A STUDY OF WISE LIVING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
The Personal Benefits of Wisdom
Proverbs 2 SCC 6/7/15
GOD’S APPEAL IS TO DILIGENTLY SEARCH FOR WISDOM 1-4
Wisdom does not arrive automatically. It is not there one day and then materializes the next. God makes it abundantly clear that wisdom must be wooed and cultivated. There are at least two things we must comprehend about this pursuit.
First, the search requires constant meditation 1-3
Notice the description of the search—to receive, to store up, to turn one’s ear, apply one’s heart, and call out for insight, to gaze and to hunt. Since wisdom is constantly needed it must be relentlessly stalked.
1. It’s done with a receptive spirit 1
It all begins with receiving the teaching of wisdom. James 1: 21 gives the same command. We are to ‘put out the welcome mat’ for wisdom’s instruction.
2. It’s done with a desire to be influenced 2
To ‘store up’ implies that much of wise instruction cannot be used immediately. Some time will pass before these educations effects are applied and felt. In the meantime it will develop attitudes and influence actions that impact one’s future. You must want its presence in your life.
3. It’s done with an attentive perspective 3
This perspective calls for patience. It will take time for wisdoms effects to show themselves so stay the course and establish this instruction in your life. How does one do this?
A. Hear Wisdom’s Teaching—The Ear
The ear is the instrument that listens and perceives correctly so that the instruction can be applied appropriately in life. The ear hears the teaching.
B. Understand Wisdom’s Teaching—The Heart
The heart is the instrument of mental processing where learning and understanding take root. So the heart and mind digests the instruction and turns it into understanding.
C. Pursue Wisdom’s Teaching—The Voice
The voice is the instrument of inquiry into what is actually true knowledge. If understanding is illusive the disciple raises his or her voice to a strident pitch for inquiry into understanding the truth.
Second, the search requires diligence v 4
The character of this ardent search for wisdom and understanding is such that both the value of this treasure and the diligence required to encounter it is meticulous—like exploring hidden treasure.
NB: So this is not a learned behavior like tradition keeping or practicing religious rituals. Wisdom is only found after it is hotly pursued for years with the determination of the dogged search of a treasure hunter. So why does God make such an appeal? At least two reasons for this kind of search…
SEARCHING FOR WISDOM IS HOW YOU FIND GOD 5-8
Here is the underlying premise for the diligent pursuit of wisdom. This is the direct consequence. There are two of these beginning with the word ‘then’ in v 5 and 9.
First, you will understand the fear of the Lord 5
Solomon believes that wisdom originates in God and is defined by God, so it can only be obtained by pursuing the fear of God. When you seek wisdom you find God and deeper insight into fearing God. The fear of God is fright plus respect combined for effecting obedience. Love for God is agreement with God. The fear of God is for disagreement with God.
Second, you will gain knowledge about God 5
The knowledge of God is ‘knowledge about God’. It includes obedience, devotion and loyalty to God. Coupled with fear of the Lord the disciple follows God’s moral code. Knowing God takes diligent effort. You cannot just peruse the pages of Scripture and expect to know God. It takes study. It takes time. It takes accuracy and precision. Paul says Be diligent…handling accurately the word of truth 2 T 2:15.
1. This is knowledge that God is the source of wisdom and knowledge 6
This pursuit of knowledge inevitably leads to God who is the source of wisdom and knowledge—it comes from His mouth. Today that is in the form of the revelation in Scripture. This is the only source of our knowledge of God, His character, His will, His ways, His purpose and His mind and heart.
2. This is knowledge of God’s reservoir of wisdom that powerfully protects the righteous 7-8
A. This wisdom delivers abiding success to the upright v 7
This reservoir of sound wisdom, true knowledge and insight, enables one to achieve and be protected successfully in life. It keeps one out of chaos and develops order and structure.
B. This wisdom protects and provides for the righteous v 8
God is capable with His wisdom to protect the entire enterprise of the righteous life. Divine provision and protection is prepared for the devout.
NB: God is ‘all in’ with the righteous life. This is the realm of favor, honor, provision, hope, joy and strength for living. Move as close to the ‘heart of God’ as you potentially can. That’s where life is found.
SEARCHING FOR WISDOM DEVELOPS THE CAPACITY TO DISCERN WITH MORAL INSIGHT 9-11
This second consequence of the diligent pursuit of wisdom is the knowledge of how life usually works out and the application of that understanding in every life situation. Here is how it works.
First, your lifestyle will lead to what is morally good 9
The course of a person’s life—every good course or path—regularly leads in the direction of what is pleasing to God. That is always on the horizon. Paul says, to be pleasing to Him 2 Cor 5:9.
Second, assimilated wisdom makes doing right delightful 10
Wisdom and knowledge are not cursory interests. There is a preoccupation with these that is attractive and attracting. When one is assimilating wisdom doing right becomes attractive.
Third, assimilated wisdom manifests discretion 11
Wisdom and understanding save a good man or woman from the consequences of naïveté. Discretion and discernment protect you from being corrupt.
NB: One must lean hard on God’s revelation today to perceive with moral insight. We no longer have any reinforcement from our culture or society. Today evil is called good and good evil. God’s people need moral insight to protect themselves and their disciples else we become sympathetic of moral evil.
Here is what this searched and assimilated wisdom does for you…
ASSIMILATED WISDOM PROTECTS FROM EVIL WAYS 12-19
First, it protects you from the perversity of evil 12
We must avoid the entanglement with moral wickedness. This is the first of two examples of protection from moral evil. Perverse things are things that turn sensible and right things upside down like the sexual revolution is attempting to do today.
1. Evildoers pursue a walk in darkness 13
Their purpose is to deliberately walk in ways of darkness. They abandon the straight way and carve a crooked one dark, ignorant, sinful and oppressive. There is no illumination just blindness to moral insight, as in our education system and entertainment industry today.
2. Evildoers delight in doing what is morally evil 14
In fact they find joy in the perversity of the topsy-turvy immoral landscape. They delight in doing evil and its perversity. Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually Gen 6:5—and so today.
3. Evildoers perverted ways are twisted and devious 15
So they are constantly turning aside to wrong ways with a twisted and devious purpose. Some are deliberately so and others are swept away by the influence of these agitators.
NB: So the disciple needs wisdom for protection from those turning the Lord’s way upside down drawing others into creating moral chaos.
Second, it protects you from the seduction of temptation 16
Here is the need for deliverance from seduction personified by a strange woman. There is more to come about her but temptation comes dressed as a prostitute. She is estranged from decency as an unfortunate casualty of perverse morals.
1. This seductress is wayward and loose morally 17
Temptation always has loose morals. Temptation has no scruples. Whatever it takes to seduce you into its arms will do. Assimilated wisdom is your only hope. She is subtle in her appeals—flattery.
2. This seductress ways spiral downward 18
There is no life with the seductress. She only takes. Her path leads downward until it destroys the life—the exact opposite of vitality, happiness, and prosperity of wisdom and wise living.
3. This seductress will destroy by death 19
Inevitably, the fate of her course of life is to be among the departed in the realm of the dead where only the grave is destiny. The chaos of temptation and its seduction is destruction, death and judgment.
NB: Getting entangled with moral perversions or seductive attractions are the way of the world. It is Hollywood. It is Wall Street. It is the marketplace of ideas. It is education system. It is the media. The paths of life will never be available to you with worldly wisdom.
ASSIMILATED WISDOM ENABLES RIGHTEOUS LIVING 20-22
First, the wise calibrate their lives by the lives of righteous people 20
Verse 20 gives us one way to avoid the paths of the evil men. That path is to walk with good men. Avoid evil people like the plague and find good ones to hang around with.
Second, acquired wisdom enables one to enjoy security and prosperity 21-22
Verses 21-22 are one of those promises only true of Israelites living in the land of Israel under the theocracy that God prescribed with the Mosaic Law. We do not observe in the countries of the world today the wicked … cut off from the land. Of course, they will be after the Second Coming of Christ, but before then, they will increase until they become Revelation chapter 18.
1. Pursuing wisdom must be a life long quest for a devoted follower of Christ. Wise living, the application of wisdom is not an option if you want a productive life—one that avoids the pitfalls of fools.
2. Wisdom is not wisdom until it is translated into the way you conduct your life, set your priorities, manage your life circumstances or determine your lifestyle. There is no benefit in knowing about wisdom.
3. There is absolutely nothing in the world but worldly wisdom and that wisdom is morally evil, perverse and destructive. The wisdom of the world and the wisdom of God cannot be networked for the best of possible worlds. One leads to death—the other to life. If you don’t believe that you will destroy yourself.