Today’s reading: Proverbs 2
Today’s focus: Seeking Wisdom From God’s Word
Wisdom is more than accumulating a headful of knowledge. Wisdom is living wisely, or, in essence, living out God’s Word–reading it, praying on how God wants us to apply it, then living it out.
This week’s memory verse: (I must apologize. Yesterday, early in the post, I called the day’s focal passage the memory verse, and, later in the post, mentioned the below was the memory verse. I apologize for any confusion this may have caused.)
Today’s devotional comes from writer, musician, and photographer, Emilie Anne Hendryx. Emilie is an author, photographer, and musician living in sunny Northern Los Angeles. She is a member of ACWF and loves to read and write Christian Inspirational fiction while also blogging several times a week. She has always been fascinated with the idea of story – whether it’s photographing a love story or writing one – and this passion fuels everything she does. In her free time you’ll find her with a book and a cup of coffee wishing it was raining outside. Connect with Emilie online at her blog:
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;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
It’s something we all could use more of and yet, when we search for it, we tend to turn everywhere but in the right direction. I don’t know how many times I’ve felt cornered in a situation and turned to my friends or to my own understanding for guidance but, as Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” (emphasis mine).
When I first read this section of scripture with the intent to study it (over this last summer), it impacted me so much that I ended up writing it on a notecard and pinning it to the bulletin board by my desk at work. The first thing I did was go through and highlight the action words of the first part (v 1-4) of this section:
Receive my words (v1a)
Treasure my commandments (v1b)
Making your ear attentive to wisdom (v2a)
Inclining your heart to understanding (v2b)
Call out for insight (v3a)
Raise your voice for understanding (v3b)
After I did that, I wanted to match up these action words and phrases with their adjacent promises in verses 5-8. One of the beautiful things in scripture is that the Lord tends to accompany commands with promises (Exodus 20:1-17 is a good example) and, though these promises are always dependent on His will, they are stated for a reason and represent hope from a loving and caring God.
Here, I’ve reformatted some of those phrases to reflect their intended promise. Remember, they are dependent on the actions of verses 1-4.
Understand the fear of the Lord (v5a)
Find the knowledge of God (v5b)
You will gain wisdom from the Lord (v6a)
If you are upright, He has stored up wisdom for you (v7a)
If you walk in integrity, He will be a shield for you (v7b)
He will guard and watch over the way of His saints (v8)
Aren’t these promises amazing? God doesn’t just promise knowledge and wisdom from Him, but His own protection over us! It is such a comfort to realize the all-knowing God, who created the universe, has our protection in mind.
As we come into a new year I pray that this passage of scripture would become our guide – that we would receive His words, treasure His commandments, and make it a priority to become attentive to His wisdom rather than turn to our own understanding. While we make our New Year’s resolutions, may we seek His understanding knowing that He will most surely guide us and direct our steps (Proverbs 16:9).
Emilee’s devo reminds me of this week’s memory verse. I love God’s promise to guide, protect, and teach us. I pray today you would really grasp this and the treasure that comes with it. God, the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the universe, wants to walk with us, in intimate fellowship, leading us toward His very best.
Here are some questions to ponder and/or discuss:
1. There is a difference between accumulating knowledge and even memorizing verses and living with wisdom. What are some ways we can apply what we read in Scripture? I’m thinking back to yesterday’s post on discipline and wondering if there might be a time commitment involved here. It’s fairly easy and quick to read through a passage and walk away, but I suspect God longs for more.
Question one begs a second question–when you read Scripture, do you allow yourself enough time to really digest and pray about what is read? If not, how might you change this?
2. Emilee mentioned how, often, when facing a tough decision, we go everywhere else but to God. Why do you think this is? Is this true in your life? Do you think patience or lack of might be involved? (Oy, we’re going back to the question of time again, aren’t we? 😉 )
3. Pause and consider–do you treasure God’s commands? What are some ways to do this? Do you treasure reading God’s Word? If not, think back to the post yesterday and how we discussed our ways of viewing things as hindering or helping our progress. If we think of our Bible reading time as a “have-to”, I suspect it will be much more difficult to make this time consistent. But, if we think of it as a joy and treasure, I wonder if we’ll look forward to that time. One of our Yahoo Group members shared an insightful comment regarding how she viewed discipline. She said when she thought of the word discipline, she associated it with self-deprivation. But upon thinking about her mindset and goals, she determined to change her thinking to what she would gain from the discipline–increased intimacy with God.
4. I found the wording in verse 7a intriguing: “If you are upright, He has stored up wisdom for you.”
Many thoughts come to mind when I read this verse, one being Proverbs 25:2 “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”
I’d love to discuss this further, but I’m at 1089 words, well over the legal blogging limit. 🙂 So, I’ll leave you with one last question: What do you think this means, that God has wisdom “stored” up for us? Do anything thoughts come to mind when you pair this with Proverbs 25:2? Or when you think of the parables. 😉
We can continue this discussion in the comments below or at our Yahoo Bible study/verse memorization group:
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Such a thought-provoking devotion, Emilee! Loved it. And Jen, your questions are always so insightful. I think God has wisdom and an entire treasure trove of other wonderful things stored up for us…just waiting for our obedience in seeking it out and receiving it.
I love how you so eloquently worded that, Delia! And I agree! What an amazing and gracious Father we have!
I totally agree. It’s only day two but the things that I have been thinking about that I never thought before when reading Proverbs. Love it!
Isn’t it wonderful to really dig into God’s Word and to learn from one another? It always amazes me how God will use each of us, in community, to reveal Himself and His truth to all of us in a fresh and deeper way. 😉
I know and how God may be speaking to me may not be how He is speaking to you but we can still learn from eachother. I love how He ties it all together.
Thank you Delia! And Jen’s questions are great! That’s how I like to process things – ask questions of myself and of the Lord. 🙂
Very thought-provoking, Emilie….good job! Thanks for hosting her, Jennifer!
I’m honored to have her! I’ve been chewing on this devotion all day. 😉 Praying about how I can live it out. I believe one thing God is showing me is to be more conscious of His desire to be actively involved in my life. Thinking about this post, I remembered Amos 3:3, “Can two walk together without first agreeing on the direction.” I can’t walk with God, stay in intimate, step-by-step fellowship with Him, if I’m going in the opposite direction. 😉