May 28, 2015.
Daily Reading: Proverbs 2-3.
Background: Proverbs 1.
Concepts and Connections.
The value of wisdom: After introducing wisdom in the first chapter, the book continues by describing the value of wisdom here. Before her value is revealed, however, notice the insistence on the need for seeking and searching for wisdom. Wisdom does not come easily, nor does it come swiftly. Wisdom must be learned, even experienced many times, before she can be mastered. We are assured, however, that if we truly seek out wisdom, then we will find it through the fear of the Lord (see Proverbs 1:7 and Matthew 7:7-8). True wisdom comes through this understanding, for it is the Lord who gives wisdom (see James 3:13-18). It is He who will teach the wise justice and righteousness, knowledge and discretion, understanding and integrity. Though His wisdom will the wise be delivered from evil men with perverted speech who’s paths are crooked. The wise will learn recognize the smooth, manipulative words of the adulterous woman and be delivered from her ploy. The integrity of the wise and righteous will inhabit the land, but the wicked will be cut off in their lack of wisdom.
1. Trust in the Lord: The beginning of this chapter contains what is perhaps the most well known passages of the book, emphasizing the need to trust in the Lord instead of in oneself. The opening line gives one purpose of finding wisdom, and that is to prolong life and peace, at least in a general sense. This peace, this wisdom, however, can only come through complete trust in the Lord. We must allow Him to guide our steps and cannot be wise in our own eyes. Our focus must be on the Lord and the wisdom and understanding that comes from Him (see James 3:13-18). Notice the focus on honoring and trusting God in this chapter, acknowledging Him in all that we do. We are to give of our first fruits to the Lord that He might return the blessing on us (compare with Malachi 3:10). And just like a father disciplines a child, so we must not despise the Lord’s discipline for us, as it allows us to mature in Him. Let us trust Him in all that we do, for He cares about us.
2. The blessing of wisdom: The value of wisdom is recapped in this section in a slightly different tone, focusing more this time on the individual who has found wisdom as opposed to wisdom itself. We see that gaining wisdom is to be valued above gold and silver, more precious than jewels and anything we desire. Some of the general promises of wisdom include long life, riches and honor, a path to pleasantness and peace. Through wisdom was the earth created by the Lord, and by knowledge do its processes continue. What a blessing to be offered the wisdom from above that founded the earth.
3. The way of wisdom: Once wisdom and understanding are obtained, measures should be taken so that they are not lost that we might walk securely and not stumble. We should not be afraid, for wisdom comes through trust in the Lord, and this trust should cast out all fear of anything outside of Him. Through wisdom, the Lord will be our confidence, that we know that He will protect us. Because of His righteousness, there is a social justice aspect to wisdom, or how we should treat other people. Most of the social justice here has to do with being honest with those around us- doing good for people when it is within our means, immediately helping people when we can and not planning evil against our neighbor. This sounds very similar to Jesus’ teachings on the greatest commands (see Matthew 22:36-40). Wisdom tells us to work to be at peace with men, not seeking to fight for no reason or being envious of the one who does evil. There are several dichotomies at the end of this chapter to contrast the wise and the foolish through the judgment of the Lord. Let us ever seek the wisdom from above to discern the right paths in life.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Jeremiah 42-46.
Pray for wisdom.