Proverbs 2:1-6 (ESV)

My son, if you receive my words

and treasure up my commandments with you,

[2] making your ear attentive to wisdom

and inclining your heart to understanding;

[3] yes, if you call out for insight

and raise your voice for understanding,

[4] if you seek it like silver

and search for it as for hidden treasures,

[5] then you will understand the fear of the Lord

and find the knowledge of God.

[6] For the Lord gives wisdom;

from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

Read the above text carefully. Note the verbs that are used in verses 1 – 4 regarding a person’s commitment to getting wisdom. He is to receive it and treasure it up (verse 1). He is to make his ear attentive to it and incline his heart to it (verse 2). He is to call out for it and scream for it (verse 3). He is to seek it as if it were a valuable mineral and diligently hunt for it as if it were buried treasure (verse 4).

And why is the writer’s son, for that is who Solomon is primarily addressing here, why is he to do that? Verse 6 tells us. Because the Lord gives wisdom.

He gives wisdom? Solomon is directing his son to search and call out for and pay attention to and incline his heart and scream and seek and find. That doesn’t sound like God is giving anything. It sounds like the one seeking is doing all the work. That sounds like earning. The man puts all that effort into the attainment of wisdom and his hard work produces the fruit of a wise life. Where does Solomon get off telling us that the Lord gives wisdom, or anything for that matter, to people who so obviously worked so hard to get it?

1) No matter how much work we put into the pursuit of good things it will produce nothing if God does not cause it to. Psalm 127 kicks in here. Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it. We can produce nothing. God must do it.

2) The pursuits here are the things that God says need to be pursued. What we produce will lead straight to hell. This is not a lesson in “work hard at something and you will achieve your dreams”, even if there is some truth in that advice. But this is about chasing after what God has ordained to bless every time someone honestly desires it.

3) The command is basically to want the right things. It is a matter of desire. The reason people do not have eternal life, fellowship with God is because they do not want it. God demands that we want what is good and right. What is being chased after here is the wisdom that comes from God and all the effort that is encouraged does not produce wisdom. It finds it.

The treasure spoken of in verse 4 is not created by the one hunting for it. It is found. God has put it there and it is there for all who will search for it. But make no mistake. It is still a gift of grace. If not for grace the treasure would not be there. If not for grace the desire for it would not exist. If not for grace the search would be futile. If not for grace there would be no invitation to come and find.

Rejoice today if you have a desire for the things of God, because that desire came from Him. And here is the great encouraging thing. God does not send you on a fool’s errand. He does not invite without the intention of enabling you to find. He does not say “search here” and then hide the treasure somewhere else. A desire for God, a real desire for the real God who is and not some counterfeit, can only come from God. Jesus Christ is the real wisdom that this Proverb is directing us to search for. He is there. He gives real wisdom and life. Accept no substitutes and know that He will receive you.