I post papers I have written, some during my graduate and post-graduate studies, some in response to other papers, and some written for other purposes like Sunday school classes or Bible studies. I also post observations on whatever comes to my mind and videos from teaching sessions.
The first benefit of wisdom and knowledge is preservation. Discretion here means sagacity, which is quickness or acuteness of discernment; readiness of apprehension; the faculty of readily discerning and distinguishing ideas and of separating truth from falsehood. It will keep an individual from making destructive mistakes. Understanding, which is defined in Scripture as departing from evil (Job 28:28), will also work to keep a person from being destroyed.
Proverbs 2:10–22 (KJV 1900) — 10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, And knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; 11 Discretion shall preserve thee, Understanding shall keep thee: 12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, From the man that speaketh froward things; 13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, To walk in the ways of darkness; 14 Who rejoice to do evil, And delight in the frowardness of the wicked; 15 Whose ways are crooked, And they froward in their paths: 16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, Even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; 17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, And forgetteth the covenant of her God. 18 For her house inclineth unto death, And her paths unto the dead. 19 None that go unto her return again, Neither take they hold of the paths of life. 20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, And keep the paths of the righteous. 21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, And the perfect shall remain in it. 22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, And the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
Lest we think that the blessings of wisdom an knowledge are merely mental, Solomon listed the practical results of these qualities. Wisdom cannot be head knowledge only; it must enter into the heart. It must become part of the person. And one’s relationship with knowledge cannot be merely academic; it must be pleasant to his soul. He must love knowledge.
Proverbs 2:9 (KJV 1900) — 9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, And equity; yea, every good path.
Not only will the eight steps outlined in Proverbs 2:1-4 result in understanding the fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God, but they will lead to an understanding of righteousness, judgment, equity — indeed, everything good.
Proverbs 2:8 (KJV 1900) — 8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, And preserveth the way of his saints.
God is the keeper of paths and the preserver of ways. The person who follows the Lord does not need to worry about the future. God is in control. The believer will discover that God makes no apologies for dealing with His children differently than those who reject Him.
Exodus 11:7 (KJV 1900) — 7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
Proverbs 2:7 (KJV 1900) — 7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: He is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
Those who are righteous may be certain that God has sound wisdom (as opposed to human wisdom) reserved for them. Those who walk uprightly may be sure He will be a buckler to them.
The buckler was a type of shield, a piece of defensive armor. It was made of wood, covered with skin or leather, strengthened with plates of metal, and worn on the left arm. In the middle of the buckler was a protrusion that was useful in causing stones and darts to glance off. The buckler was often four feet long and covered the whole body (Webster’s Dictionary, facsimile edition; 1928 [Anaheim, CA: Foundation for American Christian Education, 1967], s.v. “buckler.”).
Proverbs 2:6 (KJV 1900) — 6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
God is the ultimate source of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Christians should reject the myth that truth can be divided into two separate categories of secular and sacred. All truth is ultimately of God. Regardless of the academic discipline, truth is rooted in God Himself.
This understanding has profound implications for Christians in every field. Whether revealed in God’s Word, through His creation, or in the hearts of people, all truth finds its source in God.
Proverbs 2:1–5 (KJV 1900) — 1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, And hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, And apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, And liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, And searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.
In Proverbs 1:7, Solomon declared the fundamental truth that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” In Proverbs 2:1-5, he listed for his son eight steps that lead to understanding the fear of the Lord and finding the knowledge of God:
1. Receive my words.
2. Hide my commandments.
3. Incline your ear to wisdom.
4. Apply your heart to understanding.
5. Cry after knowledge.
6. Lift up your voice for understanding.
7. Seek understanding as you would seek silver.
8. Search for understanding as you would search for hidden treasures.
In each of these steps, the responsibility rests with us. Wisdom has already made herself available (Proverbs 1:20-25). All that remains is for a person to receive her counsel. It will not be forced on anyone; that is contrary to to the nature of wisdom. Folly is aggressive (Proverbs 7:6-21); she catches men (Proverbs 7:13). Wisdom calls to people; she even stretches out her hand (Proverbs 1:24). But she waits for them to turn before she pours out her spirit and makes known her words (Proverbs 1:23).
These brief devotions are drawn from one of my earliest books, Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World: Proverbs. They are not the complete texts from the books. For example, the comments on Proverbs 2:1-5 fill nearly eight pages in the book with additional detail, including biblical texts that connect conceptually with these verses. The book is available from pentecostalpublishing.com, as a Kindle download from Amazon, and as an Apple Book (also known as iBook).
“But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, And shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:33).
Those who listen to wisdom and act on her principles will discover a life of safety and quietness. They will be free from worry. Wisdom will enable them to see beyond the immediate circumstance and understand the law of cause and effect.
“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, Neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; Trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, And thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: Fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, Because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: Fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: But those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: Yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalm 37:1-11).
“They would none of my counsel: They despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, And the prosperity of fools shall destroy them” (Proverbs 1:30-32).
There is no way to avoid the consequences of rejecting wisdom. Rejection of wisdom is deadly. A person can eat the satisfying fruit of wisdom or the fruit of foolishness. People can be filled with wisdom or with their own devices, which is the ultimate expression of “doing my own thing” and having it “my way.”
In the finally analysis, rejection of wisdom is deadly. When people make a decision to turn away from wisdom, they have signed their own death warrant. To the eyes of other fools, it may appear for a brief time they have made the right decision. But their prosperity and complacency are empty and deceitful. Some may be deceived into thinking that the prosperity is genuine, but when the real test comes, it fails.