Proverbs 2:1-5

“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.”

Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV

NOTE: We are working through these five verses section by section. We covered the first point here.

The second condition: If we want to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (vs. 5), the second thing we must do is make our ears attentive to wisdom and incline our hearts to understanding. This is a matter of intentionality.

We need to actively pursue wisdom and understanding by intentionally listening for wisdom. But, this is unlikely to happen if we don’t, first, shape our hearts. In this context, Solomon isn’t suggesting we stand at the bus stop and listen in to the conversations of random people. While there can certainly be a circumstance or occasion in which we could gain wisdom this way, I think Solomon has something different in mind. His point is not to look for random opportunities to gain wisdom. Rather, he’s suggesting we intentionally shape our hearts toward receiving wisdom, then actively listening for wisdom.

Making our ears attentive to wisdom is a heart matter and a personal discipline. The personal discipline element is built upon a heart commitment to listen, to receive instruction and correction. Later (13:1), he describes this heart/ear connection like this: “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”

How can you shape your heart to be receptive to wisdom? How can you train your ear to listen to wisdom?

Proverbs 2:1-5

“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.”

Proverbs 2:1-5 ESV

This is a beautifully constructed “if … then” proverb. In other words, if you do this, then this will happen. When I notice an if/then statement, I often jump to the “then” clause to see the payoff. Sometimes I disregard the conditions altogether, focusing only on the benefit I expect to receive. Of course that approach is silly. How can I expect the benefit(s) of an if/then statement if I give no attention to the conditions of that statement?

In this proverb the payoff is huge: “then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” This should be the active goal of every person. But what are the conditions? We will work through them one at a time.

The first condition: If you want to understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God, the first thing you need to do, the writer says, is “receive my word and treasure up my commandments with you.” These are heart matters. We need hearts that are receptive to wisdom, seeking wisdom. Then, we need to recognize the value of wisdom (i.e., treasure). Do you think of wisdom simply as something that would be good to have or is it an essential thing. This proverb suggests that we need to see wisdom as essential. The writer reiterates this thought in 7:1. “My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you.”

How is your heart condition as it relates to wisdom? Are you ready to receive it and treasure it?

Proverbs 2:6

“For the Lord gives wisdom;

    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;”

Proverbs 2:6 ESV

In this modern age it is easy to forget the simplicity of this proverb. The first source of knowledge is God. If we forget that, nothing else really matters.

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