In Proverbs 2:1-4, Solomon uses eight verbs that must be present for one to “understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5). Of course, the foundation of having the ability to exercise these eight verbs is Son-ship to God, “my son.” That is, you must a Regenerated Son of God (Galatians 4:5-6).
1) First verb: “If thou wilt receive my words” (Proverbs 2:1a)
This speaks first of the ability to “receive” as a passive act (1 Corinthians 4:7) and not as an active act. The reason is because God must give you the ability to receive spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:9-16); you must be given the “mind of Christ.”
But secondly, the phrase “If thou wilt” places the responsibility on the believer to receive. A person is given the ability in Regeneration by the Holy Spirit; the desire to receive the Words of the Father (God) comes in a progressive process of God’s actions upon the believer. This process begins with the Word of God being taught in the Church (Ephesians 3:1-10).
The reason is in Ephesians 3:17-19:
“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” (Ephesians 3:17)
“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;” (Ephesians 3:18)
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)
And also in Ephesians 4:12-16:
“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:12)
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13)
“That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” (Ephesians 4:14)
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” (Ephesians 4:15)
“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16)
The preached and taught Word of God in the Power of the Holy Spirit to the believer is the Knowledge of the Commands of God upon the believer. Learning these facts by the preaching and teaching, and by your own personal study of the Word of God…
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
…Gives you the foundation and the facts and the reasons to not only be a “hearer” of the word, but also a “doer” of the Word of God (James 1:22).
When the Word of God lands on good ground, then there is germination, root, and growth of the Seed; and then comes the harvest (the fruit). The believer has been ordained unto good works (Ephesians 2:10); and it is God which worketh in the believer to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
Then, the believer will receive the Word of God. “If thou wilt” does not indicate a possible failure; but this is the natural step of a Righteous Man. (Prayer, confession, personal study of God’s Word, and hearing the pastor/teacher preach the unsearchable riches of God – lead the believer to receive God’s Words.)
Thirdly, God uses trials and tribulations as tools of His chastisement to bring a believer to fruit bearing:
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:” (Hebrews 12:5)
“For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” (Hebrews 12:6)
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:7)
“But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:8)
“Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” (Hebrews 12:9)
“For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10)
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11)
Notice, those exercised thereby yield “the peaceable fruit of righteousness” (verse 11). Those born of the Spirit of God “are not of them who draw back unto perdition (or physical destruction); but of them that believe (trust and obey) to the saving (a temporal salvation in this life) of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).
Solomon does not use the word “if” as maybe you will not. But Solomon uses the word “if” as “since”; as a matter of fact as to when you do receive My Words, then… (see Proverbs 2:5).
2) Second Verb: “…hide my commandments with thee;” (Proverbs 2:1b)
David reveals what we must do as believers, and the result of doing so in Psalms 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” What does it means to hide the Word of God in your heart (or spirit)? It means to “…keep them in the midst of thine heart” (Proverbs 4:21b). It means James 1:21:
“Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.”
The same as Hebrews 12:1:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”
It means to turn from serving the flesh (1 John 2:15-17), and live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and be led of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:16, 18, 25) and to be filled with the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18). It means to sell out to God in your body, soul, and spirit. You have made a commitment, a vow, to go God’s Way. That is, you have placed God’s Way and Will as foremost in your spirit; that God is your first love.
3) Third Verb: “So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom…” (Proverbs 2:2a)
This means you have made a commitment, or a vow, to regulate and filter what you listen to. You have decided to listen to Wisdom (or to Christ, who is Wisdom).
4) Fourth Verb: “And apply thine heart to understanding;” (Proverbs 2:2b)
This means you not only heard God’s Word, but now you have applied God’s Word to your spirit. You now are a “doer” of God’s Word (James 1:22), because you have vowed to follow righteousness. You now understand God’s Word.
5) Fifth Verb: “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge…” (Proverbs 2:3a)
This shows that you are determined to go after truth (or knowledge, or the facts of truth); which is revealed in prayer.
6) Sixth Verb: “And liftest up thy voice for understanding;” (Proverbs 2:3b)
This reveals that the first part of verse 3 “criest,” is found in prayer; for in prayer you lift up your voice for understanding. This is what Solomon did when he prayed for Wisdom.
7) Seventh Verb: “If thou seekest her as silver,” (Proverbs 2:4a)
This reveals that you desire truth; and you will go after truth with zeal. Some men will give all their time and strength to find silver (or worldly wealth).
8) Eighth Verb: “And searchest for her as for hid treasures;” (Proverbs 2:4b)
This is the same thing as “seekest.” Seeking gives us the intensity in the process of searching for hid treasures or wealth. Searching is the plan – Seeking is the desire and determination – to find wealth.
So the believer is to “receive… hide… incline… apply… criest… liftest… seekest… and searchest” for Wisdom (God’s Truth, His Knowledge and His Understanding). These eight verbs are the steps of coming to the understanding of the fear of the Lord.
In the next devotion (verses 5-9) the Pursuit will (not maybe, but will) lead to Perception, or an understanding of the “fear of the Lord.”
But in this devotion, the primary focus is upon the Believer’s Responsibility. And these eight verbs are the Believer’s Responsibility.
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