Proverbs 2:1-22

We live in an age when virtue is not valued.  We see people searching hard for recognition, cash, and credentials but they do not seek hard after wisdom.  How do you teach a curriculum in ‘wisdom’ and motivate someone to be wise?  There has to be more than cash incentives involved.  There has to be intrinsic motivation on the part of the child.  Too many parents either try and bribe or tell their child to make wise choices.  Of course, once these extrinsic rewards are removed the intrinsic barrenness of the child shows in their poor decision making.  A child needs to see that wisdom brings its own rewards.  This means that parents need to talk about wisdom and also live it.  Let a child see something counter-cultural.  What is the reward that most of us want to attain?  Cash, recognition, love, happiness?  The Bible promises that the beginning of wisdom is related to its end.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  However, right relationship with God is the goal of all life and comes through wise choices day by day.  If we do not want God, we need not be wise.  If we do not model a life that hungers after God, it is likely that our children will learn to be fools like us.  A recent study from Barna says that children who walk away from God in college already have their doubts by Junior High.  It is the lack of wisdom in the life of parents – the lack of fervent pursuit of God – that often turns them off.  Read today’s passage and be convinced by the rewards of wisdom.  Then convince the children in your life by practically living out a life of wisdom with the goal of living for God.

Proverbs 2:1-22

1 My son, if you accept my words
   and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom
   and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight
   and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
   and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
   from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright,
   he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just
   and protects the way of his faithful ones.

 9 Then you will understand what is right and just
   and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
   and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you,
   and understanding will guard you.

 12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
   from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
   to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong
   and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked
   and who are devious in their ways.

 16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
   from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
17 who has left the partner of her youth
   and ignored the covenant she made before God.[a]
18 Surely her house leads down to death
   and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
19 None who go to her return
   or attain the paths of life.

 20 Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
   and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will live in the land,
   and the blameless will remain in it;
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
   and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

Questions

  1. What two paths to destruction will a wise person resist?
  2. How is it shown that God himself is the reward for wisdom?
  3. Why is an affair with an attractive person foolish both in ancient times and today?
  4. How does wisdom protect people for the long haul?
  5. What wise or unwise choices are you making that are teaching your children the value of wisdom in your life?
  6. Do you think of wisdom as being wrapped up in the pursuit of God or is it a self-help tool?  Why does this matter?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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2 Responses to Proverbs 2:1-22

  1. AZitzman says:

    Lately I’ve been wrestling with this whole issue of receiving wisdom from the Lord. I believe wisdom comes from the Lord, whether directly or indirectly. But how does the Lord give wisdom? Does He teach it to us through His Word? Do we hear it from other people? Does He mystically place wisdom in our minds as we pray, or at the very moment when we need it? I believe the answer to all of these questions is yes.

    Allow me to quote a few Bible verses to lead up to what I want to say. Jesus says in Matthew 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” He LOVES to give good gifts to His children. We know from Proverbs 2:6 that “the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Furthermore, we know from James 1:5 that “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (who asks in faith). Ok. So if all of this is true (and I firmly believe it to be true), why have I not seen answers to my prayers for wisdom over the last several months?

    In response to question 6 (“Do you think of wisdom as being wrapped up in the pursuit of God or is it a self-help tool?”), I think of wisdom as being wrapped up in the pursuit of God. If I am not living for Christ, I have no need for wisdom from God. But if I am living for Him, wisdom is essential. I find it only in Him, for “in Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).

    • Plymothian says:

      I think that you have received wisdom – maybe however, it is not ALL wisdom. We improve in gradations. Sometimes God hides the very point that we want direction on because in seeking for it we find answers hidden off of our chosen route. That would be Kelli and my experience with infertility, adoption, and deaths in the family.

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