Proverbs 4:12,13,  When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

Thy steps shall not be straitened, means walls shall not close in on you as you walk.

Your walk shall be free from distress or vexation.

There will be stumbling blocks in the way, but the way of wisdom will guide you around them.

At times you will be required to go fast along the way, much will be required of you but you will not stumble.

Wisdom provide you with discernment to make the proper choices even in times of urgency.

Wisdom frees you from bondage or slavery to the passions of your flesh.

The paths of wisdom are not the paths of sin which promise liberty but only deliver slavery.

The paths of sin bring walls which close around you and crush liberty to walk in the way of Godís precepts.

Wisdom will provide principles in the heart and knowledge in the mind which will prevent you from choosing any action which will displease God.

What liberty it is to walk in wisdom and understanding of the Word of God!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto thine own understanding, In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path.

Read the cookbook and follow the instructions meticulously and do not add or subtract ingredients or methods based upon your own ideas or ways and the result will be as the cookbook says it will be.

Go ahead and put a smidgen of this and a dab of that instead of following the recipe precisely but donít blame the author of the cookbook for the results.

How easy it seems to be to follow man made cookbooks, to follow man-conceived ideas but how hard it is to follow the book that God has prepared.

How it points to the deceitfulness and wickedness of the heart.

At this point in this Proverbs passage the father begins to be specific in his instruction to his son.

He has extolled wisdom and the imperative in getting wisdom and understanding.

He has told his son that hearing, or obeying his instruction, giving all of his attention to his instruction, knowing that his doctrine is good, is a must in his sonís life.

In other words this father has established himself as the authority to be obeyed in the sonís life.

But this authority is governed by wisdom.

This authority observes another authority, the authority of wisdom.

This authority will not give bad doctrine but only good doctrine and therefore can be obeyed with confidence.

So before getting into specifics he makes sure that his authority is established and that his son knows that what he instructs is based upon a sure foundation.

Therefore the son is obligated to attend and to hear (obey) the fatherís word.

It can only be imagined how much instruction is ignored simply because the instructor did not establish his authority to the ones being instructed.

Do not instruct those who do not respect your authority.

Jesus Christ did not.

In Matthew 21:27 when his authority was questioned by the chief priests and elders he refused them instruction.

By their ways their heart was revealed.

They did not desire instruction but desired to trap him.

They did not respect his authority so Jesus Christ withheld instruction from them.

The Apostle Paul wrote in the same manner in I Corinthians 14:36-40.

He claimed the authority of the Lord when he wrote to the Corinthians.

If they chose to not acknowledge his authority he said that if any may be ignorant let him be ignorant still.

He knew that he could not teach anyone who did not respect his authority and that it was hopeless to try to teach them.

I Corinthians 14:36-40,  What?, came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.

This proverbs father is an instructing father but in order to instruct he first must establish his authority, an authority to be obeyed.

He knows, as Christ and Paul instructed, that unless authority is respected no true instruction can take place.

James reported in James 4:6-10 that,  God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

God resisteth the proud includes in that resistance a resistance to instruct.

God will not instruct the proud.

If a man wishes to be ignorant God will allow him to be ignorant.

But what James is describing here is a person who can be taught.

A humble person, a person who knows that he is what God says he is.

A sinner who comes short of the glory of God which means he is not fit to be in the presence of God.

A person who has to be made fit by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Not an arrogant person who believes he knows it all and has no need of instruction.

One man has said that A know-it-all always seems to have the solution to every problem right in the hollow of his head.

Another has said that a smart aleck knows everything, except how to keep others from thinking him a fool.

Why is it that when two know-it-alls get together; they always disagree?

But wisdom dictates that if instruction is to be effective there must be humility on the part of those being instructed.

The Apostle Paul wrote in the same manner in I Corinthians 14:36-40.

He claimed the authority of the Lord when he wrote to the Corinthians.

If they chose to not acknowledge or respect his authority he said that if any may be ignorant let him be ignorant still.

He knew that he could not teach anyone who did not respect his authority and that it was hopeless to try to teach them.

He wrote in I Corinthians "let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord."

And also ÖÖ.Let all things be done decently and in order.

So there is to be an order to instruction and this proverbs father follows that order.

There has to be an acknowledgment of the validity of the authority if instruction and understanding is to take place.

Even a child knows that.

Have you ever heard a child say to one who told him to do something, Youíre not my father!

A child should know that his father is a person of authority and is to be obeyed.

This is exactly what takes place with repentance, a recognition and yielding to authority.

Without it instruction cannot take place.

God will not conform to the image of his son, those who do not respect his authority and repentance is the point where a man or woman respects Godís authority.

It is the point where a man or woman agrees with God who said "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way."

Salvation means that a person has now received God as his father, which means he has received God as the authority over him.

He ceases to turn to his own way and now turns to his fatherís way and hears him, attends to him and understands.

Paul was saying to the Corinthians, accept me as your father with the authority of a father.

He knew what decently and in order meant in regard to exercising authority.

And a part of things done decently and in order is to establish your authority in order for instruction to be obeyed.

Fathers and mothers must do it, pastors and teachers must do it, supervisors must do it.

You may have the name of father or of mother or of supervisor but each of these have to establish that fact by exercising the authority that God has given them.

There has to be a humble spirit in order for instruction to be effective.

If you expect your children to hear, to attend, and therefore receive understanding they must be humble children, children who respect the authority that God has placed over them.

They must have a fear of those who are in God given places of authority.

For the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord and that fear also ought to extend to those to whom the Lord gives authority.

What a far cry from the belief today that children are to be fawned over and lifted up so as to build a so called self esteem in them.

Be careful about making your children the center of your life and lifting them up above the Lord.

The old adage that children are to be seen and not heard is still a wise adage.

We are not to lift up, only God can lift up.

Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.

So this Proverbs father has made sure that all things are done decently and in order concerning his authority and instruction from authority.

First things first. A recognition of authority in the home and then comes a recognition of the authority of God.

He makes sure this is done before he gets into the specifics of these next proverbs.