As we look into Proverbs chapter 2, we see Solomon addressing his son, encouraging him to walk with the Lord.
As mentioned yesterday, wisdom literature in general, and the Proverbs in particular, are not easy to understand or absorb. If it’s hard for us as adults, imagine how hard it was for Solomon’s kids to comprehend!
Solomon is not interested in handing out trite or pat answers to life’s questions. Instead, he is investing in his kids, helping them to develop the skill and ability to think on their own, with the ultimate goal to honor God with their life.
Solomon starts out this proverb by letting his son know that obtaining wisdom is not free or easy. There are conditions that must be met to find this wisdom.
Taking a step back, looking at the big picture:
- Verses 1 – 4 lay out the conditions for obtaining wisdom
- Verses 5 – 22 show the benefits of obtaining wisdom
In Proverbs 1, we noted that Solomon often employs comparison (either positive or negative) to make his point. Today, we will add another grammatical construct (parallelism) to aid in our understanding of Solomon’s writings. Parallelism places two truths side-by-side, often using the second truth to expand, further explain, emphasize, or complete a thought.
Solomon uses parallelism in verses 1-4, as he lays out the conditions of finding wisdom:
- Accept and store up, turn and apply
- Call out, cry aloud
- Look, search
In the first parallelism, Solomon is offering his son a gift. He encourages his son to take this gift, but does not force it upon him. Solomon says, “If you accept my words…” Solomon makes the point of not just taking his words, but storing them up, like putting up food and provisions during harvest to make it through the winter. Solomon knows that the ability to make good decisions during a tough time comes from thinking through and knowing how to respond beforehand.
Solomon goes on to encourage his son to pay attention, to hear what Solomon is saying, with the full intent to understand and obey his father’s teaching. This is not just about knowing some truths – it’s about applying them to our life.
In the second parallelism, Solomon tells his son that a lot of effort will be involved. His son will need to find and use his voice to ask for help. In fact, Solomon says he will need to raise his voice to find what he wants and needs. This is not an easy path; his son will need to ask for help, and raise his voice to be heard above the noise of day-to-day life. Persistence is key.
In the final parallelism, Solomon shows the level of effort required to obtain wisdom. Solomon’s son must search for this wisdom, even digging for it like buried treasure. Solomon shows the great value that wisdom has, by comparing it to something of incredible material value – like silver and buried treasure.
Do you feel the interest and intensity that Solomon is building in his son? Yes, it’s going to be hard work, but look at the payoff when this treasure of wisdom is finally found!
So what are the benefits of obtaining wisdom?
- God’s knowledge and protection (vv. 5-8)
- Moral discernment (vv. 9-11)
- Avoiding evil men and their ways (vv. 12-15)
- Avoiding adulterous women (vv. 16-19)
- Righteous living (vv. 20-22)
Where does our journey start? In God’s Word, then lived out in our lives, our families, and our communities.
Let the adventures begin!