Actions always have a result. Newton’s third law of physics states: “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction: or the mutual actions of two bodies upon each other are always equal, and directed to contrary parts.” Proverbs 2 shares how our choices and actions result in something great when we take action towards wisdom.
[Proverbs 2:1-22 NKJV]
“My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver, And search for her 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 uprightly;
He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.
When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you,
To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things,
From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked, And who are devious in their paths;
To deliver you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words,
Who forsakes the companion of her youth, And forgets the covenant of her God.
For her house leads down to death, And her paths to the dead;
None who go to her return, Nor do they regain the paths of life–
So you may walk in the way of goodness, And keep to the paths of righteousness.
For the upright will dwell in the land, And the blameless will remain in it;
But the wicked will be cut off from the earth, And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.”
If… you receive, treasure, incline your ear, apply your heart, cry out, lift up your voice, seek, and search. These actions, while they may not require physical strength, they require determination and active engaging of the mind, heart, and soul. The wisdom, discernment, commands (from the word of God), and understanding, are described as treasures; like silver being sought out and hidden gems. Silver is incredible stuff, by the way, although I am no expert, (and mainly did research using the web) silver is awe-inspiring. So many appreciate the beauty of silver in jewelry, coinage, and ornamental things. Silver is also an extremely valuable metal in machinery, industry, musical instruments, solar panels, water purification, scientific studies, medicine, and much more. Comparing these principles of wisdom, discernment, and understanding to this, is really remarkable, and very appropriate, as it is fitting for all aspects of life.
So, what is the outcome of this active search?
“Then you will discern the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God,” verse 5 states (NASB). When you have searched out these things and cried out for them, there is a result; discerning the fear of the Lord. To discern is to perceive, understand, and distinguish something. When you have asked for the wisdom from God, He enables you to understand what the fear of Him is and to have access to His knowledge. Knowledge can come from many sources, but we have the ability to obtain the knowledge of the One who made all things, who knows all things, and is above all things; while I love a good book, nothing can come close to the depth, richness, and expanse of the knowledge God has. His wisdom is sound, and plentiful, and without any error.
In addition to the knowledge of God, if we act upon these “if’s” the Lord becomes our shield and guard. Those who have sought out and listened to wisdom, are protected by it. Verse 9 continues, “Then you will discern righteousness and justice.” The counsel and commands of the Lord God are black and white, we can see right from wrong within the standards of God’s word. In a way, following in the wisdom of God is like putting on glasses that enable one to see clearly. I myself am particularly bad at seeing anything without my glasses, sometimes I need someone who can see to find mine if I set them down and forgot. I need a prescription lens to see. The wisdom from God clarifies, as a lens, and gives those who have it an ability to distinguish what is just, of equity, and good. And, unlike a pair of glasses, it becomes part of our very beings; entering our hearts and pleasing our soul. God’s wisdom becomes personal, guarding you, delivering you, and keeping watch over you.
Verses 12-19 share how wisdom is able to keep one from evil doing, from wicked men, and from seductive women. All very practical and good things that Solomon goes more in depth on later in Proverbs.
“So you will walk in the way of good men and keep to the paths of righteousness.” [Prov. 1:20]
Here is the cherry on top: the conclusion of doing as instructed brings sure footing in life. The upright, the good, who follow wisdom, they are blessed. It is a good path that wisdom leads to, unlike the wicked who will face calamity. Even if you or I were the only ones following wisdom and were put off by others for it, true knowledge leads to life, goodness, and nearness to God. The opposite, the one who rejects the instruction towards wisdom, will face bad consequences and removal from the good life.
As I ponder these verses, I sense an urging within to cry out for that discernment and to raise my voice and plead for understanding. The beauty is in not only seeking these riches, but in the fact that God will answer from His limitless wisdom, and He will give of it freely. Ask, pray, and seek discernment along with me; God will not disappoint, and He has plenty to give.
[Isaiah 55:6-7 NKJV]
“Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.”