Wisdom – A Treasure Worth Working For, Part 2

Proverbs 2:9-22

Last week we learned that:

A. The one who would grow in wisdom(Luke 2:52)must:

1. be teachablevv. 1-2

2. be of a mind to workvv. 3-4

3. expect to be changed and rewardedv. 5

4. look in the right placevv. 6-8

The following relic of our renowned Elizabeth will be read both with interest and profit. It was written on a blank leaf of a black-letter edition of St. Paul’s Epistles, which she used during her lonely imprisonment at Woodstock. The volume itself, curiously embroidered by her own hand, is preserved in the Bodleian [the main research library of the University of Oxford]: — ‘August. I walk many times into the pleasant fields of the Holy Scriptures, where I pluck up the goodlisome herbs of sentences by pruning, eat them by reading, chew them by musing, and lay them up at length in the high seat of memorie, by gathering them together, that so, having tasted their sweetness, I may the less perceive the bitterness of this miserable life.’ — Miss Strickland’sQueens of England, vi. 113.

Acquisition of wisdom is not solely an intellectual exercise with intellectual advantages. There are certain practical benefits that make it a real treasure. this acquired wisdom with its accompanying understanding is to be a rule of life. The Baptist Confession states:

The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infalliblerule of all saving Knowledge, Faith and Obedience; (I.1) The whole Counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own Glory, Man’s Salvation, Faith and Life, is either expressely set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture; (I.6)

For Scripture to actually serve us in that way, principles must make their way from the printed page to our minds and become habitual ways of thinking and acting. Furthermore, we must understand them to be guiding principles forallareas of life, not just religion (church).

B. The one who finds wisdom will:

1. know how to live rightlyvv. 9-10

having discernment

what is right

in relation to God

what is just

in relation to others

what represents a life of integrity

in relation to self

Not that self rules; Jesus said to be his disciples we must deny self. (Matt. 16:24) But, …we must live in a way that reflects our true redeemed self 24/7, consistently with a renewed mind and conscience.

Remember what Jesus said was the summary of the Law: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.”Luke 10:26-27Three entities represented: God, neighbor, and self.

and the desire to live rightly (10b)

knowing how to live godly will be pleasant, attractive, a delight

Christian drug of choice: caffeine, chocolate; should be just as addicted to satisfying a hunger for godly wisdom

all comes in the context of relationship with Christ – in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”Col. 2:3

hidden from the unregenerate but not from those who are “in Christ”; the most effective way to acquire these treasures is to have the same goal as PaulPhil. 3:8-10Only one thing mattered to Paul – to know Christ, to gain Christ, to be found in Christ.

2. be preserved from:

deception and perversion vv. 11-14

Basic assumptions:

#1there is a way of thinking and doing that is “right-side up”, morally upright.

#2the way of the unregenerate is to redefine right and wrong, moral and immoral, so that what is wrong appears right; thinking and acting that is “upside down” or perverse

#3the one with discretion (discernment) and understanding can tell the difference.

How the world turns things upside down: Not killing babies, womens’ reproductive health services. “Green” choices – not good stewardship of what God has entrusted to us, our responsibility to the planet. Just because I think it’s wrong doesn’t mean it’s wrong for you. Islam is a peaceful religion; remember the Crusades.

These are the ones who enjoy their worldly lifestyle and want company; perhaps even think they are doing a favor by inviting others to join them.

entrapment vv. 15

Sin is intentionally made to look inviting; the consequences are hidden, minimized or blatantly denied. Manipulation at its worst – think “the Fall”.

Satan presents the bait, palliates [soften by favorable representations] the sin, covers the enormity, closes the eyes, and conceals the certain end of all — Hell.Bridges

These are the ones who enjoy the life of sin while recognizing the perverseness of their ways and are consequently hardened in their sin. Their agenda is not merely to invite others to join them but to entrap the unsuspecting.

sexual temptation vv. 16-19

(has spiritual application also;James 4:4whether chasing after idols or dating the church)

These are the ones who use various allurements to convince others to choose a sinful direction. Takes different forms: in original context, seduction by a married woman; today, use of models to sell flat-screen TV’s, pickup trucks, vowels on “Wheel of Fortune”. Often includes the concept of risk-taking and the associated adrenaline rush. Also, “this is not your parents’ church” allurement; our church is more exciting, contemporary, sensitive, etc… Come to our church where God is really cool!

To follow the temptation of seeking satisfaction for desire is ultimately destructive because God is never the one sought after.

Real-life sin is usually a combination of at least two of these “traps” and made more dangerous because of carelessness on our part – failing to apply the wisdom God has given to us.

3. prospervv. 20-21

v. 21 reminiscent of the “first commandment with promise”Ex. 20:12

Not only protection and preservation from all manner of evil and evil people, but also reliable guidance in the right way to a blessed end with genuinely good people. These results aren’t simply accidental, they are the purpose for which God gives wisdom, discretion & understanding. “so thatyou may walk in the way of goodness” v. 20

Those who walk in the way of goodness aren’t spending large amounts of resources on consequences of poor decision – Punk & the snowmobile.

Means resources are available to be used in the Lord’s service – time, strength, treasure.

in contrast to the wicked v. 22

God is highly concerned with justice; ordained civil authority for that specific purpose

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad… But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.Rom. 13:3-4ESV

General principle: either the civil authority or God will eventually remove the evildoer from society using the means of the law or natural consequences for their evil actions. The only reason it doesn’t happen instantly is God’s patience.

Good lesson for those with godly wisdom?

And now, what serious reader of this chapter can fail to estimate above all price the privilege of being early enlisted under the banner of the cross; early taught in the ways, and disciplined in the school, of the Bible; and early led to hide that blessed book in the heart, as the rule of life, the principle of holiness, the guide to heaven!

Parents, sponsors, teachers of youth; ponder your deep responsibility with unceasing prayer for special grace and wisdom. Beware of glossing over sins with amiable or palliating terms. Let young people be always led to look upon vicious habits with horror, as the most appalling evil. Discipline their vehemence of feeling, and all ill-regulated excitement. Keep out of sight,as far as may be, books calculated to inflame the imagination. To give an impulse to the glowing passion may stimulate the rising corruption to the most malignant fruitfulness. Oh! what wisdom is needed to guide, to repress, to bring forth, develope safely, and to improve fully, the mind, energies, and sensibilities of youth!Bridges

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