On Sunday I preached from Proverbs 2:1-22 (you can listen to the sermon HERE). This is another great passage pointing to value of wisdom. Quickly, the passage lays out according to key words that are easily discerned:
- If… if… if… (2:1-4)
- Then… (2:5-8)
- Then… (2:9-11)
- To deliver… (2:12-15)
- To deliver… (2:16-19)
- So… (2:20-22)
I believe the passage can be summed up like this: If you will passionately pursue God’s wisdom (2:1-4), then God will graciously give His wisdom to you (2:5-8). And, as you apply that wisdom to your life God will guard you from all sorts of unnecessary pain and heartache (2:5-11). Two great examples of the foolishness you’ll avoid by applying God’s wisdom are bad company (2:12-15) and illicit sex (2:16-19). In the end, if you’ll passionately seek God’s wisdom and apply the wisdom He gives, then you’ll walk in the way of good men (2:20-22).
Now, the real application of this passage is found in 2:1-4. That’s where the conditional clauses are found (If… If… If…) that call us to action. In my studies I ran across one little nugget I wanted to pass on to you in this regard.
In 2:1 Solomon writes,
My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you…
In his wonderful commentary on Proverbs Bruce Waltke writes concerning the word “treasure”,
“Accept” is escalated to store up (or treasure), which means, with the accusative of a thing, to hide or conceal for a definite purpose (cf. Ps. 119:11). That notion entails that one treasure that which he stores (see 2:4; 10:14; Job 15:20; 21:19; Hos. 13:12). The metaphor signifies to memorize with religious affection Solomon’s “sound bites” in order to have them ready when the occasion demands them (cf. 5:2; 7:1; 22:18; cf. Job 23:12; Ps. 119:11).
Memorize with religious affection. That phrase stood out to me. So did have them ready when the occasion demands them. Because of this I encouraged my congregation to Pick 10. I challenged them to work through Proverbs, particularly starting in chapter 10 when the shorter, one-verse Proverbs begin, and choose 10 that would be really good for them to have on the ready. Not 10 that would be good for their spouse! Not 10 that would be good for their kids! Rather, 10 that would be good for them! Then, I encouraged them to memorize them with religious affection.
Might this be a good exercise for you? Might there be 10 Proverbs (or more!) that you need to store up and make a greater part of your life? Maybe you need a Proverb related to anger, maybe your mouth, or maybe listening to reproof. Maybe you could use a Proverb related to lust, maybe pride, or honesty in the workplace. How about child-rearing, handling your money, or the avoidance of laziness? There are hundreds of Proverbs to consider, and many of them are perfectly tailored for you.
These nuggets of eternal wisdom are gifts from God that can lead us to life! But, if 2:1-4 teaches us anything, we must actively pursue this wisdom—we won’t drift into it.
To close, notice how Solomon sounds a lot like Waltke in 22:17-18 (or maybe Waltke sounds a lot like Solomon!),
Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
Waltke said, “… in order to have them ready when the occasion demands them.” Solomon said, “… That they may be ready on your lips.”
Will you be ready?