“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life”. (Proverbs 4:13, KJV).
In all God’s dealings with the children of Israel, He never left them without instruction. It is clear that God did not want them to live as the heathen, thus, He gave them clear instructions as to how they were to conduct themselves in the Promised Land. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 plainly says, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practises divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.” The children of Israel had instructions on every aspect of life; ranging from matters of marriage, even to matters as simple as their diet and eating etiquettes. This was very necessary because God had intended to forge a nation unlike any other on this earth out of the children of Israel, and the means by which he was going to accomplish this was by clear-cut instructions. These Godly instructions were not to lead them into death but into life.
The opening verse of scripture declares that “instruction is one’s life”. A man who lives without instruction is as good as a dead man. This is because instruction is the path to life. Hence, to tread a path that is devoid of instruction is to tread the path that leads astray – “Keeping instruction is the path to life; but he that forsaketh reproof goeth astray.” (Proverbs 10:17, DBY). The kind of instructions that a people heed to is what defines their identity.
Accordingly, we learn through the scriptures that the word of God was given to us for the purpose of instruction in righteousness: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…for instruction in righteousness”. (2 Timothy 3:16). The believer is not supposed to succumb to any ordinary form of instruction. The children of God are warned to “cease… to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 19:27). The instructions of God are in righteousness and they lead to life. Righteousness is an important character of divinity that leads to life. Proverbs 21:21 declares that, “He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.”
There is a kind of instruction that causes the believer to err from the words of knowledge. Such instructions are to be ignored. On the other hand, the only form of instruction that the born again believer is supposed to pay heed to is the instruction in righteousness. The instruction in righteousness is the path of life because it is the very command from God to His children. It is the instruction that has its roots in the Word of God. Hallelujah!
The Hebrew word for instruction is “musar”. It literally means chastening. This brings a very interesting truth to bear in light of Hebrews 12:8: “But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons”. Instruction is the chastening that fathers give to their children, and Scripture asserts that without it, one is a bastard. Your father in the Lord is the mouthpiece of the Lord to give you instruction in righteousness. Hence, Paul said in Ephesians 6:1 that “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right”. Parents in the Lord are to be obeyed because they are the people who carry the very instructions of God. Any believer without parents in the Lord is without instruction in righteousness, and is treading a dangerous path.
“Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding” (Proverbs 4:1). The Bible teaches that a son must hear the instruction of a father and forsake not the law of his mother. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.” (Proverbs 1:8). Who are your parents in the Lord that give you instructions that lead to life? Selah! There are certain struggles that you will not face in life if you heed instruction. This is because your ‘father’, knows the pitfalls on the path you are on. He has already made certain mistakes in his journey of life and can guide you to escape those snares.
Paying heed to instruction is what distinguishes a wise son from a foolish son. “A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent” (Proverbs 15:5). Embrace life by embracing instructions with a pure heart. Walk in this reality.