This mornings devotion is in Proverbs chapter four.  
As I read this chapter, three familiar words are repeated over and over; wisdom, understanding, and instruction.  The teachings about these three words are also familiar but there is a new emphasis in 4:1-9.  This emphasis is on the beginning of wisdom in verse 7, “The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding.”  But this time it is different than Solomon’s original admonition in In Prov. 1:7 where he says that the FEAR of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  There are a couple things to note here, not in the contrast of these two verses but in the comparison.  

First, both verses are talking about the beginning of wisdom and second, they both do so with an emphasis on our own actions.  FEAR the Lord, ACQUIRE wisdom.  This suggests that rather than an alternative way of gaining wisdom, Solomon is ADDING to his foundation for gaining wisdom with another aspect.  Proverbs 1 introduces the purpose for all of the proverbs and outlines precisely what it is that he will be addressing with his son, why he is addressing it, and why his son should not pursue other women more than his pursuit of “Wisdom” herself.  In Prov. 2 he teaches his son how to “discern the fear of the Lord” and what the consequences of gaining the Lord’s wisdom will be in contrast to those who walk in the way of darkness.  Chapter 3 is a strong admonishment towards active memorization of these words!  The commandments are to be bound to you and written on the tablet of your heart (3:3), we are to trust the Lord in “All our ways”, in all our ” deh’rek” (ready Part 2 of the Prov. 31 Woman on my blog for the definition of this word).  Solomon concludes the latter half of Proverbs 3 with similar cautions, “do not reject the discipline of the Lord…Keep sound wisdom and discretion…do not withhold good from those to whom it is due…”  Now he has finished his lesson about the fear of the Lord and is ready to begin part two, Acquiring wisdom!  In each aspect the responsibility for education is placed squarely on his son’s own shoulders, and thereby on our own as we read this apply it personally.  Solomon is teaching his son how to learn!  

Read through this chapter and pay close attention to the three key words; wisdom, understanding, and instruction.  What are we supposed to do with wisdom, understanding and instruction?  What happens to us if we do? or don’t (the consequences)?  Notice also all the passages in which he speaks of “ways” and remember that our way is the nature which we put on ourselves, it can be learned, it can be unlearned, we have the power to change our nature and through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, those who belong to him have the power to overcome even death and sin.