William J. Stewart | Lessons from the Book of Proverbs
Solomon started this book of Proverbs by emphasizing the importance of wisdom and how necessary it is for us to pursue it. The second chapter begins with the same focus.
The wise king speaks clearly of the need for his son to listen and obey his wisdom. Unfortunately what often happens is that a child will have feigned attention to parental instruction. Solomon did not want his son to pretend to hear. He commanded him to:
…receive my words, and treasure my commands… incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-2)
It is not enough to hear the instruction of wisdom. Many will hear good advice and not follow it. Solomon expected his son (and by extension, God expects His people) to receive the word with all readiness (cf. Acts 17:11); not to be dull hearers (Hebrews 5:11). God’s wisdom should be a valuable treasure to us, occupying an important place in our hearts. Seldom will a treasure simply drop into our lap. A treasure hunter diligently searches for it—so should we be with regard to God’s word. Search it carefully, seek the wisdom it imparts (v 4).
Just as Solomon’s son couldn’t know his father’s wisdom apart from hearing his father’s words, neither can we know God’s way apart from His word. We’re fooling ourselves and preparing for eternal destruction if we think we can serve God faithfully without being a diligent student of the Bible. Solomon writes:
…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. (Proverbs 1:23)
We cannot know how to walk as God’s people without reading the Bible. But if we are reading, treasuring and applying the Scriptures in our lives, we have the confidence of God’s protection—He is our shield, guards our paths and preserves our way.
Wisdom Delivers From The Evil Man
…discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, for those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness… (Proverbs 2:11-13)
God’s word, rightly received and cherished, will lead us in the good path. We will have the ability to discern between good from evil (Hebrews 5:13-14), and the determination to pursue the good. Thus, God’s word will deliver us from the path of wickedness and those who walk upon it.
Without the wisdom of God revealed and recorded, we would not be able to distinguish good and evil. How do we know that murder, adultery, idolatry, cursing, etc. are wrong? These things are not discerned by human wisdom, but the wisdom of God. Apart from the Scriptures, we do not know how to prepare ourselves for heaven.
Even with the word of God available, unless we are studious, we can be deceived by those who walk in their own way instead of God’s way. The way of darkness is not just found in heinous and unpalatable sins. Some in the religious world, proclaiming to love the Lord and His word teach men and women to do contrary to the will of God! Ask a group of religious leaders in our community what one must do to be saved. You will get a variety of answers. The most common will likely be a sinner’s prayer. And yet as we consult the word of God, we see no mention of such. Instrumental music in worship is common in today’s religious culture. What does God say about such? Time and again in the New Testament, we are commanded to sing—but not one reference is made of instrumental music. How often should the Lord’s Supper be shared? Some do so several times a week, others perhaps only a few times each year. What does God say? Acts 20:7 reveals that when Christians come together on the first day of the week, they should remember the Lord’s sacrifice.
We need to prepare ourselves so we might stand against the deceptions of those who seek their own will rather than God’s will.
Wisdom Delivers From The Immoral Woman
To deliver you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words …none who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life… (Proverbs 2:16, 19)
Prostitution has often been called “the world’s oldest profession.” Where exactly that idea came from, I don’t know. From my reading of the Bible, horticulture is the world’s oldest profession. Regardless, there are several warnings throughout the Bible about sexual immorality. In fact, Solomon will have much to say in a few chapters about the immoral woman.
Humans have been made with sexual desire, and this desire in and of itself is not sinful. However, it must be satisfied in the proper place. The Hebrew letter says the marriage bed is undefiled, but God will judge fornicators (Hebrews 13:4).
The focus on sexual things in our society is unprecedented. Men’s eyes and hearts are constantly being challenged, by TV and print advertising, by the provocative “style” of today’s clothing, by the availability of pornography with the simple click of a button. God’s word warns us about seduction and is given to prepare us to not follow after sexual immorality.
The writer is very blunt — misplaced sexual gratification leads to death. By following godly wisdom, we will be delivered from the flattery of the seductress; we will be forewarned of her way and it’s end. The Scriptures supply the way of escape from all temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13) and lead to life.
…walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness. (Proverbs 2:20)