A few weeks ago we began looking at Proverbs chapter 2. From the outset we pointed out that Proverbs chapter 1 gives the purpose for the book of Proverbs and that chapter 2 gives a summary of this purpose. If you'd like to take a moment to review these posts, they are available as previous posts :-)
When we began our look at chapter 2 we noticed that it begins with God's desire to have a loving relationship with us. This is brought out by the use of the phrase, "My son". God does not begin by speaking to us as creatures; although, we were all created by an omnipotent God. But instead, God addresses us as His children; clearly identifying His loving desire to speak to us as our Father. This loving relationship is further expressed by God's invitation to "receive" His Words. Everything that comes after this is built primarily on His love for us and secondarily, but very importantly, on our love for Him. God is not going to make you receive His Word! The wisdom He wants us to receive, and the life He wants us to have because of this wisdom, is by invitation.
Today, we will just make a few broad strokes and point out an important pattern that God uses in the outline that is chapter 2. Some time ago, I noticed that chapter 2 contains an elementary programming structure called the, "If… Then… When" construct. You will notice in verses one, three, and four that God says, "If" three times. The first "if" helps us to understand God's loving desire toward us. The second and third use of "if" demonstrates that our reception of God's Word is meant to result in a change in our lives. Much in the way that a newborn babe receives from his mother and understands both his need and her provision; our initial receiving from God is meant to result in our longing for more of God. In verses three and four we see a progression of desire in the heart of those of us who receive God's Word. There is a "crying out" found in verse three and a "seeking for God's Wisdom" found in verse four. You see, the book of Proverbs is meant to affect what we long for; what we desire! We are not meant to be apathetic and careless about what God says. His love for us should so impact each of us that we not only say "yes" and receive His Word, but that we cry out for more and that we study what has been revealed to us with the diligence of a miner digging for precious treasure!
God goes on to point out to us in verses five and nine that if this becomes true in our lives there will be a wonderful change. This change is expressed by the word "then" found both in verse five and in verse nine. If we receive God's Word...then we shall understand..., then we shall find...! How can it be any other way? How can we ever expect to understand what we do not receive and seek after? How remarkably simple and yet necessary. God's love moves Him to offer us His Word and Wisdom for our lives, and our heartfelt "yes please" results in our entering into the understanding that our God so desires for us!
Lastly, today, we notice that our "If, then" pattern closes with "when" in verse ten. If we are willing, then God will change us. And "when" this happens, God's Wisdom will preserve us and keep us. Of course! Now we see that this loving invitation to receive God's wisdom is all for our benefit. God is not interested in "knowledge for knowledge's sake". God's entire desire here is for our wellbeing, for our continual good. There is so much more for us to see in Proverbs chapter 2, but for today this overview will help set the stage for what is ahead of us all :-)