Chapter 2

Lectures on the Book of Proverbs
Ralph Wardlaw

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Proverbs 2:1-5

"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD [Yahweh], and find the knowledge of God."

Men discover the value they set on the treasures of this world by their unrelaxing diligence in seeking them. They do not give up the search immediately because they do not immediately succeed. So long as any hope remains in one direction, they persist in the search. And if at length they find that the search in that direction is vain, they try another, and try and try again until they discover the right way. If any expectation exists of a mine of silver or gold, what earnestness is revealed! What drilling and boring of the solid earth! What excavating toils in all directions--perpendicularly here, horizontally there! What searching and washing and breaking and testing! And then, when a vein of precious ore has been discovered, with what patient perseverance and care is it traced and worked in its main trunk and all its branches--never relinquished until the last fiber of it has been explored and exhausted.

The application of this appropriate figure is in every view obvious. Divine knowledge is fitly compared to treasure, treasures of gold and silver--the articles which are held by men in highest estimation. The comparison is natural and common. It occurs repeatedly in the introductory part of this book and in many other parts of the Scriptures. David says, "The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of coins of gold and silver" (Ps. 119:72). Job says of the excellence of wisdom, "It cannot be purchased for gold, nor can silver be weighed for its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. Neither gold nor crystal can equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold. No mention shall be made of coral or quartz, for the price of wisdom is above rubies. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold" (28:15-19).

Thus, were the mines of all that is precious in the bowels of the earth be emptied of their treasures, there would be a treasure still remaining, not only surpassing each but surpassing all. The accumulation of the whole in all their weight, worth, luster, beauty, and variety would be nothing compared with the treasures of the divine word--the "excellency of the knowledge" which it contains. Paul speaks of "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3) and of the "unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8)). Divine knowledge is a mine of precious ore which we shall be exploring through eternity without ever exhausting it.

Alas, how little of a disposition appears in the world to form or to act upon this estimate. How few are earnest in the pursuit of divine knowledge--the lessons of heavenly wisdom. How few there are who "count all things but loss" compared with it. How few there are who would sacrifice all earthly treasures in order to find it. How few, even of the people of God (who profess to have learned the value of this wisdom and knowledge by a happy experience), are there who exhibit the longing, the thirsting, the vehement and persevering research for the attainment of a greater amount of this wisdom.

The Apostle Paul admonishes us, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col. 3:16); that is, lay it up in the understanding and in the heart. Now there is no way in which the word of Christ can be in us richly without an eager seeking after it, or in which it can dwell in us richly without a careful and jealous keeping of it: "Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip" (Heb. 2:1).

In seeking such knowledge, do Christians show anything similar to the anxious, persevering ardor which the men of the world reveal in seeking wealth? No. It is sadly true of some Christians (and of Christians who have no excuse from poverty, small wages, and the necessity of unceasing toil for themselves and their families), that their eagerness to be absorbed in the pursuit of the riches of the world is such that they can hardly redeem daily time for the reading and study of the divine word, for making daily additions--however small--to their stock of spiritual wealth.

Fundamental in the lessons of Wisdom is the "knowledge of God." And beyond all question and comparison, this is the most noble and valuable of all knowledge.

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