A DETECTIVE’S SEARCH IN PROVERBS–PART 2
When I was growing up as a child, one of my favorite things to do during school vacations was to go to Saturday matinees at the local movie house. I would ask my mom if she would give me a dollar to go (yeah I know…a dollar?) and she would always say “Mel, IF… you mow the lawn this morning, THEN you can go this afternoon.” There was always the “IF” and “THEN” after my asking. Sometimes after I had finished a particular task, if she had the extra change, she would surprise me with some “treat” money i.e.; Bonbons, Popcorn, Milk duds…to enjoy during the movies.
SOLOMON S “IF s” and “THEN s” — Proverbs 2:
MY SON, IF you will receive my words and treasure up my commandments within you,  Making your ear attentive to skillful and godly Wisdom and inclining and directing your heart and mind to understanding [applying all your powers to quest for it];  Yes IF you cry out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,  IF you seek [Wisdom] as for silver and search for skillful and godly Wisdom as for hidden treasures,  THEN you will understand the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God” [Prov. 1:7] (Proverbs 2:1-5 AMP).
As we begin reading the second chapter of Proverbs, we see how Solomon describes the BENEFITS from seeking after WISDOM…with an admonition to search WISDOM with ALL DILIGENCE (Proverbs 2:1-4).
He then gives us a list of the benefits COMING FROM THAT SEARCH in Proverbs 2:5-22 [The benefits of seeking after Wisdom are found only if we SEEK with proper disposition].
Mowing lawns, taking trash cans on a wagon for a block to the front street…with the WRONG TEMPERAMENT, an emotional out burst would always would bring disappointment–and a Eucalyptus ‘switch’ mom would strip the leaves from and use on my backside. Tough love? Maybe, but my learning, my knowledge and my wisdom grew from my mother’s words. I quickly learned that responsibility and my efforts were rewarded with benefits; spending money, a Good Humor 50/50 bar when I heard the sound of music playing from the ice cream man a block away (I never had an “allowance” growing up).
QUALITIES OF A DILIGENT SEARCH FOR WISDOM:
As explained by Solomon then…it requires a willingness (Proverbs 2:1). A WILLINGNESS to be receptive to the words of others and to TREASURE (highly value and remember) the command of WISDOM.
It Requires An Engagement (Prov. 2:2-3):
1. An engagement of the EAR–(willing to hear and pay attention).
2. An engagement of the HEART–(willing to understand).
3. An engagement of the MOUTH–(willing to ‘cry out’; The Hebrew word used is za’ ag; “not in a normal volume.”
It requires a high estimation (Prov. 2:4) in SEEKING and SEARCHING. With the same fervor as seeking for silver and other hidden treasure. Sort of like a ‘Word Detective.’ This diligent search for WISDOM requires an “all out” effort on our part.
A standing at the roadside patiently, with excitement and crying out so that everyone within radius of my cry would hear…”The ice cream man is coming, the ice cream man is coming!”
AS EXPERIENCED BY CHRISTIANS TODAY…
It requires HEARING the Word of God! [NOTE: “making your ear attentive to skillful and godly Wisdom”] (Prov. 2:2).
In the gospel according to John, JESUS says:
“The watchman opens the door for this man, and the sheep listen to his voice and heed it; and he calls his own sheep by name (leads) them out. When he has brought his own sheep outside, he walks on before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4).
Listening to preachers and teachers carefully (with all readiness):
“Now these [Jews] were better disposed and more noble than those in Thessalonica, for they were entirely READY and ACCEPTED and WELCOMED the message [concerning the attainment through Christ of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God] with inclination of mind and EAGERNESS, SEARCHING and EXAMINING the Scriptures…”When I feel like it“, “Not today, I have other plans!” NO, but “…DAILY to see if these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Studying the Bible on your own (search the Scriptures daily)–Acts 17:11.
This requires MEDITATING on Scripture; on God’s Word “daily.” What does it mean to “meditate” on something? Does it mean to READ MY BIBLE every day? YES, but even more. We need to MEDITATE! Is “meditation” like some sort of ancient religious practice where you hum, or growl and make ‘spooky’ sounds?
The Greek language uses the word meletao, primarily, “to care for” (akin to melete, “care”; cf. melei, “it is a care”), denotes (a) “to attend to, practice.” [Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary] And 1 Timothy gives us an accurate description and definition for “meditate”:
“Practice and cultivate and meditate upon these duties; throw yourself wholly into them [as your ministry], so that your progress may be evident to everybody” (1 Timothy 4:15 AMP).
If you are not hearing God’s voice lately, or never have, start re-reading His words until you do; “throw yourself wholly” into what you are reading. And it will be evident to those around you. When you start meditating on God’s word, you will be applying or directing “your heart to understanding”–Prov. 2:2.
Taking the Time:
You are going to have to start taking time to REFLECT and PONDER on His wonderful wisdom:
“Whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and loveable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]” (Philip. 4:8).
Like the Psalmist says of his MEDITATIONS in Psalm 119:97-100:
“Oh, how love I Your law! It is my MEDITATION all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies, for [Your words] are ever before me. I have better understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers, because Your testimonies are my MEDITATION. I understand more than the aged, because I keep Your precepts [hearing, receiving, loving, and obeying them].”
IT ALSO REQUIRES DILIGENT PRAYER FOR WISDOM:
NOTE: “cry out for insight and understanding” –Proverbs 2:3.
REQUIREMENT #1. We MUST ask in prayer with FAITH (James 1:5).
REQUIREMENT #2. We MUST persist in our asking (Matthew 7:7-11).
It REQUIRES the same effort that others expend in seeking material wealth; [NOTE: “seek wisdom as for silver…as for hidden treasures”] (Proverbs 2:4)
In Christ are hidden ALL.THE TREASURES OF WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE:
“In Him all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden” (Colossians 2:3 AMP).
Here is a simple test for you to take. To see if you are expending the proper effort to seek wisdom for yourself and your family.
If you worked as hard for your employer as you do seeking for God’s wisdom…would you have your job very long?
–Finding God’s wisdom today requires the same diligence it did in Solomon’s day. Is the EFFORT WORTH IT?
Let’s go now to Proverbs 2:5-22 to find out what BENEFITS are available if we remain diligent.
BENEFITS OF A DILIGENT SEARCH FOR WISDOM:
The KNOWLEDGE of God and His PROTECTION requires understanding the “FEAR of the Lord and the knowledge of God”:
“THEN you will understand the reverent and worshipful FEAR of the Lord and find the knowledge of [our omniscient] God” (Pr. 2:5).
“The reverent and worshipful FEAR of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [it’s the starting point and its essence]” (Pr. 1:7).
That KNOWLEDGE of God, whose storehouse of WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING God gives to..Pr. 2:5a-7a.
You will have God’s heaven-sent protection guiding your life. He is a shield to those who walk uprightly–Pr. 2:7b. His SHIELD is also mentioned elsewhere in Proverbs:
“Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a SHIELD to those who trust and take refuge in Him” (Proverbs 30:5).
He guards the paths of JUSTICE (which the righteous take).
“That He may guard the paths of JUSTICE” (Pr. 2:8a).
“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor moon by night. The Lord will keep you from ALL evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth” (Psalm 121:5-8).
What a blessing! To go through the rest of your life with God at your side; so close to you that His shadow is shading your presence, in any circumstance. You have to get real close to someone or some thing before their shadow is cast upon you.
MORAL DISCERNMENT (understanding) FOR LIVING:
“THEN you will UNDERSTAND RIGHTEOUSNESS, justice, and fair dealing [in every area and relation]” (Pr. 2:9a AMP).
“…yes, you will UNDERSTAND every good path” (Pr. 2:9b).
David’s prayer in the Book of Psalms addresses understanding this way:
“Cause me to HEAR Your loving kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; I flee to You to hide me. Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; let Your good spirit lead me into a level country and into the land of uprightness” (Psalm 143:8-10 AMP).
You will have great discretion (WISDOM) once it enters your heart and KNOWLEDGE is pleasant to you–(Pr. 2:10). They will preserve and keep you–(Pr. 2:11; 6:22-23). What a blessing to go through life with God’s WISDOM at your disposal!
DELIVERANCE FROM EVIL MEN…
Who speak perverse things: men who are contrary, wayward, naughty, obstinate, cussed, self-willed, unyielding, headstrong men (Pr. 2:12). Also in Acts 20:30:
“Even from among your own selves men will come to the front who, by saying perverse (distorted and corrupt) things, will endeavor to draw away disciples after them [to their own party].”
Who leave upright paths, walk in ways of darkness–Proverbs 2:13 and 2 Peter 2:20-22.
Who rejoice to do evil and delight in the perverseness of evil and delight in the perverseness of evil-Proverbs 2:24; 10:23.
Who are crooked in their ways, wayward and devious in their paths–Proverbs 2:15; Proverbs 1:10-19.
Wisdom can deliver us from evil men and their evil ways!
DELIVERANCE FROM IMMORAL WOMEN…
The seductress flatters with her words–Proverbs 2:16; 7:5-21.
The adulteress who forsakes her husband and covenant with God–Proverbs 2:17 and…
“Because the Lord was witness [to the covenant made at your marriage] between you and the wife of your youth…Yet she is your companion and the wife of your covenant [made by your marriage vows]” (Malachi 2:14 AMP).
If you are married, listen up. If you are reading this and are single…well, I’ve got some wisdom for you, too.
[SIDE-BAR by Dr. Creflo Dollar] “God designed the institution of marriage. He wants to see our communities, our churches, and our nation full of healthy, God-honoring marriages. There is no use in preaching LOVE for your neighbor when you’ve lost love for your marriage. So seek WISDOM and enjoy the benefits of the covenant relationship; between your spouse and God.” Do you believe that? Really?
WISDOM can deliver us from immoral women and their destructive ways.
ENABLEMENT FOR RIGHTEOUS LIVING…
Proverbs 2:20: “So may you WALK in the way of good men, and keep to the paths of the [consistently] RIGHTEOUS (the upright, in right standing with God).”
Psalm 23:3, 6: “He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him–not my earning it, but] for His name’s sake.  Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place>”
Proverbs 2:21: “For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the men of integrity, blameless and complete [in God’s sight], shall remain in it.”
Psalm 37:3: “TRUST (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and DO GOOD; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on His faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed.”
And last but not least: “But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the treacherous shall be rooted out of it” (Proverbs 2:22).
“Mark the blameless man and behold the upright, for there is a happy end for the man of peace. As for transgressors, they shall be destroyed together; in the end the wicked shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:37-38).
WISDOM can empower us to live more blessed, if not longer, lives on this earth!
ARE NOT THE BENEFITS OF WISDOM WORTH THE EFFORT NECESSARY TO OBTAIN IT…?
1. To KNOW God and ENJOY His providential care?
2. To OBTAIN DISCERNMENT for making the right moral choices?
3. To be DELIVERED from the ‘shenanigans’ of evil men?
4. To be ABLE TO WALK in goodness and righteousness, living lives blessed by God?
And What Is The Effort Required To Obtain God’s Wisdom…?
1. To HEAR the word of God–(“incline your ears to wisdom”).
2. To MEDITATE on the word of God–(“apply your heart to understanding”).
3. To ASK in faith for wisdom (“cry out for discernment…lift up your voice for understanding”).
4. To HIGHLY VALUE ITS WORTH (“seek her as silver…as for hidden treasures”).
With such EFFORT on our parts, we will not only find ourselves as “God’s Wise Guys” but also for daily, practical living, also find Jesus Christ:
“In Him ALL the treasures of (divine) wisdom (comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden” (Colossians 2:3 AMP).
JESUS is indeed the greatest benefit in diligently seeking WISDOM!
In the next blog, PART 3 of a study in Proverbs, we will be gazing at an Ant Farm or as some refer to it as “Ants In Your Pants.” Keep watching and keep searching in God’s WISDOM through His Word.