This is part two in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs – a study in which I hope to learn what God would have me know about wisdom and discernment. Yesterday’s passage taught that the beginning of true wisdom is knowledge of God and showed how wisdom can affect my life. It then personified wisdom as a woman crying out in the streets for the simple to heed her call and become wise.
The second chapter of Proverbs speaks about the value of wisdom. The first five verses read:
My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
This section shows that if I diligently search for wisdom, if I apply my heart to understanding and if I regard wisdom as something precious, then I will come to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. The second verse speaks of the heart, which in the Old Testament was seen as the seat of both will and reason. So what this passage says is that I need to understand God with more than just my mind. I need to know and understand Him with my whole life; I need to know Him in a deep and personal way. The knowledge of God, who is perfect in every respect, is the basis for all morality. The more I come to know and understand God the more I will be able to discern right from wrong.
In this passage we see both human responsibility to search for knowledge and God’s grace to grant it. God is the one who gives wisdom and the one who helps preserve those who are wise. When I diligently search for His wisdom He will provide it, helping me to understand “righteousness and justice and equity, every good path.”
Verses 10 through 22 speak of what will happen when wisdom fills my heart and mind and when it becomes pleasant to my soul. Discretion will preserve me as I learn to use my understanding to make right decisions. I will be able to discern evil and turn from it before it has a chance to consume me. Understanding will protect me from people who would seek to lead me in a way that leads me from God. It will protect me from immortal relationships which lead to death. Death, of course, does not refer to physical death but to a departure from the road the leads to life. It refers to the inevitability of spiritual death if I continue on the path.
The final three verses speak briefly about the blessings of a life of wisdom and obedience. Using language that Jewish people, familiar with God’s covenants with His people would understand, it reads “For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.” Throughout the Old Testament God blesses His people with land which foreshadows heaven. When God says someone will be cut off from the land, He indicates that they will have no inheritance in heaven. So this passage does not speak about earthly wealth and blessings but about rewards in heaven.
The objective for this study is to learn godly wisdom and discernment. Based on this chapter, here is what I have learned from Proverbs 2:
- Wisdom is a choice. There is a human element to it whereby we are responsible to search for it.
- Wisdom is a blessing. There is a divine element to it whereby God will dispense wisdom to those who diligently seek it. Wisdom belongs to God as He is the ultimate source of all wisdom.
- Wisdom allows me to understand God. I need to understand Him with my heart, my mind and every part of my life.
- Wisdom will grant me understanding and discernment to know good from evil and to keep my way straight. A life of wisdom will ensure me heavenly blessings.