"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God."
For the child of God, there is nothing more important than growing in the fear of the LORD and knowing Him. Peter understood this when he wrote to believers,
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen,” (2 Peter 3:18).
Over the next three days, we will look at God’s method of learning about “the fear of the LORD.” How can we learn about our God? Let’s look at Proverbs 2:1-5 and note that the promise is given in verse 5, provided that the conditions are met in verses 1-4.
(Proverbs 2:1-2) My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
“My son, if thou wilt receive my words,”
Solomon has written to his son. He knew the importance of teaching his son, himself. In this book, he is laying truth out on the table for his son. But he also understood that he could not embrace the truth for his son, that is what his son must do.
The first condition is to listen to dad teach. The son needs to “receive” the words of his father. But just listening to dad isn’t enough…
“And hide my commandments with thee;”
There must be an acceptance of the truth, but also a “hiding” it in his heart.
“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” (Psalm 119:11).
This isn’t a passive acceptance of the truth of the Word that dad is teaching, but it is active and aggressive “treasuring up” and learning well what God says in His Word. He needs to remember it or memorize it so he knows it and can recall it for himself.
“So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom,”
To “incline the ear” is to, “prick up, or point the ear.”1 It reminds me of a puppy listening for his master. When the master speaks, the ears perk up, and the pup listens intently, for it has “inclined its ear” to his master. How well do we listen to the Word?
So, the young person needs to listen up to the wisdom2 he is being taught.
“And apply thine heart to understanding;”
“Understanding” is “intelligence, understanding, insight.”3 This is the ability to understand the difference between, what is good and what is better, this is more than just knowing what is right and wrong. To be able to have this understanding it is essential for the person to apply their heart (mind) to what they are being taught. In other words, there is mental activity going on.
The Hebrew word for “apply” means to bend your heart toward understanding. This reminds me of the words of Paul,
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Come back tomorrow, and we will look at the second and third conditions for understanding the fear of the LORD and getting to know Him.
1. E.W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, the electronic version in eSword.
2. In the book of Proverbs, there are six Hebrew words used for wisdom. In verse 2 it is the word chokma, or “true wisdom.”
3. Brown, Driver, Briggs. Brown-Driver-Briggs’ Hebrew Definitions, the electronic version in eSword. This is the wisdom word “binah = discernment or discrimination,” Bullinger. E.W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, the electronic version in eSword.