Exciting phrases, easy acronyms, and memorable lists formed from dense works of systematic theology can be helpful for the everyday Christian. While these reductions of God’s Word and His nature help us understand general frameworks, they are unable to help us understand everything the Bible teaches. It is one thing...
I listen carefully to my dad. Of all the people I know, I respect him most. His character and trustworthiness have been clear to me since I was a little girl.
In Proverbs 2, God’s Word addresses me as a “son.” This means I’m being spoken to by my Father in heaven, who reconciled me to himself through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. As I read this word from my Heavenly Father, I hear him teaching what it means to listen to his voice.
The Father’s Instruction
Proverbs 2 begins:
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, and if you call our for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure… (Proverbs 2:1-9 NIV).
“Accept my words,” says the Father.
But don’t just accept them; store them in the halls of your heart (v. 1).
And as you store them up, turn your ear to the voice speaking his words. But don’t just listen; engage your heart to understand his voice (v. 2).
And then, let listening not be enough. Call it too passive an act, and raise your own voice to encourage the Father’s voice of insight to continue. Raise your volume as if to compel him to answer so that you might understand (v. 3).
[Tweet “We follow the Father’s voice with our whole self, not just fancy it with our ears.”]
Keep on; don’t stop with raising your voice. As full as the halls of your heart become with the words of wisdom, as crammed as your ear is of its tone, and as hoarse as your voice becomes from crying for it, do not stop as you welcome wisdom (v. 4).
Pick up your feet and run after it. Search for it as a treasure not easily found. Make it the quest of your life (v. 5).
The condition is not that we sit back and consider the words of Scripture, but that we “run in the way” of our Father’s commands (Psalm 119:32). We follow his voice with our whole self, not just fancy it with our ears.
This is how the father in Proverbs 2 instructs his son—and how our Father instructs us by his Spirit.
The Father’s Promise
The words of our Father are living and active (Hebrews 4:12). So much so, that we’ve got to chase them down in a hunt. But if I leave my comforts behind, for this uncomfortably costly endeavor, what will I gain?
…Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:5 NIV)
But how? If I call out for wisdom, and even go looking for it, how can I be sure I will find the knowledge of God?
For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (2:6 NIV).
Ah, so we are called to seek something that actually belongs to someone. The “hidden treasure” dwells within a store—“his mouth.” The treasure trove of wisdom is not buried under a mountain, but in the very being of the Lord (Luke 6:45).
[Tweet “Open the Bible in front of you, for it is dealt-out treasure from the wisdom-store of God’s heart.”]
Vastly unlike a dragon hovered over hoarded gold, the Father says that the Lord “gives” of his treasure store (v. 6). The Lord does not send us on a fruitless journey; he stands ready to give what we seek (Isaiah 30:18; 45:19; James 1:5).
The Father’s Message
But God does not give the wisdom we seek in the way we might expect:
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)
In God’s wisdom, he determined our inability to “find the knowledge of God” through our own efforts.
In God’s pleasure, he determined that we might “understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” through belief in a preached message.
We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24)
Jesus Christ is wisdom.
In him we find the knowledge of God’s mercy, as he lived to absorb the wrath that we, God’s adopted sons and daughters, justly deserved.
In him we find the knowledge of God’s grace. For, he died for us while we were still sinners, gave us his righteousness that we cannot earn, nor deserve, that we might stand before God with confidence and without fear (Romans 5:8).
And through Jesus Christ we understand the fear of the Lord, for he speaks a better word than Abel, pleading not for our judgment before our holy God, but for our pardon on account of his own death and resurrection (Hebrews 12:24). He embodied perfect obedience to the Father’s instruction, but died for our disobedience, and was raised that his obedience might be credited to us by faith (John 1:14; Philippians 2:8).
The Father’s Plea
Receive the Word, Jesus Christ, as the only salvation for your soul. And if you have, hear the call of Proverbs from your Father. Don’t be content to merely accept the Word you have—chase after him with your life.
“See that you do not refuse him who is speaking” (Hebrews 12:25), but repent of walking in your own ways, and believe that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). Come to the Father through him, and embark on a quest to know him.
Open the Bible in front of you, for it is dealt-out treasure from the wisdom-store of God’s heart (2 Timothy 3:16). His understanding is unsearchable, so the journey can never get old as you dig into the written Word that has come from the mouth of the Lord (Romans 11:33).
Your Father in heaven loves you in Christ and continually beckons:
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
You’ve been listening. Start calling. Run after him.