Text: Proverbs 2:1-22
Wisdom has to be sought
You don’t learn wisdom merely by being around wise people. You have to accept the teachings and treasure them. You have to apply what you learn to your life (James 1:21-25).
How badly must you want wisdom? You have to cry out for it or search for it as you would treasure that you know is hidden nearby. Only then will you understand the fear of the Lord and discover the facts you need from God.
- In Proverbs 1:7 we noted that knowledge starts with what?
- Why does it take effort to understand the fear of the Lord?
Wisdom comes from God
Job asked, “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” (Job 28:12). He goes on to point out that it can’t be found among men or anywhere in the world. Wisdom isn’t something that can be purchased. The conclusion is that God alone understands the way of wisdom (Job 28:23).
Solomon makes the same point. You can’t find wisdom by looking under rocks. If you want wisdom, you have to look for it from its source (James 1:5-8).
Nor is wisdom distributed to everyone. God’s wisdom is for the righteous. Just as we are to treasure or store up Solomon’s teachings, God is storing up wisdom for His followers. The reason it is only for the righteous is simple – the wicked have no interest in learning anything from God. God guards the path of justice so that His people can follow it safely.
When we gain our wisdom from God, then we are able to discern what is righteous, just, fair, and good; just as Solomon promised to teach us back in Proverbs 1:3.
- If the wicked refuse wisdom, can they know what is right, just, and fair?
Wisdom will protect you
Because of our strong desire to learn wisdom and because we learn it from the correct source, wisdom will become a part of us and we will find the facts of truth to be pleasant. The result is that our discretion (the ability to make good decisions) will guard us because our decisions will be based on truth and made with wisdom. Our understanding (the ability to think logically) will keep watch over our lives.
- Why would some people find knowledge unpleasant to learn?
Protection from the evil
Solomon gives two examples of what wisdom can protect us from. The first is the way of evil. This way is promoted by men who speak perverse things. “Perverse” is someone who twists his words. He opposes what is right and promotes what is wrong. Thus, such a person makes life the opposite of what it should be. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
Such people are not doing this accidentally. They purposely leave righteousness to follow sin. They find evil a game to be played and enjoyed and they delight in turning righteousness upside down. What they will do next is hard to predict because they don’t walk a straight path and they delight in hiding their intent. Even sadder, they might not even understand just how lost they are (Psalms 82:5; I John 2:11).
- What is the difference between evil and the way of evil? When wisdom protects a person from the way of evil, what does it mean?
- What would be the danger of getting involved in people like this?
- How is wisdom going to protect us from this type of people?
Protection from the seductress
While there are some who delight in doing evil, there are others who want to seduce people into sin. Here we are introduced to a woman who is the opposite of Wisdom, who we met in Proverbs 1:20-33. This woman is given no name. Though some translations call her an adulteress, the terms are literally that she is strange and foreign. This woman is not a close friend and familiar woman who could become a man’s wife.
The evil man uses twisted words to accomplish his ends. This woman uses flattery to accomplish her goals. The Hebrew literally says “smooth words.” These are the slick words of a salesman that slips past your guard before you realize what happened.
This woman does not honor her commitments. She might be married, but she doesn’t honor her marriage vows to her husband (Malachi 2:14). Nor does she respect God who states that sex outside of marriage is a sin (Hebrews 13:4). She is willing to use sex to gain her way and it doesn’t matter if doing so breaks her relationship with God and her husband.
The difficulty in dealing with such a woman is that the immediate pleasures get in the way of seeing the consequences. Her way leads to death for both her and those who bed her. So many men who get involved in sexual sin think that they are in control. They see themselves as the aggressor and are convinced that they can stop any time they want. Such men don’t see that they are being manipulated through their desire for sex. Yet Solomon warns that the seductress’ way is a trap that is near impossible to extract yourself from. Men who go into the seductress (literally speaking of sexual intercourse) rarely are able to return to righteous living.
- What would make many men susceptible to flattery?
- How is the seductress different from Wisdom?
- Is the consequence of death brought by the seductress physical or spiritual death?
- Why would sexual sins be so hard to stop?
Therefore, the benefit to desiring wisdom and learning it from God is that you will stay on the way of righteousness. The righteous have stability and staying power. The wicked tend to be unstable and don’t live as long.