The Pursuit, Reward, and Reason for Wisdom: Proverbs 2:1-22

SERMON NOTES:

There is a flow to Proverbs 2 that is beautiful. 

Identity/Pursuit/Reward/Reason/Results

The “if/then/for/so” relationship we see here in Proverbs 2 shows a reciprocal cycle of fearing God, finding wisdom, seeking more wisdom, knowing more of God and how God works in the world, and thus gaining more wisdom.. 

The fear of Yhwh is where wisdom begins, but God does not just drop it in our lap as a normal course of action. 

We can find an example in Solomon where God just graciously gives an ocean of wisdom when he asked for it. 

No doubt we have in the Bible the instruction to ask God for wisdom when we lack it. So we do. And we expect God to answer. 

We also take the instruction to ask along with what we find today, and that is that God works through our asking to give some manner of desire to go after wisdom with great and joyous effort. 

Fear of the Lord + Asking God + Disciplined pursuit = Wisdom Gained

“Identity” – Pursuing wisdom is going deeper into being a child of God. Proverbs 2:1

  1. “My son”
    1. Daughters and sons of God pursue wisdom. 
    2. The pursuit of God’s wisdom is something that can chiefly be done by those who are God’s people. 
      1. NOTE: Because God has revealed himself in creation not for salvation, but for accountability and for the restraining of the curse of sin among other things, mankind may discover some of God’s ways of doing life and thrive in it. 
      2. But that is not the same as the intimate and divine and special wisdom of God revealed in relationship with him on a kingdom mission in and through the person of Jesus Christ.  

“If” – Getting wisdom requires the active pursuit of wisdom. Proverbs 2:1-4

Each of the 8 verbs in verses 1-4 are in the active voice. This means that they are not in the passive voice. 

The active voice focuses on the action to be done by the subject. 

This means that the subject of the verbs must be actively doing the action (focus on the action) in order to get the results of the action. 

What does it look like to actively pursue wisdom? What actions has God ordained to bring about the fruit of wisdom?

  1. Receive…to grasp the instructor’s words v. 1
  2. Treasure up…to hide the instructor’s commandments in our soul  v. 1
    1. 1 & 2 are the application of our intellect to wisdom and the desire to hold on to it as valuable. 
  3. Attentive…to pay attention to the teacher v. 2
  4. Inclining…to make oneself receptive v. 2
    1. 3 & 4 are giving oneself to the process of learning. Listening and making sure we are able to hear and receive. We talk less and listen more. 
  5. Call out…to call/shout out (full of emotion) v. 3
  6. Raise…to put one’s voice toward v. 3
    1. 5 & 6 are passionately raising one’s voice in asking for wisdom and working it out with our teacher. 
  7. Seek…to make effort to possess v. 4
  8. Search…to look for as in searching for treasure v. 4
    1. 7 & 8 are like “The Curse of Oak Island”. Seeking is doing the research. Searching is actually putting a shovel in the ground to dig. 
      1. Getting wisdom requires the hard work of learning and application in trial and error. 

“Then” – Wisdom comes with reward. Proverbs 2:5, 9

  1. We understand the fear of Yhwh.
  2. We get to know God more. 
  3. Then we understand:
    1. Righteousness
    2. Justice
    3. Equity
    4. Every good path
      1. We can’t “paint in broad strokes” and walk in wisdom. God, who made the atom, works that kind of nuance into all things in created order, and it takes wisdom to walk that out. 

When we fear God and seek his wisdom, we then get more God and we begin to understand his way on the earth. 

“For” – Reasons to pursue wisdom. Proverbs 2:6-8, 10-15

  1. Because God actually gives wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. V. 6
  2. Yhwh stores up sound wisdom for the righteous, and shields those who will walk in integrity. V. 7
  3. Yhwh guards the path of justice. V. 8 
  4. Yhwh watches over the way of his people who live in his wisdom and guard his justice on earth as it is done in heaven. V. 8
  5. Wisdom is pleasant. V. 10 
  6. Wisdom provides discretion. V. 11
    1. Discretion is the trait of judging shrewdly and objectively. 
  7. Wisdom delivers us from the way of evil. V. 12
    1. Matthew 6:13 (ESV) And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

NOTE: Every year I get through my bible reading plan (NT and Psalms 2x and OT 1x), I’m convinced that Jesus and the writers of the NT are just preaching and applying the OT. I used to see the NT separate and more complete from the OT. That’s false. 

“So” – Results of getting wisdom. Proverbs 2:16-22

  1. Deliverance from the adulterous call of darkness. V 16-19
    1. Proverbs 1:20 – Wisdom cries out to us. 
    2. Proverbs 9:13-18 – Folly is loud and calls out to passersby. 
      1. NOTE: Solomon is speaking to his son, so he uses the appropriate gender. 
      2. If Solomon were addressing his daughter, he would be telling his daughter to watch out for the adulterous man.
    3. Not that actually adultery is not his point, but there is enough content here to say that Solomon is contrasting the call of wisdom to God’s way of life with the call of folly to the way of darkness and death, and Solomon likens folly’s call to the allure of adultery. 
      1. All through the prophets, they will compare Israel’s sin to the act of adultery.
      2. I believe this is the same.   
    4. Solomon is telling us that wisdom will deliver us from being sucked into the dark kingdom’s call that will cause spiritual unfaithfulness to God and ultimately death.
  1. We will walk in the good way of God not the treacherous way of folly. V. 20-22
    1. The main verb of verse 20-22 is “walk in the way”.
      1. He states the second result in the positive rather than the negative of verse 16-19. 
    2. The treacherous are going to be cut off. 
      1. Treacherous is the participle. It’s a verbal adjective. 
      2. It’s describing the faithless activity of those who are not walking God’s good way and thus being faithless to God’s standard and way.  

Application

  1. Who is a present and active spiritual father/mother/co-laborer/friend in your life that is showing you the way of wisdom in the fear of the Lord?
  2. Who are you teaching the fear of the Lord and it’s application as wisdom?
  3. Every voice speaking to you (commercials, people, politicians, websites) has a spiritual influence for either good or ill. How are those voices affecting your soul and your decision making?
  4. What are some examples you can call to mind where the call of God’s wisdom was clearly contrasted with the call of foolishness? 
  5. How hard are you seeking wisdom? What does that look like compared to Proverbs 2:1-4?
  6. What are some ways wisdom has delivered you?
  7. What are some ways wisdom has caused you to walk in God’s good way?

If you are not in Christ today, there is only so much wisdom you can get from observing God’s order in creation. 

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 (ESV) And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

The full revelation of the fear of the Lord and its application in wisdom is only had in Jesus. 

Come to him by faith to know God and unlock the treasures of God’s way. 

Corporate Prayer

Ezekiel 36:37-38 (ESV) “Thus says the Lord GOD: This also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them: to increase their people like a flock. 38 Like the flock for sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

  1. Increase our people
  2. Increase our holiness
  3. Increase our sending

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