Read Proverbs 2:1–5. What are the conditions for understanding the
fear of the LORD? What choices do we have to make in this matter?
Three times the discourse is introduced with the conjunction if, marking three stages in the progression of education. The first if introduces the passive stage of listening; that is, simply being receptive and attentive to the words of wisdom (Prov. 2:1-2). The second
if introduces the active response of crying and asking for wisdom (Prov. 2:3). The third
if introduces passionate involvement in seeking and searching for wisdom as we would for
hidden treasures (Prov. 2:4).
Read Proverbs 2:6–9. What are the conditions for understanding righteousness? What is God’s responsibility in the acquisition of wisdom?
Note that the phrase the LORD gives in Prov. 2:6 (NKJV) responds to the phrase you will . . . find the knowledge of God in Prov. 2:5 (NIV). Wisdom, like salvation, is a gift from God. As much as the first paragraph described the human process, this paragraph describes the divine work: He gives wisdom; He stores wisdom; and He guards and preserves the way of the wise.
Read Proverbs 2:10–22. What happens when wisdom has finally found a home in the heart?
When wisdom enters your heart, it marks the final stage of conversion. Not only will we enjoy the knowledge of the Lord, but it will be a pleasant experience to our souls (Prov. 2:10, NKJV). We will also be protected from the way of evil (Prov. 2:12), from the seduction of evil (Prov. 2:16), and we will walk in the path of righteousness (Prov. 2:20).
Though we are sinners, we don’t have to fall into evil. The ones depicted as on the wrong path must have first left the right path. Wickedness then is understood first of all as a lack of faithfulness. Sin begins subtly and innocently, but before long the sinner not only does wickedly but also enjoys it.
What should it tell you about yourself if, heaven forbid, you enjoy doing evil? Or even worse, if what if you don’t even deem it evil anymore?