Fear & Knowledge
Speaker: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: An Invitation to Wisdom: Proverbs 1-9
Proverbs 2:1-22 (ESV)
1 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.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19 none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.
20 So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
Wisdom (intellectual, practical, ethical and theological) is only developed through a life lived in a proper relationship with God.
1. Understand the fear of the Lord (v5)
vv6-7 “the Lord gives… he stores up… he is a shield”
vv12-15 protection from those who walk in the way of evil
2. Find the knowledge of God (v5)
vv16-19 protection from the adulteress
v13 , 17 “forsake”
vv10-11 “wisdom will come into your heart… understanding will guard you…”
v1 “my son…”
Questions for Reflection
What does it mean to fear the Lord?
Who, or what, do you “fear”? Think of examples of admiration and reverence; think of examples of dread and anxiety.
Can you “know” God? In what ways should we relate to God as we would relate to a human being? In what ways is God (and therefore relating to God) entirely different?
Can you trust people who don’t have good character? How do you discern, when you want to join with a person in what they are doing, whether or not it is a good idea? What if a person you don’t trust offers you something you really want – how do you think through that kind of situation?
Do you find Jesus trustworthy? Is there anything in his character or his actions that gives you pause? Does the character of Christ help you follow him, even if you don’t fully understand his teachings or know what God is doing in your life?
How is the Christian life like being in a relationship where Jesus is mentoring us? What are the limitations of that analogy?
How would the way you live change as you shift from seeing the world as filled with things for you to take, to the world belonging to God, who gladly gives to those who are in fellowship with Him?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, our fear of you is not always healthy. We have doubted your goodness. We are more concerned with punishment than we are with your greatness and glory. Forgive us for so misunderstanding you. Forgive us for neglecting to learn of you and your ways. Forgive our tendencies to know about you while still maintaining distance and autonomy. Show us mercy, and grant us understanding. Help us to know you and be known by you. Amen.