Proverbs: Wisdom and Benefits – (I)

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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Topics: Wisdom for Children & Four Benefits

[learn_more caption=”Proverbs 2:1-22″] 1 My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, 4 if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, 8 guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; 10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, 12 delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, 13 who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, 14 who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, 15 men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. 16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, 17 who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; 18 for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; 19 none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life. 20 So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it. (Proverbs 2:1-22 ESV)[/learn_more]

 

Wisdom for Children

Solomon wants his son(s) and daughters to have 4 things:

1. (5-8) To understand and experience The fear of the Lord.

2. (9-15) To understand and then live out true righteousness, justice and equality.

3. (16-19) To experience deliverance from temptation.

4. (20-22) To actually walk in righteousness.

In verses 1-5 he outlines 7 steps to that end – but let’s just consider three things that show themselves as absolutely necessary to true understanding (seeing all things as God does) and growing close to the Father:

a. Knowing and TREASURING God’s Word.

We need to remember again that “Keeping” His Word throughout Scripture is not as much observing the letter of it, as it is seeing it as precious. That which is precious to us, will capture our devotion.

Wisdom and spiritual knowledge are not gained by osmosis, sporadic study, lazy attempts at searching out God’s Word or abstracting magical insights. We must set a value on it first. Treat it like treasure. Keeping our eye and ear peeled for it – looking for it all the time. Praying about it and then taking the pick and shovel and digging, sifting, searching, refining, and looking for more. Nothing less will yield the result of understanding the fear of the Lord, and finding the knowledge of God.

b. Seeking to understand God’s Word, studying it – not simply preserving it like an ancient artifact.

Having a Ming vase that is never used AS a vase, but merely as a work of art, is the picture. Many approach God’s Word this way. They know it is “precious” but precious in the sense that it is to be put on a self and admired – but not as though it is to be employed in the fabric and situations of everyday life. We cannot approach God’s Word in this way and hope to be truly impacted by it. We must study it not as a curiosity, but as the study of life itself. We must employ it. It will resist being turned into a religious, social or intellectual artifact.

c. Prayer (3).

If we are not interacting personally and regularly with our Lord – we cannot hope either to understand Him, or His Word. We must never allow knowledge about Him to eclipse firsthand knowledge OF Him in living discourse. Lose this aspect, and religion freezes into form and mere doctrine at best, and random subjectivity at worst.

Solomon wants his children to have a living, vibrant, experiential walk with God. What Jesus died to give to all who put their hope only in Him.

 

Four Benefits

Solomon places a special emphasis on 4 main benefits his son can expect from following the steps he outlined in Proverbs 2.

1. (5-8) “Then you will understand the Fear of The Lord”.

2. (9-15) “Then you will understand righteousness, and justice and equity, and every good work. ”

3. (16-19) “So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman” (i. e. temptation).

4. (20) “So you will walk in righteousness. ”

Let’s just look for a few moments of some of what Solomon says about the 1st benefit – understanding the fear of the Lord.

Notice 1st in vs. 6 that is the Lord who gives this wisdom.

It comes from God Himself. We do not get it from outside sources, or mere reasoning or even meditation by itself. We must get it from God Himself. This is why we spent so much time emphasizing the necessity of reading, studying, searching out, and exploring God’s Word. Because He has determined that He alone will be the source to teach us this wisdom. We must get it (as the old yarn puts it) right from the horse’s mouth.

No one comes to the fear of the Lord thru proxy, or ritual, detached experience, imagination or any other source. It comes from Him. And His means of communication is the Word itself. We come back to it over and over to hear His voice, and learn the “sound” of it.

But note that He DOES give it. He makes a gift of it. He wants us to have it. He is not withholding, stingy or playing games with us. He extends it to us in His Word, and we need only receive it.

2nd, vs. 7 says He stores it up for us.

He takes amazing, almost unimaginable pains to see to it first that it was written down, and then preserved, and then brought to us. How blessed we are! He has not scattered it like ashes on the water and left it to us to put back together like an infinitely complex cosmic jigsaw puzzle. Written over a span of 1500 years by more than 40 different authors most of whom did not know nor collaborate with one another – and yet presenting one consistent theology and story line centering on the person and work of Jesus Christ in the redemption of fallen mankind and the fulfilling of God’s eternal purposes. We have it in our hands today in a myriad of translations and languages – preached in countless pulpits, on radio, TV, the internet and expounded in numberless books – because He has stored it up for us!

3rd, vs. 7 also says He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.

In other words, this wisdom which comes from Him and has been stored up for us, is a means whereby He exercises His power to protect us from the onslaught of bankrupt human philosophy, false religion, corrupt human imagination and the lies of the Enemy of our souls. What great provision He has made – if only we will run and hide behind His “shield” – in the safety of His protective care.

4th, in vs. 8 we see that He guides us with it.

Here is the roadmap for everlasting life. To navigate this life – in the light of the life to come. So see life from 40,000 feet. To know the beginning as He revealed it, clarifying the present through His lens, and projecting out to the sure future He has planned for those who love His appearing.

What a God! What a Savior!

~ Reid

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Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.