The Value of Wisdom

June 9, 2024 ()

Bible Text: Proverbs 2 |


The Value of Wisdom | Proverbs 2
Brian Hedges | June 9, 2024

I want to invite you to turn this morning in Scripture to Proverbs 2.

When I was a teenager, someone put me onto the classic novel by H. Rider Haggard called King’s Solomon’s Mines, written in 1885. How many of you have ever heard of King Solomon’s Mines? Let me see your hand. Okay, a few of you. Maybe some of you have even read this novel. It’s an adventure story about Alan Quattermain and his companions, Sir Henry Curtis and Captain Good, who go on a quest deep into the heart of Africa searching for Sir Henry’s lost brother and for the ancient treasure mines of King Solomon. And it was, in some ways, one of the very first novels in a whole genre of literature from late Victorian England called “the lost world literature.” Of course, it was something of a precursor to the Indiana Jones films and adventure films of that nature that we’ve known in our own day.

It was a thrilling story; I’ve read it two or three times over the years, and I actually began to collect the H. Rider Haggard novels and have many of these that are, some of them, fifty or even a hundred years old. He was a great author in many ways. King Solomon’s Mines.

But though Solomon was famous for his great wealth, the real treasure of Solomon and the treasure that all of us should seek is the treasure of his wisdom. 1 Kings 3 records how, after Solomon became the king of Israel, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him to “ask whatever you want me to give to you, and I’ll give it to you.” And Solomon, rather than asking for great riches for himself or victory over his enemies prayed for a discerning heart to govern God’s people and to distinguish between right and wrong. You have it in 1 Kings 3:9. And God was so pleased with Solomon’s noble request that he gave him a wise and discerning mind greater than any who came before him or any who would come after him, and in addition gave him wealth and gave him victory over his enemies. Solomon ever since has been renowned for his wisdom, and according to 1 Kings 4:32 Solomon spoke some three thousand proverbs or wise sayings.

About three or four hundred of those proverbs are collected in this book, the book of Proverbs that we have just begun to study together. This, of course, includes much of the wisdom of Solomon; it also includes proverbs and wise sayings from other sages of ancient Israel. If you read Proverbs 25 it tells us that many of these were collected under the reign of King Hezekiah. So the book of Proverbs represents the wisdom of Solomon and much more, and it is a book that contains wealth and riches and treasure for us to search out and to discover.

We just started this summer series on Proverbs called “How to Make Life Work,” and last week we saw that wisdom is the ability to make godly choices in life. That’s the most basic definition of wisdom, and we considered why we need this wisdom as we navigate the complexities of life in the world in which we live. We saw how wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, this sense of awe and reverence before the holy and majestic God. And we talked about the importance of listening to the call of wisdom, as wisdom is personified here in Proverbs and calls out and cries out to the simple and to the naive, warning them of the paths of wickedness that lead to destruction and inviting them to the path of righteousness and life.

Today we’re going to be looking at Proverbs 2 as we consider the value of wisdom. In the course of this series we’re really moving from a more general consideration of wisdom here at the beginning of this series to much more specific themes that are dealt with in Proverbs.

This is kind of the structure of the book of Proverbs itself. It begins in the first nine chapters with a lot of focus on wisdom broadly considered, and then from chapter ten on you have these collections of sayings and proverbs that deal with all different kinds of themes. So by the end of this series we’re going to look very specifically at themes such as marriage and sexuality, friendship, wealth, how to manage our emotions, friendship, and many others. So those are coming.

But today I want us to consider the value of wisdom, and we’re doing that from Proverbs 2. I want to begin by reading the first nine verses, Proverbs 2:1-9. By the end of the message we’ll have read all of Proverbs 2, but I want to begin with these first nine verses. I’m using the NIV, which I’ll use throughout this series on Proverbs. Let’s hear God’s word.

“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.”

This is God’s word.

It’s a very simple outline this morning:

1. The Search for Wisdom
2. The Source of Wisdom
3. The Value of Wisdom

With each one of those three points I want to give you a basic principle that summarizes what Proverbs 2 is saying, and then really dig into some application, to how we specifically apply the teaching of Proverbs 2 to our lives. So we begin, first of all, with the search for wisdom.

1. The Search for Wisdom

Here’s the principle that we learn from Proverbs 2:1-5: if you want to gain wisdom, you must search for it earnestly.

I want you to notice in these first five verses as I read them again that there is an if/then structure. If you do these things, then you will find wisdom. There’s an if/then structure. So this is showing us that gaining wisdom is conditional. It’s conditional upon you doing certain things. In other words, you’re not going to get wisdom simply by osmosis. You can’t just put a Bible under your pillow and expect to get wisdom. You can’t even just sit through sermons on wisdom and think you’ll get wisdom. This will require something of you. So notice the if/then structure and notice the verbs. There are these eight strong verbs in Proverbs 2:1-4 that are saying what we must do.

“My son, if you accept my words
and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.”

Do you see it? You have to do something. The search for wisdom requires something of you. You have to search for it earnestly if you want to become a wise person.

What does that mean? How might we apply this to our lives? I think if you look at those first four verses it suggests several things.

(1) Number one, it means, first of all, that you must be willing to learn and to grow. Proverbs 2:1-2 say, “If you accept my words . . .” This implies a certain attitude, an attitude of teachability, a willingness to recognize that you don’t have all the wisdom you need and that you need to receive or accept teaching from others. Especially this is a father’s teaching to his son, and for us it’s the teaching of God’s word and of those who are wiser than us, accepting that teaching in our lives. He says, “If you accept my words.”

This is what we might call a posture of active receptivity, to quote Eric Johnson, a great Christian psychologist. Active receptivity—in other words, an intentionality on our part to receive and to accept teaching and insight and wisdom from others.

It means that if you’re a teenager there’s a willingness to receive the wisdom of your parents or of your teachers, your mentors. It means that if you are a new Christian there’s a willingness to receive wisdom from Christians who are further along in the Christian life, and so on.

This is the opposite of the “know-it-all” attitude. Have you ever talked to someone who is a know-it-all? I mean, this is the person who does all the talking, he doesn’t do any of the listening. On any subject that you discuss, they seem to think that they have all that the information that they could possibly require. Such a person tends to be an insufferable bore, impossible to talk to, not a fun conversation at all. That’s the opposite of what Proverbs is talking about here. Proverbs is saying that we need to be teachable. We need to be willing to listen to others.

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years as we try to develop leaders in the church—elders and ministry leaders and hiring staff and so on—is that one of the most important things to look for is this attitude of teachability, a humility in a person that causes them to recognize that they don’t know everything and makes them willing to listen to others. It’s impossible to work with someone who’s not teachable and who will not listen to others. Such a person never ends up being a team player.

It’s a characteristic of wisdom that here’s a person who’s willing to learn and to grow. They are willing to acknowledge that they don’t know everything, that there’s something left for them to learn. That’s so important.

(2) Secondly—here’s the second application—you must ask for help from God and others. Proverbs 2:3 takes it even a step further. He says, “If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding . . .” Here’s a person who’s actually asking for help, unlike back in the ’90s, before we had GPS on our phones, and the men would get lost driving in a new town and would never want to ask for directions, right? But here’s a person who’s willing to ask for directions, both literally and metaphorically, asking for direction in life.

Again, if you’re a young person, a teenager, it may be asking your parents for help. If you are a young Christian, it’s asking someone to disciple you and to mentor you. And it’s asking help not just from others, but asking help from God. You remember the challenge last week from James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” It’s asking God for wisdom. It’s praying. It’s seeking it earnestly. That’s crucial. All of this is part of the search for wisdom.

(3) Here’s the third application: to prioritize the pursuit of wisdom by giving it time and effort. Again, if you look at the structure of this passage, there are eight things it says if you do these things then you will find wisdom, you’ll find the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God. In Proverbs 2:4 you see the operating metaphor in this passage. He says, “If you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure.”

This was written thousands of years before there was such a thing as an ATM machine. It’s not as simple as sticking your card in the machine and getting out money. This is where wealth has to be mined out of the earth. You’re looking for a precious metal, and you have to sink a shaft. You have to dig. It takes time, it takes effort, it takes intentionality, it takes skill. That’s the idea here, that you’re searching for hidden treasure. Wisdom is this hidden treasure, and it has to be mined out of God’s word, it has to be mined out of life and experience. That requires something of you. It will require time and it will require effort.

Listen to these words from A.W. Tozer, that great twentieth-century evangelical mystic, prophet, and pastor. His words often are timeless and worth listening to. I love Tozer. This is from his book The Divine Conquest.

“I’ve often wished that there were some way to bring modern Christians into a deeper spiritual life painlessly, by short, easy lessons; but such wishes are vain; no shortcut exists. It is well that we accept the hard truth now: the man who would know God must give time to him. He must count no time wasted which is spent in the cultivation of his appointance. He must give himself to meditation and prayer, hours on end. So did the saints of old, the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, and the believing members of the holy church in all generations; and so must we if we would follow in their train. May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the kingdom like little children through the marketplace, chattering about everything but pausing to learn the true value of nothing? The man or the woman who would know God must give time to him.”

I wonder how those words hit you. I think Tozer’s words are inspiring, but they may feel out of reach. I mean, the thought of giving yourself to meditation and prayer for hours on end—my guess, for most of us, is that sounds unrealistic and maybe not even desirable. You might think, “If I had hours, if I tried to spend hours in Bible study and prayer, I don’t even know what I would do. I don’t think I could get through it.”

I think the answer is that we have to begin by remembering the value of God’s word. We have to remember the value of wisdom. We all spend time and effort doing things that are valuable for us. Many of you have spend not only hours but years of your life earning a degree, getting an education, and that required time and intentionality. Almost all of us have to spend at least forty hours a week making a living, earning a living, earning wealth and resources to provide for our families. But wisdom is more valuable than wealth! This is an education, an education from God’s word, that surpasses all other forms of education. Shouldn’t we spend some time in searching for it?

Again, you might say, “Well, I don’t have time to spend hours on end in prayer and meditation.” Okay, I hear you. But what if you spend thirty minutes a day? What if you spent just thirty minutes a day in the word of God, in prayer, time with God in your own soul, with a Bible open, asking God for wisdom? That would be three and a half hours a week, it would be about 182 hours in the course of a year, or seven and a half days. I think that’s manageable. That’s something we could do if we had the desire and the discipline to do it. If you want to be wise, it’s going to take something like that. It’s going to take some kind of intentionality, some kind of effort, as you search earnestly for wisdom. The search for wisdom.

2. The Source of Wisdom

We must search for it at the right source, and that source is God and his word. That’s point number two, the source of wisdom. To gain wisdom, you must look to its source, God and his word. Look at Proverbs 2:5-6. He says if you do these various things, “then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

This shows us that the Lord is the source of wisdom. He gives wisdom, and yet we are called to earnestly seek after wisdom. There’s the paradox of the Christian life. You find this over and over again, that we are to search earnestly for that which God gives. We can’t earn it, we have to receive it as a gift from the Lord, and yet it requires everything of us. We are called to search after it, but the Lord gives wisdom.

Then notice this: “From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Why does it say that? Why “from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”? The reason is because our God is a speaking God. Our God is not silent. The God we worship has spoken, and he has spoken in his word. So this points us to the source, the fountain of wisdom, in the divine revelation in the Scriptures.

I want to read to you a quotation from the fantastic little commentary on Proverbs by Derek Kidner. I highly recommend this. Derek Kidner says,

“The search for wisdom, strenuous as it must be, is not unguided. It’s starting point is revelation—specific words—and practical commandments. Its method is not one of free speculation but of treasuring and exploring received teachings, and its goal, far from being academic, is spiritual: the fear of the Lord, the knowledge of God (verse five). With these two phrases verse five encompasses the two classic Old Testament terms for true religion: the poles of awe and intimacy.”

Now, let’s just break that down. I want to take that and turn that into application for this second point.

(1) Consider, first of all, the starting point. The starting point in the search for wisdom is God’s revelation. Brothers and sisters, let’s remember that that’s what the word of God is, that’s what the Bible is. The Bible is God’s revelation of himself, of his character, of his truth, of his will, and of his plan for bringing redemption to the world. A part of that revelation is the wisdom literature which shows us how life is supposed to work when lived within the order of God’s creation. God has revealed this; he’s revealed this wisdom. This is wisdom you can’t get from elsewhere; you get it only from the word of God, the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament. Our starting point for developing wisdom is found right here: the Bible is our source.

(2) Now, the method. Kidner says it involves “treasuring and exploring” received truths. Treasuring and exploring the word of God. What does that look like? What does it look like to treasure the Scriptures?

Let me tell you a story. This is a story about a girl named Mary Jones. This is a true story. She was born into a very poor family in Wales, the daughter of a weaver, born in December 1784. Here parents were devout Calvinistic Methodists, and she herself professed faith in Christ when she was just eight years of age.

She began to learn to read in the schools that were established by Thomas Charles, one of the great fathers of the Calvinistic Methodist church in Wales, and it became her deep passion in life to own a Bible of her own. Her family was too poor to own a Bible. In fact, the nearest copy of a Bible she even knew of was two miles away, and she would regularly walk those two miles away to a friend’s house, a little cottage, where she could read Scripture. But she didn’t have a copy for herself, and so she began to save.

She would earn a little money here, a little money there, and she would save. She saved for one year, then for a second year, and for a third year. And she saved for six years, until she had enough money to buy her own copy of the Bible. But the nearest copy—of course, this was before trains, planes, and automobiles, so the nearest copy of the Bible that she could purchase was twenty-six miles away, and at sixteen years of age she made that journey barefoot, walking twenty-six miles over mountainous terrain to the village of Thomas Charles, who was the only individual who had Bibles for sale.

According to one version of the story, Charles told her that all the copies were accounted for and were claimed, and she broke down in tears and was so heartbroken that he actually gave her one of the Bibles that had promised to someone else. In another version of the story she waited for two more days for another supply of Bibles to arrive, and was able to purchase a copy for herself and others for members of her family.

But Thomas Charles was so moved by this sixteen-year-old girl’s earnest desire to have a copy of the word of God for himself that he founded a society for the distribution of Bibles.

Let me just ask you, do you treasure God’s word like that? I don’t know about you, but that’s convicting to me, because in my office I have an entire shelf that’s just Bibles, and in our home we have Bibles in virtually every room. And I know that I have not treasured God’s word like that, that I have not loved God’s word and read God’s word as I should. So I find myself called to repentance this morning, to renew a devotion to reading and studying the word of God, to treasure it.

But not just to treasure it, but to explore it. What does it look like to explore the Bible? Let me give you a method. If you’re going to spend thirty minutes a day with God in his word, in the search for wisdom, and you’re going to the source, how might you do that?

Well, take one book of the Bible at a time. Remember that the Bible is comprised of sixty-six books. Don’t read it piecemeal; take a book at a time. You don’t even necessarily have to take them in order, and if you’ve never read the Bible before you might start with Psalms in the Old Testament or you might start with one of the Gospels—say Mark or John—in the New Testament. Read a chapter a day, and then use the SOAP method. This is not original with me, but this is a method you can use for journaling or even just thinking and meditating through a chapter of the Bible. The SOAP method.

It’s an acronym, and it stands, first of all, for Scripture. So you write down the Scripture reference, the chapter that you’re reading.

Then Observations. You’re making observations of the text. You’re paying attention to the context. You’re looking for what went before, what comes after. You’re looking for the main theme of the passage, the main lesson of the passage. If you’re reading narratives you’re looking for the main point of the story. Maybe you write down some of those thoughts.

Then Application. Just ask yourself, “Is there a sin that I need to confess? Is there a promise that I need to trust? Is there a command that I need to obey?” You’re looking for some specific application from that specific passage for today, and then you’re writing that down and you’re seeking to put that into practice.

Finally, P is for Prayer, as you turn the word of God into prayer by praying about what you’ve read.

Friends, I would venture to suggest that if you’ve never done this, if you start doing this you will find those thirty minutes will fill up pretty quickly. Not only will the thirty minutes fill up quickly, but you will begin to love the process of discovery as you study the word of God, and you will find that it is food for your soul, that it is the joy of your heart. You will discover that it really is a treasure, and you will find yourself increasing and growing in wisdom. It will lead you to this goal, the goal of a fear of the Lord, awe and intimacy with God.

I mean, that’s what we’re after. It’s a real relationship with the true and the living God, and we find that as he reveals himself in the pages of Scripture.

3. The Value of Wisdom

The search for wisdom, the source of wisdom, and then finally, number three, the value of wisdom. Here’s the principle. The value of wisdom is seen in how it protects us from the way of evil and leads us to the path of life.

We’re going to see this in Proverbs 2:7-22. It’s important here to just note how Proverbs dials into the “two ways” theology of the Old Testament. Trempor Longman points this out in his commentary on Proverbs, and you’ll see it over and over again in the book of Proverbs. We know this from Scripture. Maybe you remember Psalm 1, that talks about the way of the righteous. “The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

There are two ways, two paths. We’re confronted again and again in Scripture with a fork in the road. You can go this way and it leads to destruction, or you can go this way and it leads to life.

Even Jesus speaks this way in the Sermon on the Mount, when Jesus says in Matthew 7, “Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. But the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Two ways.

Proverbs 2 is showing us that wisdom is valuable for us, it’s worth the earnest quest, because when you find it it will protect you from the way of evil and it will preserve you in the way of righteousness, the path of life.

Now, what I want to do is read Proverbs 2:7-22, and as we read I want you to notice this language, the language of paths and ways. Beginning in verse 7:

“He holds success [speaking about God] in store for the upright,
he is a shield [that is, a source of protection] to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just [or your version may say the paths of justice]
and protects the way of his faithful ones.

“Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair [repeating what is the goal of Proverbs]—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.

“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men.”

Now he’s going to begin to show that there are these two figures that can lead us astray, wicked men and wayward women, and they both lead astray with their words.

“Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways.

“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words.”

This probably has a double meaning here, talking both about the immoral woman who leads someone into adultery, but also speaking metaphorically about spiritual adultery, or idolatry, or turning away from the received wisdom of God and his law and turning to false gods. This kind of language is often used that way in the Old Testament.

“Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God.
Surely her house leads down to death
and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
None who go to her return
or attain the paths of life.

“Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
For the upright will live in the land,
and the blameless will remain in it;
but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the unfaithful will be torn from it.”

Do you see it, the value of wisdom here in guarding you from the ways of evil and then guiding you into the ways of righteousness? You can see this contrast on the chart here between the good and the bad, the ways of the saints versus the ways of evil, the straight paths versus the crooked paths, paths that lead to life versus the path that leads to death, and so on.

Proverbs 2 is showing us that wisdom is valuable, wisdom is needed, because of how it delivers us from wrong paths and because of how it preserves us on the good path.

So, how do we apply this? Let me give you two things in these last few minutes.

(1) First of all, choose wisdom, because it can guard you from personal and moral ruin.

I emphasized this last week. Proverbs teaches again and again that our choice have consequences. The things you decide to do now will affect your future.

We all know this. This is part of common sense, isn’t it? The choices you make as a teenager or in your twenties and thirties will have ramifications in your forties and fifties and beyond. For example, the grades you get in high school, kids, will open or shut doors for you when you’re ready to go to college. And the degree path you choose in college is going to—in part, most likely—determine your career path later in life. The kind of people that you choose to date will probably determine the kind of person you eventually end up marrying, and so on.

So your decisions about seemingly insignificant things—maybe in your mind right now—actually are very significant because of how they will affect you later in life.

Most of you know I like science fiction, and I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. That was Star Trek from the nineties; this is Captain Picard—you remember Jean-Luc Picard. I remember there was one episode—I looked this up to see which episode it was—it’s an episode that’s called “Tapestry,” and it’s an episode where Captain Picard, at the beginning of the episode, seemingly dies. He’s injured in battle, and he has an artificial heart because of an injury he had received many years before. Because of that artificial heart, he dies. Then he’s given an opportunity to go back in time and to relive his life and to make different choices. (Remember, this is science fiction.)

So he makes a series of different choices, but what ends up happening is that because he makes all these different choices he never actually becomes a Starfleet captain; instead, he’s kind of stuck in the misery of middle-level management on a starship, and he has no opportunities, he’s not using any of those gifts and skills that you’re so used to seeing Captain Picard using, and it’s all because of one choice and one event that had happened something like twenty or thirty years before.

I’ve always loved that episode, because it shows how decisions we make now influence our lives later. They set the trajectory for our lives. This is one of the themes of Proverbs. Over and over again, Proverbs is showing us that we need God’s wisdom in our lives, not because it will necessarily protect us from all life’s trials—we know that’s not true—but it will protect us from particular kinds of heartache that follow upon folly, foolishness, rebellion against God.

Let me give you a couple of quick examples.

Marriage and sexuality. Proverbs says a lot about this, and we’ll talk about this in a future message, but in a nutshell, Proverbs says that you need to choose the right kind of marriage partner, you need to be the right kind of marriage partner, and then, once married, you need to be faithful to your marriage partner. Any violation of that, by choosing someone who is not virtuous or by not cultivating virtue yourself or by being seduced into adultery, any of those things will wreak havoc in your life—inevitable heartache. Anyone who’s been through it knows the heartache that comes.

Now, if that’s been your experience, the good news of the gospel is that there’s grace. There’s grace for restoration and forgiveness and to get your life back on track. But if you haven’t made those mistakes, Proverbs is warning you that these are choices you have to be careful with.

Here’s another example: friendship. Again, Proverbs says a lot about friendship, and we’ll devote an entire message to this. But the summary is this, that good friends will influence you for good and bad friends will influence you for evil. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” You can’t be too careful who your friends are. Parents, you can’t be too careful who your kids’ friends are, because they will have an influence in their lives.

So, choose wisdom, because it will guard you from personal and moral disaster in this life.

(2) Secondly (this is the last thing), heed wisdom. Listen to wisdom, pay attention to wisdom, because it can rescue you from spiritual and eternal ruin.

Now, we’re not saved by being wise and making good choices, but Proverbs, along with the rest of Scripture, warns us about a path that leads to destruction and points us to a path that leads to life, ultimately a path that we find in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Lord has used Proverbs to lead people to that path. I love the story of Arthur Pink. He was a famous author in the twentieth century who wrote many Bible studies and books on theology that are still being read today. But when Pink was a young man, he was involved in the cult of theosophy. He was not a Christian, but his parents were Christians, and they were deeply, deeply burdened for his soul, as he was involved in this cult.

One night he came home, he was preparing for an upcoming meeting with the theosophy society, and as he was walking up to his bedroom—he was maybe twenty-one years old—he was walking up to his bedroom, and his father simply said, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” quoting Proverbs 14:12 in the King James. He just quoted those words; that’s all he said.

Arthur went to his room, he shut the door, and he did not come out for three days, as he wrestled with God and his own soul, haunted by those words. When he came out of his room, he was a different man, and his father, recognizing what had happened, said, “Praise God! My son has been delivered.” And he went on to live a faithful Christian life.

You might wonder where you find the gospel in Proverbs. You find it here. You find it in the warning about the path that leads to destruction, and then the promise of the path that leads to life. We find that resolved in Christ, in whom the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden, as Colossians 2 tells us.

Friends, this is why we need the word of God, because Paul says in 2 Timothy 3 that the Scriptures are able to make you wise for salvation. They’re able to make you wise for salvation. We need the Scriptures, because the Scriptures reveal God’s wisdom, but they reveal Christ to us, they reveal the wisdom of the gospel! They reveal to us the path of eternal life.

Do you remember those words—we sometimes sing these words—written by Isaac Watts? It’s a wonderful hymn about the word of God.

“Laden with guilt, and full of fears,
I fly to Thee, my Lord,
And not a ray of hope appears
But in Thy written word.
The volumes of my Father's grace
Does all my grief assuage;
Here I behold my Saviour's face
In every page.”

Then he says this:

“This [the Bible] is the field where hidden lies
The pearl of price unknown;
That merchant is divinely wise
Who makes the pearl his own.
Here consecrated water flows
To quench my thirst of sin;
Here the fair tree of knowledge grows;
No danger dwells within.”

You find it in the word of God; you find it in the Scriptures. Therefore, friends, if you want to gain wisdom, search for it earnestly; the search for wisdom. Search for it at its source, God and his word, because wisdom is so valuable that it will protect you from the way of evil, the way of death, and it will lead you to the way of life.

Are you on that path, the path of life, this morning? If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ you’re on that path, and God’s will protect you and keep you on that path. If you are not a believer, then today let me invite you to turn to Christ, in whom we find the wisdom of God, discover the path of life, and walk with him. Let’s pray together.

Lord, we thank you for your word. We thank you for the wisdom of your word and for how it calls us to seek wisdom earnestly, to seek you earnestly. I’m reminded of the promise, “You shall search for me and you shall find me when you search with all of your heart.” Lord, I pray this morning that you would give us all such a heart, that we would value truth and wisdom and life so much that we would give time and effort in this pursuit. Lord, I pray that you would give us repentant hearts in every way in which we have failed to do that. Lord, we have put other things first. We’ve made a priority of work. Maybe we’ve made a priority of our hobbies. We’ve made priorities of other things, but we have neglecte time with you and neglected the word in prayer. Help us to turn from that and to set a fresh trajectory in our lives, where we devote ourselves with discipline to the ongoing reading and meditation of your word. In so doing, may we find Christ. May we once again be astounded with this holy reverence and awe before the face of God. May we know the intimacy of walking with you and knowing you as our friend, and may it lead us in paths of wisdom, paths of righteousness that will bring glory to your name and will be of great value to not only our own lives but the lives of our family and our friends and our church.

Lord, we need this, and all of us together, I trust, call out to you for the grace to put it into practice. We ask, Lord, that as we come to the table this morning that we would come with the same kind of earnest faith, looking for Christ, looking beyond the elements to Christ, who is the bread of life, who has given himself for us. May we come with a deep trust and faith in him as we remember his sacrifice on our behalf. We ask you, Lord, to draw near to us in these moments as we continue to worship you, and we pray this in the name of our Lord Jesus and for his sake, amen.