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SEEK WISDOM LIKE HIDDEN TREASURES

Proverbs 2:1-2:22
Key Verse: 2:4-5

We learned from Ch 1 that the fear of God is the beginning of the wisdom and knowledge. In Chapter 2, the author instructed about how to get wisdom and what it is so important in our life. Through this study, we pray that our passion for seeking God’s wisdom be renewed.

Part I. Seek wisdom like hidden treasures.

Let’s read verse 1. The author of the Proverb, Solomon calls "My son". This calling is not only calling of a loving father to his beloved son and loving spiritual father to his wisdom seeker but also calling of our true heavenly father to his children. This instruction contains deep affection of our earthly and heavenly father to his son.

He said "If you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,"

As we see, this chapter consists of “if and then” structure. These if clauses are conditions of having wisdom. First condition is "accept his words and store up his command with us, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding". Accepting and storing up imply that our ears and hearts should be opened to his instruction. The words we hear should be stored in our heart as if we put treasures in treasure box. We need to use ear and heart to hear and understand his words. Those who actively receive his instruction with willing and learning mind are not far from having wisdom. "applying our heart to understanding" indicates that when we hear his words, we need to start spiritual digestion that is understanding. It is like after eating, we need to chew to have nutrients. It is like we meditate his words until a morning star arises in our hearts.

In the process, however, our understanding may not be clear and deep. Hence, the author said "if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding" In order to have wisdom from God, we need to pray earnestly that he may grant us insight and understanding.

What is the last if? "if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure," It shows that a wisdom seeker should be like a treasure hunter. Wisdom is actually more valuable than treasures. Finding wisdom needs much effort. In our materialistic society, people make great effort to gain materials. Job seekers are trying to find any hidden position for them using their all possible resources. To find treasure, people can do anything and are willing to sacrifice time, money, sleep, even risk their own life until they find it. Thomas Edison invented many things throughout his life. He also spoke a very inspiring word "Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety nine percent perspiration" He made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. He never gave up. Such attitude is truly important for wisdom seekers.

There are good exemplary people in the bible who showed their eagerness to find hidden treasures. Magi is one of them. They travelled from afar to follow the star and find Baby Jesus to worship him. When they finally found him, they were overjoyed as if they found treasures. Another example is Jesus’ disciples. They were also spiritual treasure hunters. In John’s gospel, John the Baptist introduced his disciples to Jesus. One of them was Andrew. When Andrew and another disciple heard from John calling Jesus "the lamb of God", they wanted to know him and came to him. Jesus asked him "What do you want? " This is the first spoken word of Jesus written in John’s gospel. This is the question asking their motivation and purpose of coming to Jesus. After having time with Jesus, Andrew came to his brother Peter and exclaimed "We’ve found Messiah". Andrew looked for Messiah and made effort to search for him and indeed found him.

Likewise, those who have yearning desire will find wisdom. Wisdom is God’s gift but it takes effort to find it. This shows how our attitude should be like when we spend time in bible reading, bible study, writing reflection, and prayer. In this part, we learn the importance of having right attitude as wisdom seekers. May God continue to help you and me to bear such labor of having wisdom of God.

Part II. You will understand the fear of the LORD and what is right and just and fair.

From verse 5, the blessings of those who earnestly seek God’s wisdom are described.

Firstly, the blessing is understanding of the fear of the LORD and finding knowledge of God.

V5 says "then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God" Treasures the wisdom seekers can find is understanding of the fear of the LORD and finding the knowledge of God. This is not superficial understanding and knowledge but life-changing. The fear of the LORD is reverential fear and right response to the LORD, who created us. This holy fear is completely different from unhealthy fear intimidated by crime, accidents, terror, nuclear weapons, and natural disasters. This kind of fear does not come from God and it only makes us suffer. But fear of the LORD is healthy and positive one which helps us to live a victorious life of faith. As you learned from 1 Samuel studies, David had such fear and defeated Goliath who intimidated him.

Finding knowledge of God also includes encountering God very personally. How important it is to have such understanding and knowledge in ungodly atmosphere. Such discovery is the most valuable knowledge. That is what the wisdom and understanding is as Proverb 9:10 says "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding"

In 1847, a Scottish surgeon, Dr. James Simpson, discovered the anaesthetic properties of chloroform. Since then, doctors could perform operations without causing pain to their patients. His discovery revolutionized modern medicine. Toward the end of his life, while Simpson was lecturing, one student asked him what is the most valuable discovery he found. The students expected him to recount how he came upon the medical use of chloroform. But surprisingly, he replied, "My most valuable discovery was when I discovered myself a sinner and that Jesus Christ was my Savior." Despite all his knowledge and achievements he obtained, he could make such confession because he had holy fear of God and knowledge of God which is supreme over all knowledge and understanding.

Verse 6 shows the source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. "For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Wisdom is the godly application of knowledge. Knowledge and understanding are also inseparable. Knowledge without understanding is of no use. How can someone use smartphone without understanding its function? The LORD gives full package of wisdom with knowledge and understanding to those who fear him.

Verse 7-8 "He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones."

The upright, the blameless, the just and the faithful one are those who have fear of the LORD. God holds victory in store for the upright. In KJV, victory is expressed as sound wisdom. God gives sound wisdom to make us victorious. He is also a shield. Victorious life depends on what wisdom one has. Security of life also depends on who is our side. When we know God who gives such wisdom personally, our life is victorious and secure. It reminds us of the gospel which is God’s sound wisdom. Many verses in the New Testament described that the gospel is the sound doctrine. “[10]for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine [11]that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”(1Ti 1:10-11) In the gospel, we are victorious against our enemies and God protects this gospel believers. Those who fear him can find supreme wisdom, victory, and perfect protection.

Secondly, another blessing is the understanding of what is right and just and fair. Verse 9 says "Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path". This is another important understanding given to those who fear God, which is three virtues of every good path. As we remember that the purpose of this Proverb was "for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair." (Pr 1:3) Pr 21:3 also says "To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice." To do what is right, just, and fair, we should understand it first what they are to be led to every good path. It is because in our days, the concept of right, just, fair is distorted and very subjective that we can be led to wrong path.

In the Bible, God repeatedly teaches what is right, just and fair through his commandments. For example, God gave Ten commandments which is all right before God. He also promised that those who obey the commandments will receive his blessing while the disobedient will be subject to his punishment, showing his justice without favoritism. When God delivered Israelites out of slavery, he had vision for them to establish kingdom of priests and holy nation with his righteousness, justice, and fairness which are the characteristics of his kingdom reflecting his characters. It was great distinction from pagan nations. According to Deuteronomy 4:5-6 " See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.", God’s righteous commands and their obedience can make other nations envious to them.

However, as we see what happened during the time of prophet Amos, Israelites also became corrupted and hypocritical when they lost fear of God in their hearts. God said to them "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" (Amos 5:21-24). Without knowing what is right, just, and fair, one fails to serve God. Therefore, in order to live as his people, it is so important to understand and do what is right, just and fair. The book of Proverb deals with many wisdoms related to these three things in practical life. We should learn God’s righteousness, justice, and fairness through fearing him.

Verse 10 says "For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul." Wisdom enters your heart. It is unique expression. We are directly influenced by something that enter our heart. When false gods enter one’s heart, they become idol worshipers. When nihilism enters heart, they become nihilist. When Satan entered Judah, he betrayed Jesus. We may think wisdom should enter our head to make us intelligent and smart person. But our heart is the very place where wisdom enters. Intelligence becomes nothing unless wisdom enters the heart. Without wisdom entering our heart, one can not understand God. Hence, Romans 10:10 said "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." How to become Jesus’ believer? It is because of Jesus who enters our heart. Such people enjoy knowledge since they can understand it. Discretion and understanding will also protect and guard them (V11).

Part III. Wisdom will save you.

Verses 12-22 describe the excellent role of wisdom, which is the salvation from the hand of the wicked and adulteress, typical enemies of God. Jesus also characterized the generation as wicked and adulterous, in other words, untruthful and unfaithful. The characteristics of the wicked are well described in v12-15. "Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways." "Perverse words, leaving the straight paths, enjoying in doing wrong and perverseness of evil, crooked ways, devious". Their hearts are proud. Their ways are wicked, dark, crooked, and devious. When Samuel was a boy, he stayed in the temple with Eli’s two sons who were wicked and dishonored God. However, Samuel was not influenced by them because he had fear of God in his heart. Wisdom protected him from wrong and perverse ways. Sometimes, it is not easy to discern the subtle crooked ways of the wicked as they are like well made counterfeit money. For example, apostle Paul helped Galatian church to discern the different gospel from the true gospel. At bank, when bankers train bank tellers how to spot counterfeit money, they always use real money, not the counterfeit to clearly know what real money is. Likewise, when we have wisdom in heart, it can protect and save us from counterfeit wisdom and knowledge.

Verse 16-19 described the characteristics of the adulteress. "It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life."

From the two cases, we can learn their lifestyle. Their talking is perverse and seductive. They left straight path and covenant of God. Corruption and immorality are prevalent in our days. We are daily exposed to perverse talk and seductive atmosphere. It is not possible to protect us from such influence with our own ability. But those who have wisdom are protected and saved from the generation.

Verses 20-22 show the final victory given to wisdom holders "Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it." This is the future of those who have fear of the Lord and wisdom in their heart. This is the victory God preserved for them.

In this chapter, we learned that we need to be passionate wisdom seekers and powerful wisdom holders to live a victorious life. Our generation we live in is flooded with falsity and temptation. There is no way to save us from this corrupt generation but wisdom alone. Thank and praise God for preserving his wisdom for his people in this corrupted generation. He wisdom is revealed through his word. His words give us his wisdom to protect us from evil one. Jesus is God’s wisdom we need to seek, understand, and have in our hearts. May God help us to grow in his words and the knowledge of Jesus more and more.

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