The counsel given in the second chapter of Proverbs begins with the word “if”: if you do the following…
So before we can have or experience the following, we must first understand and apply the former.
So what is it that we are to do?
Receive His words: It is one thing to have the wise counsel, and it is another to receive it, to take it in, to do it. “To not be hearers only but doers of the word.” (James 1:20)
Treasure up His commands: Do you highly value the commands of God? Are they more important to you than other things? The Psalmist says it well saying, the Law of the Lord is “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10). This is a view that says God’s word is more valuable than the most valuable things of our day.
Make attentive you ear to wisdom: Are you making time to hear wise teaching? The action of making attentive is an action you must do. It is not something that just happens. Are you making time to listen to good preaching and hear the word of God?
Incline your heart to understanding: Similar to the last, the action of inclining your heart to understanding is one you must do. You must lean your heart in to not just hearing the truths of God and of the wise counsel of godly men but to understanding it.
Call out for insight: Do you ask for counsel? Do you invite others who are more mature in faith to speak into your life? This is a humble and needed practice for the follower of Christ.
“If” you do these things… if you practice these things, if you value these things… verse 5 brings the application by saying “THEN.”
1. “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord”: The prize for these disciplines is a “right understanding of the fear of the Lord.” Why is this such a great prize? The answer is much bigger than we might first think. A right understanding of the fear of the Lord is essential for right living. A lack of understanding of the fear the Lord is to live arrogantly or pridefully. It means we struggle in sin to have too high a view of our ourselves and too low a view of God. We are desperate for a right and reverent view of God. If you think about the areas of life where you struggle in sin, it is likely linked to a lack of reverent fear of the Lord.
We live and operate all too often with a flippant view of God as we do what we please. This is a why a true understanding of the fear of the Lord is good and helpful for life and faith.
2. Then you “will find the knowledge of God”: The second thing we are awarded is a finding of the knowledge of God. There is no greater knowledge. There is no higher insight that blesses the life of the believer than a true knowledge of God.
See, the road to the knowledge of God is a study of, a valuing, a meditating on the truths of God and the counsel of the godly.
In verses 6-8, we read that those who walk in His truths are not only given knowledge and understanding, but we are guarded and watched over. This is truly good news and a beautiful picture of the hand of God upon us.
In verse 9, we are given the third “Then.”
3. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path: Insight into these things of God is a wonderful blessing. To know, even better, to understand righteousness and justice and equity is to know the “right path,” the right way. This is good news. To know the right way is to have the light.
Do you undervalue knowing the right way? Do you practice and invest in the things of God so that you can grow in your understanding of God and the ways of God? Brother/sister, this should be something we truly desire and chase after.
Verses 10-22 go on to flesh out the life change this brings to us. We will no longer walk in our evil or misguided ways but walk upright and honor God. We will turn from our former ways and inhabit the land of our God and remain in it.
The entirety of Proverbs chapter 2 is making a much needed point of clarity and emphasis that we need to practice learning, listening, seeking, adhering to and acting on the commands of God and the counsel of the godly. This will lead us down the road of ongoing growth and maturity, as we move from sinful and selfish ways to right fear of God and knowledge of His ways and truths.
Don’t let the simplicity of this counsel pass you by today. Be introspective about how you are doing about making these things a regular and normal part of life. Consider the following:
Are you daily studying the word of God?
Are you weekly sitting under sound biblical preaching?
Are you regularly reading solid books and listening to sermon audio to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His word?
Are you inviting mature godly believers whom you trust to speak openly and regularly into your life and to give you good counsel as you go about life?
These simple practices can often be overlooked but are essential for maturing in the faith and living in the fullness of the things promised here in Proverbs 2. May this wisdom become practical and useful for us this week and beyond as we continue in the Lord.