The 2nd chapter of Proverbs continues on the theme of wisdom. But what do we really receive from wisdom? What is applied wisdom? ♦
The world teaches us much about Wisdom, or at least the concept of it. Wisdom runs the gamut from the simple and logical to the clever and strategic. We’re taught lessons all our lives and build up repertoires of wise saying and teachings. Remember Aesop’s Fables and The Boy Who Cried Wolf – (people won’t believe a liar even when he speaks the truth), or the Tortoise and the Hare – (slow and steady win the race), and The Dairymaid and Her Pail of Milk – (don’t count your chickens before they hatch)?
Intellectually smart men throughout history have discussed wisdom as follows:
- Aristotle – “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
- Socrates – “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
- Shakespeare – “The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
- Einstein – “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
All good, sound advice. Even wise.
What’s the Bible Say?
We see in Proverbs Chapter 1 that it is the fear [or reverence or respect] of God that is the beginning of knowledge [or wisdom]. Specifically in Proverbs 1:7 we see a clear distinction between wisdom and foolishness: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:1-7)
In Proverbs Chapter 2 we see the impact or reward of receiving or seeking this wisdom: Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:5)
Here are the first five verses of the second chapter in context:
My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding— indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:1-5)
The message is this: we need to value the Word of God, then engage our ears, heart, mind, voice, and eyes toward it, then we will understand and find knowledge/wisdom of God. Note that the heart commonly refers to the mind and is the center of all reason and emotions and will, i.e., our whole self and inner being. Out of the heart, mind, and will of man full of knowledge and wisdom springs forth all speech, sight, actions and conduct.
Knowledge of God Comes from Seeking
In the opening of chapter 2, still speaking to a young man, a son specifically, in a continuation of Chapter 1, Solomon highlights this recipe for right reverence and knowledge of God. It is that combination of mental acceptance and commitment to discipline, a heartfelt leaning toward understanding, even an honest cry out and earnest seeking for insight – like a hidden treasure.
In my early decades as Christian I used to study Proverbs, even try to read them every day each month. Ever try that? I’d get to about day 3 and then get off schedule and try again 3 months later. I was never consistent. I really believe my heart was leaning toward God but my search for deep, deep knowledge of God was inconsistent or comfortable with only so much depth.
My heart, mind, and will, was satisfied with a reasonable effort. I realize now that I was not “all in.”
It’s Jesus and Wisdom (of God) that Saves
Proverbs 2 is all about the positive outcome or benefit of this crucial effort, the reward if you will. For Wisdom comes as a gift from the Lord, from his own Word (v6). He proffers success for the good and upright, and a protective shield for the blameless…his faithful ones (v7-8). Understanding of what is right and just and fair will enter the heart, bringing pleasure at the level of the soul, as well as discretion that guards and protects. (v9-11)
Real wisdom saves and steers men away from perverse, wicked, and dark ways. Once again, this word of advice is for the young man, one so susceptible to temptation and evil. Solomon then specifically states that Godly Wisdom will save one from the adulterous, wayward woman who would lure him with seductive words. The warning is clear: submission to sexual sin leads to a pathway of death. (v16-19)
The wise option is to walk in the ways of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. The upright and blameless will live in the land, the wicked and unfaithful will be torn from it. In practical terms, of course, Solomon is advising young men of his day – Jewish young men, actually. This word of warning and references to the land had very specific application to the nation of Israel in the early years of the Jewish kingdom. Recall that King Solomon reigned from 970-931 B.C.
So does this warning even apply to us? Yes, absolutely. Real wisdom in the form of a fully (all in) surrendered heart, mind, and will to God/Jesus brings success in life navigation, pleasure, discretion, and protection from the lures of seduction.
The application of real Wisdom is the real reward of this present life.
Are you experiencing the benefits of Wisdom/Knowledge of God?
“…and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” – (Proverbs 2:4-5)