Attend To My Words, Prov 4:20-22

Our text is Prov 4:20-22.  In this passage, Solomon says, “Attend to my words”.   You get connected to God’s words and they connect with you.

John Maxwell says that to connect with people when you’re communicating, you have to connect intellectually, verbally, visually, and emotionally.  Intellectually involves the mind.  Verbally involves the ear.  Visually involves the eye.  Emotionally involves the heart.  

In Prov 4:20-22, we read how God connects with you through his words.  He connects through your mind, your ear, your eye, and your heart.  You don’t have to be an intellectual to get what he’s saying.  The Pharisees, scribes, and priests were intellectuals.  But they certainly didn’t understand what Jesus was saying when he taught.  The publicans and harlots were the ones who got it.

If you are going to attend to his words, you must:

Attend to them with your mind.  “Attend to my words”.  This is the intellectual connection.  To attend to is to apply the mind and pay attention.  Dr. Ben Carson wrote a book entitled, “You have a brain.  The teen’s guide to think big”.  So, think.  

In preparing to preach, we must ponder the message.  That is, we mull it over in our mind and meditate upon it.  After we preach you must ponder the message.  

When you read, you should think about what you’re reading.  You should read and study the Bible with a believing mind and a humble heart.  In Phil 4:8 Paul wrote that we are to think about “whatsoever things are true”.  Ps 119:160 says, “Thy word is true from the beginning”.  In Jn 17:17 Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth”.

Understand them with your ear.  “Incline thine ear unto my sayings”.  This is the verbal connection. I lean in toward a person to hear now.  I want to catch every word.  But inclining your ear is more than just leaning in to listen to every word, intently.  

With the ear, you understand what God says.  In marriage instruction, I teach the couple to ask questions if they don’t understand what their spouse is saying.  In counsel, I listen and then repeat what I’ve heard so they know that I understand.

In Is 6:9 the trouble in Israel was that they could hear, but they couldn’t understand.  It’s like the Lord says to them, “Did you hear what I said”?  They didn’t.  In Matt 13:14 Jesus said, “By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand”.  The reason in Matt 13:15 is that “their ears are dull of hearing”.

Follow the instructions in Mk 4:23, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear”.  The reason is that, according to Mk 4:24, “…unto you that hear shall more be given”. 

Perceive them with your eyes.  “Let them not depart from thine eyes”.  This is the visual connection.  This is why I ask you to turn to the passage and read the words for yourself while I’m preaching or teaching.  The things that you see you retain better than just hearing them spoken.  

Some studies show that the verbal retention rate is 10% after 72 hours.  The visual retention rate increases to 35% after 72 hours.  But when combining the two, the retention rate is 65% after 72 hours.

Dr. Sehmish preaches that we should visualize what we’re reading.  He encourages you to put yourself in the setting.  See it.  I couldn’t do this after spending my childhood watching TV.  

Today, the inability of children to visualize what their reading is probably just as bad with video games, maybe worse, because those games are interactive.  It’s hard to be interactive with the Bible unless you are in it.  When Brent Logan preaches, he brings you into the text that he’s preaching.

In Is 6:9, Isaiah said to Israel, “see ye indeed, but perceive not”.  And they didn’t.  Jesus said in Matt 13:14, “seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive”.  Why?  Matt 13:15 says, “their eyes they have closed”.

Keep them with your heart.  “Keep them in the midst of thine heart”.  This is the heart connection, what Maxwell calls the emotional connection.  But this heart connection is more than emotional.  When you memorize the scripture, your retention rate is 100%.  

Ps 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee”.  Getting the words into your heart is life changing.  Prov 4:22 says, “For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh”.  A supernatural work of God takes place in the inner man with these words.

In Is 6:10 God commanded Isaiah to “make the heart of this people fat”.  And indeed in Matt 13:15 “this people’s heart is waxed gross”.  There was no room for the scripture.  Their heart was cluttered.  And our heart’s are cluttered these days, as well.

Conclusion: when you do these four things you connect with God and God connects with you.  And his words change your life.