Proverbs 2:3-4 "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;"
There is a clear progression in the first four verses of Proverbs 2. This progression deals with the mindset of the person who will be most likely to spiritually succeed. Solomon wanted his son to spiritually succeed and so he laid out exactly what he hoped he would do. This success would start with doing more than just hearing the voice of his father – it would start with him receiving the words of his father. There is a substantial difference between hearing words and receiving words. Hearing requires nothing more than the use of an ear while receiving requires the use of an ear and the use of the mind. Hearing allows words to go in but receiving words prevents those words from going right out the other ear. Receiving someone’s words requires thinking about someone’s words. Any person who fails to receive instruction given by parents and elders has little to no chance of success.
Following Solomon’s pattern of progression, retention comes after reception. To be successful, Solomon knew that his son needed to retain what he had received – he needed to hide his father’s commandments in his heart. For any person to be successful, one needs to remember what they have received. Just as hearing and receiving are two different actions, so are receiving and remembering. Knowledge received is not applicable or useful unless it becomes knowledge retained.
Verse two reveals the third step of progression in Solomon’s counsel to his son – Reception, Retention and Recognition. The person who recognizes wisdom within the instruction given substantially increases their chances of success. While our parents and elders will speak inaccurately, inconsistently and erroneously at times, that doesn’t negate the fact that these important teachers will speak wisdom within the multitude of their words. The man who can detect wisdom in the things that he hears is on the path to success. The woman who can recognize wisdom in the words that she receives is on a promising path.
If a person receives the words of their elders, he can retain and remember that valuable instruction.
If a person retains that sound instruction, he can then recognize the wisdom contained in that instruction.
If a person recognizes wisdom within those words, he can then appreciate the wisdom’s worth.
If a person tastes the sweet juice of wisdom, he can then crave its fruit. Hence, the final step of Solomon’s progression in the first four verses of chapter 2 – REQUIRING wisdom, knowledge and understanding.
These verses are the BIG IF of any and every person’s life.
Spiritual success depends on “IF thou criest after knowledge.”
It depends on “IF thou liftest up thy voice for understanding.”
It depends on “IF thou seekest her as silver.”
It depends on “IF thou searchest for her as for hid treasures.”
IF knowledge isn’t that important to you, then spiritual success won’t be that important to you. IF understanding isn’t that important to you, then the spiritual success that requires it won’t be that important to you. IF wisdom and its virtue doesn’t interest you, then you won’t find it. IF wisdom and its virtue doesn’t fascinate you, then you won’t seek it. Spiritual success hinges on one’s hunger for knowledge; it hinges on one’s thirst for understanding; it hinges on one’s appetite for wisdom. Where there is little appetite for wisdom, there will be little effort to find it. Where there is no hunger for wisdom, there will be no desire to discover it.
The vocabulary chosen to describe the ideal approach to wisdom is more like the intense pursuit of lost treasure than it is the mundane gathering of daily manna. The wording in these verses sounds more like the fervent search for a lost pet than it does for a quick run to the grocery store for milk and bread. Success for the child of God requires more than a desire for wisdom - it requires an intense desire for wisdom. It’s not good enough to want wisdom - we must crave wisdom. It’s not good enough to hope that eventually we’ll obtain wisdom - we must be unsatisfied until we find wisdom. If we don’t see wisdom as a REQUIREMENT for our success, then we will live our days without it. If we don’t see knowledge as a REQUIREMENT for our success, then we will operate without it. If we don’t see understanding as a REQUIREMENT for our success, then we will function without it. These invaluable virtues do not come naturally – we must go and find them as we would for lost treasure. These priceless virtues do not come standard in the human heart – we must go and find them as we would for a lost puppy. We have to call out for them – shout out for them – cry out for them. We have to look for clues, investigate for evidence and search for any trace of existence. This will demand a great deal of effort and for that reason, it can only be accomplished where there is a burning desire and an unbridled appetite for wisdom.
How do you see wisdom, as an option or as a requirement?
How do you view wisdom, as a desire or as a necessity?
How do you view wisdom, as something you would like to live with or as something you can’t live without?
Is the hunt for Biblical wisdom worth years to you or just days, hours or even minutes?
Is Biblical wisdom worth sweat, blood and tears to you or just a few calories?
How you value wisdom will determine how you pursue wisdom.
How you value wisdom will determine whether or not you’ll ever find wisdom.
How you value wisdom will determine whether or not you’ll experience spiritual success in this world.