This verse is part of a message Solomon shared with his sons (:1) which he, himself, had received from his father, King David (:3-4). Dad told his boy to go after “wisdom” and “understanding” — the two most prominent character qualities in the book of Proverbs.
Regularly showing up together (like bananas in a bunch or grapes in a cluster), wisdom usually leads the way. Clearly linked, these two qualities are defined here as “seeing life from God’s point of view” (wisdom) and “realizing how right choices lead to a meaningful life” (understanding).
Then, in our verse, father adds “do not forget my words or turn away from them.” Another oft repeated truth throughout the whole book of Proverbs is that the insights of parents are related to these and other character qualities.
It’s a special opportunity to grow up as a young man or woman in a home where such guidance is a regular part of life. Yet, the reality of our world is that many haven’t had such a upbringing.
So, it’s wonderful to know that the bottom line message of the Book of Proverbs is that “wisdom” and “understanding” are absolutely accessible to any and all who want them. Despite the lack of such instruction growing up — if we want them in our lives, we can have them!