Day 2: Seeking understanding (2: 3-5)
“Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God”
Linked with wisdom and knowledge is understanding (Hebrew: binah), which is more than accumulating information. It is about knowing the meaning of what registers in our minds and the ability to discern what is good or bad, desirable or undesirable, right or wrong etc. “Understand” is a word that appears 62 times in Proverbs, six times in this chapter – highlighting its importance in following the right way. It should be added that all three: wisdom, knowledge, understanding come with the fear of the Lord and do not relate to one’s education attainment or how clever we are according to worldly standards, and is for all who seek it.
What is evident from the outset is that not only is understanding worth having (more so than silver and hidden treasures) but it is something that needs to be sought after and searched for (it does not just happen) with the result: the fear and knowledge of God (v5), wisdom, knowledge, understanding (v6), God to be our shield (v7), our ways are preserved (v8), a good path to be laid out for us (v9), there is pleasantness to the soul (v10), we are kept in the way (v11) and delivered from bad people (v12). “No pain, no gain” may not quite be the right figure of speech to use here, but it is likely that most do not seek and search for these things because of the pain, but if they do the gain is more than worth it.
As for the bad people (the fools) that the wise and understanding are to be delivered from, Solomon was in no doubt where they are heading and, along with them, those who do not do what he says: darkness (v13), perverseness (v14), crookedness (v15). And then there is the forbidden woman (v16) (a theme he is to returns to more than once) warning of the dire results of falling into her clutches, for “none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life” (19). He summarises what happens taking either path: “For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it” (2:21,22). The challenge facing us is which path will we take and how desirous are we to seek after the way of wisdom, knowledge and understanding?
Prayer: Thank you Lord showing us that knowledge and understanding is something worth seeking out and searching for. May we be people who do this and avoid the way of the fool and so respond to your call on our lives.