1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,
2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,
4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her 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 uprightly;
8 He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path.
The passage above is the secret of spiritual maturity in the Christian life. Have you ever wondered why you don’t understand something? Have you ever had the desire to know God on a deeper level? Or know the Bible on a deeper level?
This is much more than the acquisition of knowledge. The Bible says that knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. This is a love for God, and the knowledge we are seeking isn’t head knowledge, but a desire for knowledge so we can understand God and His ways.
One of the meanest men I ever met studied the Bible for a specific purpose. His goal was to win any argument and to use the Bible to browbeat everyone into submission. He had a lot of knowledge, but zero understanding. This passage doesn’t allow for that kind of knowledge. It begins with receiving the word of God into our hearts. It isn’t knowledge for cannon fodder, but a treasure to be cherished within us.
Look at the purpose of receiving the word. It is so that you and I incline our ears to wisdom and apply our hearts to understanding. Knowledge isn’t for our neighbor, but for ourselves. I seek to know that I may be changed into the likeness of Christ. I must have a hunger for God that drives me to seek to know Him better through the word He has given. It isn’t a quest for knowledge, but a quest for wisdom (the ability to choose what is right in every situation), understanding of God’s ways, discernment (knowing truth from error), and to know the fullness of righteousness.
When people hear the word, they often think about someone around them who fails in the area they are learning about. True knowledge doesn’t look around me, but takes what I am learning and looks deep within. Knowledge becomes something I use to compare against every area of my life, and for the purpose of being transformed into someone that can grow closer to God and live in perfection. No easy task. In fact, if I’m seeking to live a perfect life, I won’t have time to compare the word to the lives of others. Perfection is so far removed from human nature that it’s a lifelong process of removing the things that hinder my walk with God.
The goal is not to merely obtain knowledge, but to find the knowledge of God. An infinite God that cannot be comprehended. Though the human mind can’t comprehend all that God is, it can explore the things God reveals about Himself to us. When God reveals something of Himself, it always challenges something in our lives. Each time I capture a glimpse of God, I also see something in myself that falls short of God’s glory. And then I must change to remove what prevents me from experiencing that glory of God. As I change, I am able to experience a deeper intimacy, and then God reveals something new. I once again am face to face with my lack, and must allow God to begin His refining and pruning process in my life again.
As I surrender to the word, God reveals more and also gives me the understanding that enables me to walk on every good path. The reason is that God abides there. As I learn to allow Him to transform me into His likeness through the word, I learn to walk where God is walking, and begin to follow Him on every good path. Proverbs 3 states that the secret counsel of God is with the upright. The upright is the one who measures himself or herself against the word of God, and stands with the word. And that requires something of our old life to be left behind.
There must first be a desire to know God’s ways – which comes from a desire to know His word. God first reveals something in the word to us to allow it to stir our hunger for truth. If we reach for it, God draws us deeper into His truth. The one who lifts up his or her voice for understanding is the person crying out in prayer to know God deeper. It’s not merely offering a passing prayer, but praying from the hunger of our hearts to know God deeper.
God stores up wisdom for you. It is already stored and the Lord desires for you to have it – along with all the other spiritual treasures awaiting your seeking. These treasures are buried deep in His word and deep within God’s presence. The one who searches and keeps on searching will find it. This is the secret of intimacy with God. God hides it for the purpose of being found, but only by those who truly desire to know Him.