SS Lesson for 06/14/2020
Devotional Scripture: Eph 1:15-21
Swimmer Michael Phelps electrified the sports world when he won a record eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. But he had made a different kind of impact in the 2004 games in Athens, Greece. There Phelps, who had earned a spot in the 4x100-meter medley relay, decided to give up his spot to Ian Crocker. Crocker was swimming in what he thought was his final Olympics, and he had yet to earn gold thus far in Athens. The American team won the relay, and Crocker received the gold medal that had eluded him. Phelps's gesture of withdrawing from a race for the sake of a teammate identified him as a gold medalist in more than swimming. It made him a champion of a different kind in the eyes of many. Olympic athletes are known for their highly disciplined training in pursuit of world-class excellence and of winning the gold medal that distinguishes them as the best. In today's Scripture, Solomon encouraged his son (and all readers of his words) to pursue something far more valuable than any precious medal.
Proverbs often uses a form of Hebrew poetry called parallelism. This is where two or more lines of text make the same point by using synonyms or near synonyms. In other words, all of wisdom's ways are the same as her paths, and the pleasantness of those are peaceful. The effect of this literary technique is to emphasize the point being made. Parallelism occurs frequently in today's lesson. Today's lesson continues the appeal from the father to the son (Proverbs 1:8, 10, 15). Though the son could find many other enticing treasures to seek, the father impresses on the young man the superiority of finding wisdom.
For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding
In this chapter the father instructed his son (“my son”; cf. 1:8) on the efforts needed for attaining wisdom (2:1-6), the moral benefits of wisdom’s attainment (vv. 7-10), and the protection of wisdom from immoral people (vv. 11-22).
2:1-4. Eight verbs are used in these verses: accept... store up (v. 1), turning... applying... call... cry (v. 3), look... search (v. 4). The objects of these activities are the teacher’s words and commands (v. 1; cf. “commands” in 7:1), wisdom and understanding (2:2), and insight and understanding (v. 3; cf. “understanding,” meaning discernment, in vv. 6, 11). Effort must be expended for one to become wise. Getting wisdom involves openness, retention, hearing (with the ear), applying (with the heart; cf. v. 10), requesting, and diligent searching.
2:5-6. The three “ifs” in verses 1, 3-4 are followed by then, which introduces the result. Seeking and valuing wisdom lead to a person’s understanding (discerning) the fear of the Lord and knowing God. This is the same truth stated in 1:7. The lord is the source of that wisdom (cf. James 1:5). As a person fears the Lord, he gains wisdom, knowledge (cf. Prov. 1:4; 2:10), and understanding (cf. vv. 2-3, 11).
2:7-10. Wisdom gives positive, health-inducing moral benefits. It keeps one from evil and contributes to holiness. Wisdom is a matter of the heart, and of moral conduct, not just of intellectual attainment. This is made clear by the words upright and blameless (cf. v. 21), the just, and faithful ones (from ḥesed̠, those who are loyal to God). Elsewhere in Proverbs the word for victory is translated “sound judgment” (3:21; 8:14; 18:1). In 2:7 it means success, the result of sound judgment. Like a shield (cf. Ps. 3:3) God protects those who by His wisdom are morally upright, those who are His (cf. Prov. 1:33). Moral living enables a person to be equitable with others, to do what is right and just and fair (cf. 1:3). “Fair” translates the same word rendered “upright” in 2:7. One’s conduct is suggested by the synonyms walk... course... way, and path (vv. 7-9; cf. vv. 12-13, 15, 18-20). A person who strives for wisdom (vv. 1-4) will find that it will enter his heart (v. 10). Obtaining wisdom requires diligence on man’s part in pursuing God’s will; yet wisdom is a gift from God (cf. v. 6). Having such knowledge from God gives inner joy or pleasure.
2:11-15. A general statement about wisdom’s protection (v. 11) links verses 7-8 with verses 12-15. God protects (v. 8), and the discretion He gives also protects (v. 11; cf. 4:6; 13:6). Verses 12-15 take on added meaning when they are related to the warning in 1:10-19. The ways and words of the wicked... are perverse (2:12). “Perverse” and perverseness (v. 14) are the same word in Hebrew. Coming from the verb “to turn, turn from, overturn,” they suggest something that is “turned away” from the normal. This Hebrew word occurs eight times in Proverbs (2:12, 14; 6:14, “deceit”; 10:31-32; 16:28, 30; 23:33, “confusing”) and only once elsewhere (Deut. 32:20, “perversity”). Such people turn away from the straight (lit., “upright”; cf. Prov. 2:7) paths to dark (i.e., evil) ways. They even enjoy their perversity, their crooked... ways. “Crooked” translates ʿiqqēš (“twisted”) which is also used in 6:12 (“corrupt”); it is rendered “perverse” in 11:20; 17:20; 19:1; 28:6 and “wicked” in 22:5. Their deeds are distortions of morality. Ways (2:12-13, 15) and paths (vv. 13, 15) help relate this passage to other parts of chapter 2 (cf. “way” in v. 8, “ways” in v. 20, “path” in v. 9, and “paths” in vv. 18-20; also cf. 4:19; 7:25; 8:20).
2:16-19. Wisdom (it) also protects from (will save you... from; cf. v. 12) immoral women (cf. 7:4-5). The adulteress (ʾiššah zārâhʾ and the wayward wife (nok̠ryâh) are synonymous terms. The first term can mean a non-Israelite (as Ruth in Ruth 2:10) or (as in Prov. 2:16; 5:3, 20; 7:5; 22:14; 23:27) a woman who because of her immorality was outside the circle of her proper relations. In Proverbs nok̠ryâh is used in 2:16; 5:20; 6:24; 7:5; 23:27. Whereas wicked men use perverse words (2:12) the adulteress uses seductive words (cf. 5:3; 6:24; 7:5, 21). The partner of her youth refers to her husband (cf. “the wife of your youth,” 5:18), and the covenant which she ignored is her marriage vows. Forgetting her commitment to her husband, she became promiscuous. To be involved with such a person (in her house) leads to death; adultery puts a person on an irretrievable path that eventually results in physical death (cf. 5:5; 7:27). It is fatal. The spirits of the dead translates repʾāʾm, which occurs also in 9:18; 21:16 (see Job 26:5). On paths (Prov. 2:18-19) see verses 13, 15 (cf. 5:6).
2:20-22. A person who pursues wisdom (vv. 1-4) avoids the wrong kind of people (vv. 11-19) and can have the right kind of companions (good men and the righteous). Merely escaping immorality is insufficient for a man of wisdom; he must also progressively pursue the good. As a result God blesses him. For the Israelites, residing in the land (of Canaan) was a sign of God’s favor (cf. Ex. 20:12; Ps. 37:3, 9, 11, 29). The contrast between the upright and the blameless (cf. Prov. 2:7), who will enjoy God’s agricultural prosperity, and the wicked and the unfaithful, who will no longer be in the land because of either exile or death, recalls the contrast in Psalm 1:6 (cf. Prov. 10:30).
1 My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures;
1 Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
97 Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. 98 Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. 99 I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.
47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
16 as you hold out the word of life — in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
9 Then Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
11 He told them, "The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables
6 Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people."
2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
15 Be very careful, then, how you live — not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.
7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
9 And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,
2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
21 Test everything. Hold on to the good.
14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: 16 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
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;
7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.
6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.
66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, 8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair — every good path. 10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
12 Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: that wisdom preserves the life of its possessor.
10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
26 He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one."
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path.
10 When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
11 Discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you,
22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
7 But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ — the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
1 Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
1 The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad; let the distant shores rejoice.
15 Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: "The Lord's right hand has done mighty things!
30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."
2 if the Lord had not been on our side when men attacked us, 3 when their anger flared against us, they would have swallowed us alive; 4 the flood would have engulfed us, the torrent would have swept over us, 5 the raging waters would have swept us away. 6 Praise be to the Lord, who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The difficulty of obtaining Wisdom of Solomon (2:1-5)
Even though Wisdom wants people to adopt her (Proverbs 1:20-33), she is hard to obtain. The person who wants her has to work hard for her (Proverbs 2:3). If understanding does not come easily, one should work harder to obtain it. [Note: See Julius H. Greenstone, Proverbs with Commentary, p17.] He or she must start with Revelation, and study it diligently, in order to obtain spiritual rather than merely academic wisdom. The "fear of the Lord" emphasizes awe, and the "knowledge of God" stresses intimacy. [Note: For a synthesis of what the Book of Proverbs reveals about God, see Zuck, pp238-39.]
"If you want Wisdom of Solomon , you must listen to God attentively ( Matthew 13:9), obey Him humbly ( John 7:17), ask Him sincerely ( James 1:5), and seek Him diligently ( Isaiah 55:6-7), the way a miner searches for silver and gold.
"Obtaining spiritual wisdom isn’t a once-a-week hobby, it is the daily discipline of a lifetime. But in this age of microwave ovens, fast foods, digests, and numerous "made easy" books, many people are out of the habit of daily investing time and energy in digging deep into Scripture and learning wisdom from the Lord. Thanks to television, their attention span is brief; thanks to religious entertainment that passes for worship, their spiritual appetite is feeble and spiritual knowledge isn’t "pleasant to [their] soul" ( Proverbs 2:10). It’s no wonder fewer and fewer people "take time to be holy" and more and more people fall prey to the enemies that lurk along the way." [Note: Wiersbe, p36.]
Chapter 2 is a discourse that sets forth the blessings that wisdom confers.
The giver of Wisdom of Solomon (2:6-9)
The searcher for wisdom will find what God gives when he or she searches divine revelation (Proverbs 2:6). The knowledge of how to live comes with the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:7). The success in view is correct behavior (Proverbs 2:7-9). Lovers of wisdom are godly (Proverbs 2:8, Heb. hasidim, loyal sons of the covenant).
This is another passage in which we can see the difference between Hebrew wisdom literature and that of other ancient nations. Solomon identified Yahweh as the source of wisdom. Only through relationship with Him can a person be truly wise and experience the blessings of wisdom.
The fruit of moral integrity (2:10-22)
Wisdom safeguards a person morally. The first part of this pericope shows how God protects the wise (Proverbs 2:10-11; cf. Proverbs 2:7-8). The last part presents the temptations one can overcome as he or she seeks wisdom (Proverbs 2:12-19). When a person submits himself or herself to God and gains Wisdom of Solomon, the ways of the wicked will lose some of their attractiveness. The wise person will see that the adventuress who promises thrills is offering something she cannot give, except in the most immediate sensual sense.
The "strange" woman (Proverbs 2:16) is one "outside the circle of his [a man’s] proper relations, that Isaiah, a harlot or an adulteress." [Note: Toy, p46.] The word does not necessarily mean that she is a foreigner. Probably she is a stranger to the conventions of Israel’s corporate life. [Note: William McKane, Proverbs: A New Approach, p285.]
"If the evil man uses perverse words to snare the unwary [Proverbs 2:12], the adulteress uses flattering words. Someone has said that flattery isn’t communication, it is manipulation; its people telling us things about ourselves that we enjoy hearing and wish were true." [Note: Wiersbe, p37.]
The "covenant" she has left (Proverbs 2:17) seems to refer to her own marriage covenant (Malachi 2:14), rather than to the covenant law that prohibited adultery (Exodus 20:14). [Note: Ross, p914.] The "land" (Proverbs 2:21-22) is the Promised Land of Canaan.
This chapter, like the previous one, ends by contrasting the ends of the wicked and the righteous (Proverbs 2:21-22; cf. Proverbs 1:32-33). It is a long poem that appeals to the reader to pursue Wisdom of Solomon, and then identifies the benefits of following wisdom. Chapter2emphasizes moral stability as a fruit of wisdom.
(Adapted from URL: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/proverbs-2.html)
The challenge in today's text to find wisdom is expressed in terms of an intense search, not just a casual or passing interest. One must cry out for knowledge and lift up his or her voice for understanding, not whisper. One must be as passionate for wisdom as many are for material wealth. An individual must seek for the Almighty himself, not the almighty dollar. For some, however, the seeking spirit, the passion for wisdom and for the God who is its source, diminishes with time. In the Western world especially, we settle into routines and expectations at church and in our faith. We become comfortable with where we are spiritually. We lose the hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). We may not be guilty of any blatant wrongdoing against God or against others, but neither do we maintain our sense of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (6:33). Our cry for wisdom is reduced to a whimper. Ultimately, addressing this matter requires that we undergo a serious self-examination. This is particularly so with regard to our relationship with God. Since “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), then maintaining a strong bond with the Lord and a reverence for Him is pivotal to sustaining passion and growth. The spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and meaningful fellowship with other Christians dare not be neglected (Hebrews 10:24, 25; etc.). Our lesson text also highlights the necessity for a human teacher to convey to students the value of wisdom and thus of the knowledge of the Lord. True, reading insightful works can be of great benefit; but nothing teaches wisdom better than a consistent personal example. The best personal example is the one that a person sees daily in the home setting. Both mothers and fathers are to urge their children to receive their words and take to heart their commandments (Proverbs 1:8) so that wisdom and understanding can be theirs. The responsibility then falls on the children to continue to cultivate their own desire for wisdom. They must cry out for it with raised voices. They must look for it as though seeking hidden treasure. Parents can model wisdom as they encourage their children to seek it, but each individual must do the seeking personally. The parents can put wisdom into a child's head. But the journey those few inches from head to heart is the task of the growing child.
Solomon and God's Wisdom - You can find God's wisdom if you diligently hunt for it in His Word and listen to His special teacher, the Holy Spirit. It is God's generous gift, but it must be intensely pursued and personally received. The Book of Proverbs shows how Solomon took on the role of tutor instructing the nation under his rulership. He affectionately called the person he taught "my son" which either meant he spoke to one of his children, or to anyone willing to listen to his wise counsel. Either way, he encouraged his learner to be open, catching hold of his words. Someone who is on a hunt for wisdom is serious, earnest, and determined to follow biblical instruction. With this kind of attitude, God will surely provide his insight for this person. But the heart must be open toward heaven, sensitive, looking out for God-centered understanding as the ultimate prize.
The Value of Wisdom - Solomon understood the wealth in wisdom. He urged his listeners to pray, to cry out to God for His mysteries to be revealed. Solomon emphasized the riches of divine insight. He compared it to silver, one of the most valuable commodities in his day. It is not unusual to find dedicated people digging for the Lord's lessons. Precious goods are rarely sitting around on the surface. Solomon spoke from experience. He asked for wisdom, not riches. God liberally provided both to him,
Stay on Wisdom's Path - The author specifically addressed God's devoted ones, the upright, His worshipers who are committed to keeping their feet on His way. He will guide and make sure they stay on the straight and narrow. He protects, seeing to it that they are rescued from the danger of self-reliance and its effects. A person with godly understanding walks through life confidently, allowing God's instructions to pave the way.