Seesawing chapter two of Proverbs continues the mood of stern warning initiated in Proverbs 1. Cogent reasons continue to be presented on both negative and positive sides to direct our paths toward Wisdom.
Presenting a compelling opening, eleven of the first twelve verses hinge on the outcome verse: “... then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5 TNIV). It hearkens the son (in its literal context) to heed the warnings and the fourfold conditions (verses 1–4) so he might reap what blessing is promised in verses 6–12, 16, 20–21. In these terms, chapter two is still introductory in disposition. It’s still not taking it for granted the reader is on the same page.
There are many concepts linking chapter 2 with the previous, in causing a complex and repetitive refrain to appear, giving Proverbs--early on--the purpose of instruction. And this is probably why we like them. At any point in life, and not simply in childhood, we can seek instruction. At times, we want to know the way i.e. we want to be told.
The key theme out of Proverbs 2 is negatively based warning to avoid the wicked and the adulteress by investing with Wisdom. Wisdom has already been personified in chapter 1; recall she spoke. The son has been introduced to Wisdom and he is go her way; she alone will save him. And it’s no less true for us today.
We are, on the other hand, so apt to think ‘it will never happen to me,’ rejecting out of hand the possibility that we might be deceived to “walk in dark ways” (verse 13) or that we could be seduced by the oily words of the “wayward woman” (verse 16).
The nature of life is when we think we’re beyond temptation, that is when we’re most exposed, for we fall blind to the fact of our ignorance; our arrogance shields us from the protection we could easily call upon (think back to Proverbs 1 and the failure to heed the warnings).
Wisdom is the answer. It always has been and it will always be.
Going to Wisdom is a search. It is a devoted quest practiced daily for months, even years--unto a lifetime. Fresh perspective envelopes us each time. And it is a safe place to return to, in any condition.
Unlike Proverbs 1, this chapter finishes in the drastic negative, “but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it” (verse 22). It finishes with a promise for both the wicked and the unfaithful. Recall too how critically important the land was, particularly in the context of the generations. Imagine losing the land and the consequences for those in your family to come. Not good! That is how dire these decisions to stray are. They have lasting consequences.
Juxtaposing both 1:33 and 2:22 makes a pretty powerful case to go after wisdom; to ‘get it,’ and this is where we’re heading the day after next i.e. chapter 4.
But chapter 3 of Proverbs is the jewel in the crown of Wisdom; that is next on the radar.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.