's lives. Ancient literature often relied on images to stir imagination.
The Proverbs are full of images called figurative language. These are also called picture language—words that graphically express what isn't conveyed by mere description. A common use of images is to draw contrasts, as simple as between light and darkness.
My child, listen and accept what I say. Then you will have a long life.
I am guiding you in the way of wisdom, and I am leading you on the right path. Nothing will hold you back; you will not be overwhelmed. Always remember what you have been taught, and don’t let go of it. Keep all that you have learned; it is the most important thing in life.
Don’t follow the ways of the wicked; don’t do what evil people do. Avoid their ways, and don’t follow them. Stay away from them and keep on going, because they cannot sleep until they do evil. They cannot rest until they harm someone. They feast on wickedness and cruelty as if they were eating bread and drinking wine.
The way of the good person is like the light of dawn, growing brighter and brighter until full daylight. But the wicked walk around in the dark; they can’t even see what makes them stumble.
(Proverbs 4:10-19 NCV) [Context– Proverbs Chap 4:1-10]
The way of the good person is like the light of dawn...
- What is the fatherly advice given in the first few sentences? What general promise is connected with this advice?
- What are the exhortations that follow this fatherly advice?
- What encouragement is given for following this fatherly advice, and heeding these exhortations?
- How is this encouragement contrasted with the consequences of not accepting this advice or heeding these exhortations?
Make it personal...
If you don't have a good and reliable relationship with your own father, is there anyone in your life who is mentoring you?
Do you have people in your life whom you trust to give you good counsel and advice? If not, have you made any effort to build healthy, beneficial relationships in your life?
Do you choose to surround yourself with people who are encouraging, and who instill hope? If not, are you willing to make some hard choices to do so?
I've had both unhealthy and healthy influences in my life. At one point in my life, I made a choice to seek out healthy relationships, ones that encouraged my new-found faith in God. It was a vital decision, one I've never regretted.
We all have choices to make. Either we make them by default and continue on an unhealthy path of life that grows darker and darker, or we make wise choices for a path filled with the light of dawn.
How do you know if you're making the right choices in life and your relationships with others? Is the path ahead of you getting darker or brighter? Do you see what made you stumble before, or are you still wandering in darkness and without hope?
Once you start making wise choices, you need to keep making wise choices—day in and day out. May you make wise choices, so your life's path is filled with the light of dawn!