Proverbs 2: 1-3, 5
“My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding…
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.”
- Wisdom is portrayed in Proverbs as a mother who nurtures the listener into a place of belonging and purpose. “My son,” the author says, addressing the reader in a caring way.
- The listener “treasures” each commandment; alluding to the nature of wisdom: it is meant to be saved, not immediately spent on anyone nor every single situation. It is not situational ethics at work here, rather it is a place that the listener can begin to properly live from.
- The reader makes her ear attentive because wisdom, the woman, calls out in the streets for those who are willing to listen. Also, it takes time to hear what wisdom is saying in order to live according to Righteousness.
- We hear wisdom speak, and our response is to speak back: “yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding…”
- Verse 5 says the first treasure of wisdom that one gains in listening is “the fear of the Lord,” which is the beginning; the bedrock, the starting point of living the good life. It is the first treasure to be kept safe as the knowledge of our fragility, and God’s holiness, sneaks up on us. The second is like it: the knowledge of God. It is not “head” knowledge, like the knowledge of scientific facts. It is the knowing of intimacy.
Some one of us know of a time when we experienced the voice of God. And somehow, however we “heard” that voice, we were challenged, moved, or transformed. But how many of us take another sip of coffee, put the cup down slowly, and complain that God has not spoken to us recently? We revel in the past experience, but remain filled with anxiety in the present. At the end of the day, if we’re honest, we want to hear God speak into the depth of our soul again.
We all long to return but we don’t know the way back anymore.
Here is something to consider: What was the last thing God told you? Perhaps God is waiting on you, when you think you’re waiting on Him.
Christian truth is strange. It requires faith, which then produces action, and then somehow releases understanding. “You’ll know it is true,” the Spirit seems to say to us, “only once you act upon it.” We are invited to act first, and understand second.
The church fathers had a saying that many of us are familiar with: “Faith seeking understanding.”
Even though it seems illogical to others, followers of Jesus begin with faith because we have a different worldview: a new world is bursting forth in the midst of this world. This new world is called the “Kingdom of God.” In Jesus, we are delivered from the way of evil (v. 12) in order to traffic in the way of life, no longer knowing paths of injustice (v. 15), remembering the covenant we have made with God (v. 17). And if we seek the good, we will inhabit the land (calling, vision, destiny) God has given to us (v. 21).
Lord, I remember what your voice sounded like. Help me to remember again. Teach me your path of Justice, again. Remind me of the last thing you told me, and how I may be obedient once again. Shape my heart in such a way that I focus on what you’re saying more than what I’m saying. And teach me to know the difference. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
- Jon Beadle