” 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. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” (Proverbs 2:1-8, ESV)
Part 2 / We saw in Part 1 that spiritual maturity is not a matter of getting a sudden growth-jolt at a special meeting or seminar. Nor does it come by merely being around spiritual matters. Nor does it just happen. We must pursue it. Growing in God’s wisdom takes effort. It takes an investment of time and right labor. But as the balance of this passage reveals, the benefits are big. In fact, what is quite certain is that a number of the benefits listed, are the very ones most of us – while still spiritually immature – cry out after most. In this case, we need to stop whining about what we do not have, and begin to use the tools God has appointed for obtaining them – to secure them for ourselves. We looked at those tools in Part 1. Now we look at the benefits. [CLICK FOR THE REST BELOW]
1. THEN, you will understand THE FEAR OF THE LORD. (vs. 5) If the fear of the Lord is the very beginning of knowledge (Prov. 1:7), then this is how we come to it. The pursuit laid out for us in the first part of this chapter is the very means to gain this fear. Combine the two and you have this simple reality – I cannot know God rightly, unless I pursue the knowledge of Him the way He has appointed. You cannot know anyone, let alone God, apart from taking the steps necessary to understand their heart and mind and values and goals and desires. And we cannot know these things about God apart from the diligent searching out of His Word by the aid of the Holy Spirit. The amount of the Bible you are willing to leave un-mined – is directly proportional to the amount of God you are unwilling to know, and willing to do without. Note this verse begins with “THEN” – THEN you will understand, and not until.
2. THEN, you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path. (vs. 9) Why do we fail to understand fully the need for the cross? Why do we not know the depths of our sinfulness sin better, or prize the glory of His imputed righteousness more? Why do we still think Hell is somehow unjust or the bestowal of God’s free grace unfair? Because we do not yet know Him well enough in his Word. Philosophical explanations of these issues is utterly useless. Only the revelation of God in Jesus Christ in the Word – only a vision of Him wrought in the soul by the Spirit energizing the Word can do it. “Discretion” watches over the one who is so given to know God in His Word. Here, is how we are delivered “from the way of evil.” (vss. 11-15)
3. SO, you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.” (vs. 16) Temptation is cunning, sly and deadly. And none understand its ways nor the tactics to overcome it but those who search out for these weapons in God’s Word as though their very lives depended upon it. Every new temptation takes on nuances that only God’s Word can counter at every step. In God’s Word “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (Psalm 18:34, ESV) “The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.” (Exodus 15:3, ESV)
4. SO YOU WILL, walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of righteousness. (vs. 20) Is this what you desire? Then use the means God has given you to obtain it. It is not natural to our fallen nature. It must be learned. It must be appropriated. It must be studied and practiced. It must be searched out refined. And it is all in His Word.