Proverbs 2: The Path of the Righteous
August 2, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
How do we find this most precious of all characteristics, wisdom? This chapter tells us that it starts with the area of desire in our own lives. “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding…if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure” (2:1-2, 4).
If you want to be wise, then you have to want to be wise. There has to be an earnest desire to be wise. Sports coaches at an elite level will sometimes say that one of the great differentials between the sports player who achieves amazing things and the one who is similarly talented but does not is desire. Are you willing to work hard at wisdom? Are you willing to study hard? Do you really want to be wise? If wisdom is so precious and important, it would make sense that it would take as much hard work to achieve as it would to climb a mountain, to be a sports star, or to achieve great wealth—and more desire and effort even than these!
But in addition to really wanting to be wise, we have to, in particular, listen to God’s Word. We need to “accept” his words and “store up” his “commands” and turn our “ear” to wisdom and “apply” our “heart” to “understanding.” Again, it should come as no surprise that the primary vehicle for growing in the wisdom of God is to listen to (really listen to) the Word of God. And yet so many people only give the Bible a passing glance and then wonder why their lives are a mess! My dear brother, my dear sister, if you wish your life to come back onto the right path, then it starts with an earnest and complete commitment to God’s Word!
That all sounds like hard work, but is it really worthwhile? Yes! And to make that case, this chapter of Proverbs argues in the second part of this chapter (verses 12 to 22) that wisdom will do three critical things for you.
First, it will keep you from wicked men (verses 12-15). The hard but real truth is that there are people in this world who want to take advantage of you. Wisdom will keep you from that trap.
But second, it will also keep you from adulterous women (or men, verses 16-19). The hard but real truth is that there are people in this world who will want to wreck your marriage and destroy your family by trying to get you—to approach you in a hotel or an airport or when you are feeling most disappointed by your spouse. Wisdom will keep you from destroying your marriage!
But then, third, wisdom will do something else for you too. Wisdom will help you stick to the path that leads to blessing (verses 20-22). “You will walk in the ways of the good” (2:20). This is the place of blessing and security and fruition: “For the upright will live in the land” (2:21).
All things being equal, in most situations, this is how life works: you seek wisdom, you follow God’s Word, and your path will be like the righteous and you will enjoy a life of blessing. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, exacerbated by our fallen world: persecution of righteous Christians, disease, evil, broken bodies and minds, suffering in general. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous alike. But nonetheless, this chapter of Proverbs 2, and its contribution to the overall message, is saying: be wise! For then you will be on the path of the righteous and enjoy life in the land under the blessing of God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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