As we begin chapter two of Proverbs, we note that once again the author is addressing their child. Chapter one ended with words from Wisdom herself, challenging us to heed her call. Chapter two begins to point out some more of the benefits of finding wisdom, and we would do well to build this foundation in our hearts prior to tackling the more familiar short and punchy proverbs.
My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,Proverbs 2:1-4 (NIV)
Count how many times “if” appears in those four verses… go on, go ahead…
Three times. And three times does it suggest that we have a choice about whether we take on wisdom or not.
I mentioned in my post on Saturday – Is it worth it? – that in my day job I am a statistician. Part of my work involves computer programming, and anyone familiar with that will be aware of the “If statement.” This is a way of telling a computer that if this happens, then do that. It is a basic building block of many programs.
In a similar way, these verses tell us that if we do certain things, we will get particular results.
We are to accept the words of the teacher of wisdom, and that extends to all the Word of God in my view. We must accept what we are taught from Scripture, taking it on board and making definite decisions to put it into practice in our lives.
Having accepted the words of wisdom, we must then store them up in our hearts. This is more than just remembering, although that is certainly part of it. To store God’s Word in our hearts is to be so saturated in it, that it becomes our true nature.
For example, when Christ was nailed to the cross, He did not say a great deal. Most of what HE said though, cries of anguish and pain, were largely direct quotes from the Scripture. When we find ourselves in times of testing or pain, our true self is revealed. If you hit your thumb with a hammer, what erupts from your mouth is likely what you have stored in your heart. When Jesus was put under the greatest pressure there was, His true self was revealed, and that was the Word of God.
Verse two tells us to turn our ear to wisdom, which is to give it our full attention. Sometimes, when reading my Bible, I guiltily admit that I do not give it my full attention. I read the words, but they do not penetrate my heart. I have not given them my ear, and allowed them into my inner man. Unless I do this, I have little hope of “applying my heart to understanding” as the remainder of the verse says. We first turn our ear to it, then apply our heart by meditating on it.
The next “if” we encounter, in verse three, urges us to call out for wisdom and understanding. In chapter one, we recall wisdom herself shouting out in the streets for us to come to her. Now, we cry in return for her insight. Wisdom is freely given if we diligently seek it.
#Wisdom is freely given if we diligently seek it #Bible #Proverbs #ChristianityTweet
What does it mean to cry out or call for wisdom? This is not a literal command of course, but endeavours to urge us to action. We recall James’ letter telling us to ask God for wisdom, and so we do. Let us not ask passively though, just expecting God to do all the work, let us each engage with Him and His teaching to fully obtain understanding.
Closing out this post with verse four, we see the third and final “if.” This is a challenging one too.
We should not seek wisdom half-heartedly, but seek it as if we were looking for “hidden treasure.”
You hear stories of people spending their entire lives searching for some long-lost treasure, giving up their time, money and more to try to find it. They seek the glory of being the one to solve the puzzle, and the wealth that comes from the gems, gold or the rest.
That kind of passion and energy is what we ought to use to seek after wisdom.
I used to say “I want to play the violin…” but I later realised that is not true. I do want to be able to play it, but I do not want to put in the many hours it takes to learn it. The same is true for learning a language; I always said I wanted to learn a language, and yet have never set aside the time or resources to actually fulfil that “want.” If someone would wave a wand over me and it would happen, then great, but I am not actually willing to invest in it to make it so.
We say we want wisdom, and to live in a discerning manner – but do we? Do we mean, like my violin example, I would take wisdom if someone just put it in my heart, or do we instead mean I will put in the time, the prayer, the study and the effort to make it so.
Lastly, when we write an if statement on the computer, we must say what we want the computer to do when it encounters that situation. If we do this, then what will happen? If we seek after wisdom in this wholehearted way, then what will be the result? Find out next time…
Thanks, as ever, for reading!
9 thoughts on “If Wisdom (Proverbs 2:1-4)”
Excellent post Andy! I particularly liked :
“Having accepted the words of wisdom, we must then store them up in our hearts. This is more than just remembering, although that is certainly part of it. To store God’s Word in our hearts is to be so saturated in it, that it becomes our true nature.”
Indeed I shared this profound gem on Twitter. This series is proving to be a blessing worth reading over again, thank you brother. May our Father God bless you in this coming week. 🙏
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Thank you very much Alan. You are such an encouragement to me. And thanks also for sharing, it really does make a difference. God bless you richly
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“If you hit your thumb with a hammer, what erupts from your mouth is likely what you have stored in your heart.”
You hit the nail on the headz so to speak. And it is utterly true – when we’re at weakest, how so we come across?!?
A truly painful point to consider, but if were serious about becoming more like Jesus, it is a critical one.
What do we desire to become more like? And , as your perfectly illustrated, where is it that we want to put the time in…
Excellent post Andy. Truly!!
Amen 🙏🏾. I liked reading about saturation in the word which is the only way. I totally agree with your IF statements because people have said that they want to know God and be close to Him but have no intention to study the word and spend the required time in His presence to really get to know Him. They think a minister can lay hands on them and transfer the knowledge or ‘anointing’ or by getting close to someone who knows God, that it will be automatic. Proximity helps at times because we learn from others but we have to be willing to do the work ourselves. How much do we truly desire to know and experience God?
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Yes, very true! We want the blessing, but not the work and responsibility that goes along with it.
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