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Proverbs (Part 016) - Pro 2:1-2

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IV. Chapter 2
1. Pro 2:1 - "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;"
A. Proverbs 2 begins with a formula to follow to get understanding and find the knowledge and wisdom of God (Pro 2:1-6).

B. My son, if...
i. These three words, tell us that whatever comes next is conditional.
ii. Solomon would have made an excellent computer programmer, having shown his mastery of the if-then statement by adeptly using a complex tri-conditional statement:
a. ...if thou wilt receive my words... (v.1)
b. ...if thou criest after knowledge... (v. 3)
c. ...if thou seekest her as silver... (v. 4)
d. ...then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (v.5)
iii. The conditional if statements reveal that the understanding, knowledge, and wisdom of God are available only to those who meet God's criteria.
iv. If the conditions are met, then the promised wisdom is given.
v. If not, it is withheld.
vi. Now that we know the formula to get the knowledge and wisdom of God, we have no one to blame but ourselves if we don't get it.

C. If thou wilt receive my words...
i. The first condition given to obtain the knowledge of God is to receive God's words.
ii. Receive v. - To take in one's hand, or into one's possession (something held out or offered by another); to take delivery of a thing from another, either for oneself or for a third party.
iii. Though the words written to his son are said to be Solomon's words, they are also God's words written to His sons since the book of Proverbs is scripture which was written under the inspiration of God (2Pe 1:21).
a. God offers His knowledge and wisdom to all of His children, which is implied by the fact that they are entreated to receive His words.
b. God's words are only held out to His regenerate children who have the ability to receive them in faith, not to the natural man who "receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God" (1Co 2:14).
iv. The first step in finding the knowledge of God is receiving His word.
a. But in order to be of any value, the word of God must not simply be accepted into one's hand "as the word of men."
b. It must rather be received into one's heart, "as it is in truth, the word of God" (1Th 2:13).

D. ...and hide my commandments with thee.
i. We can't stop after having initially received the word of God; we must hide it in our hearts.
ii. This means memorizing Bible verses.
a. You can do this intentionally by picking a verse and repeating it many times for days in a row.
b. You can also do this by reading the Bible often and by listening to sermons often which will cause the verses to be etched in your memory over time.
iii. If the word is not hidden within us then Satan can snatch it away (Mar 4:15).
iv. The Bible can be confiscated by wicked men, but the scriptures can never be wrested from a Christian who has them hidden, not in his house, but in his heart.
v. Having the word of God hidden in the heart is not only the means of finding the wisdom of God, but is also the best way for a believer to keep himself from sin (Psa 119:11; Job 22:22-23).

2. Pro 2:2 - "So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;"
A. The first condition which must be fulfilled to find the knowledge of God is comprised of two steps.
i. The first step is to receive the words of God and hide them in his hearts (Pro 2:1).
ii. God's words must be received and hidden within so that we can take the next step which is to incline our ears unto wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding (Pro 2:2).
iii. So adv. - V. 23. so that (also so alone), denoting result or logical consequence; also sometimes = ‘in order that’.
iv. A man therefore cannot incline his ear unto wisdom until he has first received God's words with that ear.
v. He cannot apply his heart to understanding until he first has hidden those words in his heart upon their reception.

B. Wisdom - 1. a. Capacity of judging rightly in matters relating to life and conduct; soundness of judgement in the choice of means and ends; sometimes, less strictly, sound sense, esp. in practical affairs: opp. to folly.
i. A man's judgment is only as good as his information.
ii. To judge rightly in matters of life, a man must of necessity first have truth in his mind.
iii. In that the word of God is truth (Joh 17:17), a man must have knowledge of the scriptures before he is able to exercise sound judgment.
iv. Hence the reason that receiving God's word (Pro 2:1) must precede receiving His wisdom (Pro 2:2).

C. So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom...
i. Incline v. - 1. Bend or bow (the head, the body, oneself) towards a person or thing, and hence forward or downward; b. To bend or turn one's ear(s) towards a speaker, to give ear, listen favourably, attend (to).
ii. The Lord exhorts His children numerous times to incline their ear unto Him (Jos 24:23; Pro 4:20; Pro 5:1; Pro 22:17).
a. How many Christians incline their ear unto a talebearer who whispers secrets about another, being all too eager to hear the gossip, but make little effort to incline their ear unto God's wisdom?
b. How many Christians incline their ear to the television, talk radio, or YouTube for hours per day with perfect attentiveness, but doze off during an hour long sermon expounding the wisdom of God?
iii. Acquiring wisdom requires effort.
a. When a man is interested in what another has to say and desires to fully comprehend it, he will get close to the speaker, turn his head to ensure clear hearing, lean toward the man, and focus his mind on what is being said.
b. The same level of exertion is required to learn the wisdom of God.
c. Wisdom has to be attended unto (to direct the ears, mind, energies to anything) (Pro 5:1).
d. To incline his ear unto wisdom, a man must figuratively bow down toward the holy scriptures which come directly from the mouth of God (Pro 2:6).
e. In NT times, God "hath manifested his word through preaching" (Tit 1:3) by way of pastors who "speak the wisdom God" (1Co 2:7) from the scriptures.
f. If a man truly desires wisdom, he will expend energy to focus his mind when listening to sermons in order to hear with comprehension what is being taught, while figuratively, and sometimes literally, inclining his ear unto wisdom.

D. And apply thine heart to understanding
i. The ear must be inclined to wisdom, and the heart must be applied to understanding.
a. Apply v. - II. To bring oneself into close practical contact with a pursuit. 13. To give or devote (any faculty) assiduously to some pursuit, or to do something.
b. Every instance of the word apply in the Bible is used in reference to the heart, such as the following (Psa 90:12; Pro 22:17; Pro 23:12).
c. To find the knowledge of God and to attain unto wisdom, the heart must be brought into close contact and devoted (applied) to the pursuit of understanding.
d. Understanding n. - Power or ability to understand; intellect, intelligence.
e. The heart is the seat of the emotions, which is what too many Christians exclusively use it for.
f. But it is also where the intellect resides, for man is said to understand with his heart (1Ki 3:12; Job 38:36; Mat 13:15).
ii. The heart is to be applied to understanding, not emotion.
a. Therefore, for a man to truly "find the knowledge of God" (Pro 2:5), he must use his intellect, not his feelings (Pro 14:33; Pro 15:14).
b. Most religion which passes for Christianity focuses on emotion rather than faith and reason.
c. Remove the music programs from today's "churches," which only stir the emotions of the goats, but provide no food for the sheep, and those organizations would soon go out of business.
d. Matthew Henry said it well commenting on Dan 3:1-7: "Note, That way that sense directs the most will go; there is nothing so bad which the careless world will not be drawn to by a concert of music, or driven to by a fiery furnace. And by such methods as these false worship has been set up and maintained."
e. If a Christian desires to truly know God, he must stop seeking an emotional experience and start applying his heart to understanding.