Proverbs 2: Living in the World without Being a Part of It

Living the life of a young Christian adult is not a passive existence. God requires total devotion to Him and active involvement in our walk with Christ so that we can better understand Him and live our lives in complete service to Him. Proverbs 2 teaches us that, to understand God, we need to learn, follow, and use wisdom to the fullest extent. The more we learn about God, the more we can make ourselves different from the world and live according to His image. Applying discretion and wisdom aids us in living a life that is distinct from the world.

Unfortunately, wisdom and discretion are apparently rare traits in today’s society. The author of this particular proverb, Solomon, writes that “wicked men delight in doing wrong” (v. 14). In secular young adult circles (in places that range from university, to work, to bars and clubs), this statement rings truer than ever. During this stage of life people encounter many new challenges and temptations. When we look at the lives of worldly people, it can be hard to see the problem in their style of living. It is difficult wanting to be different from the world. However, we need to remember our call to be the “salt of the earth.” John 15:19 states, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” Avoiding indulgence in worldly things can be terribly hard, but God chose us to be His shining lights to the rest of the world. Despite all the changes and pulls in various directions on us as a young adult, we must use the wisdom of God to keep ourselves morally clean.

Where does this wisdom come from? Ephesians 1:15–17 says: “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of Wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” The core of our wisdom comes from the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to us after He ascended into heaven. Solomon writes: “From His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (v. 6). God Himself gives wisdom to us. He wants us get to know Him better. And so, from the Spirit we gain the desire to read our Bibles, pray, and have communion with other believers. Knowledge is gained through involvement. As this proverb implies, listening to wisdom requires more than hearing it and walking away. It requires active participation. Prayer and heartfelt consideration are necessary to even begin understanding God.

Knowing God helps us to realize the duties He has set for us to perform. To keep ourselves close to Him, we must learn as much as we can through continual prayer and engagement in Scripture. Listening to wisdom, we can eventually discern right from wrong, which enables us to carry out our faith every single day. Acting according to His higher purpose allows us to show our thankfulness to Him for sending His Son. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we should want to learn as much as we can about Him in order to serve Him to the absolute best of our ability.

In this proverb, Solomon reveals the incredible weight wisdom has in life. Having wisdom and applying knowledge to our actions can bring us success in life. Solomon stresses, as evident in the title given to this particular proverb, the moral benefits of wisdom. The Devil plays on our weaknesses, making it more difficult for us to keep on the straight and narrow path. While God wants us to succeed, the Devil wants us to fall. Immorality, the proverb tells us, eventually leads to destruction.

Unfortunately, seeing how foolishness and immorality leads to destruction is hard and often even difficult to believe. We see people making their own decisions every day, living only according to themselves, with no thoughts as to what God would want or require of them. Often, these choices seem to lead to instant gratification and worldly success. Temptation sometimes gets the best of us, even though we try to live completely chaste and moral lives. It can be so difficult to turn our backs on the world and take the “moral high road.” Proverbs 2 urges us to fight this battle; as we continue to learn as much as we can about God, it becomes that much easier to act like we belong to Christ.

This proverb, written by the wisest man who ever lived, is an introduction to the rest of the Proverbs. Before moving on to specific aspects of wisdom, the author wishes to explain the reasons one should be wise, why it is important to the walk of the righteous to keep to the ways of the wise and utilize discernment. Reading this proverb, we learn how vitally important a deep understanding of God is to our daily walk with Him.

Michelle Brandsma is a young adult living in Lethbridge, Alberta. She is a member of the Lethbridge Reformed Church (URCNA).

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