My son, if you will receive my words, and lay up my commandments; 2 so as to incline your ear unto wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if you cry after discernment, and lift up your voicefor understanding; 4 If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures: 5 Then shall you understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 2:1-5).
If a son will do seven things then he will "understand the fear of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God. 'l Here is the formula for gaining wisdom (fear of Jehovah). The success of the formula is dependent upon a willing approach of any individual. Those unwilling to work to attain wisdom will never attain it.
First, one must be willing to "receive my words" (i.e., words of instruction and wisdom). When I voluntarily take delivery of the words of wisdom (righteousness, justice, and equity) then I am on the road to wisdom. Those who reject words of wisdom have no chance at it. To receive wisdom I must be interested in the things of God. If I am not interested then I will not receive it. The truly wicked of this world will not receive the teachings of wisdom because they convict their actions as sinful and this only enflames them (John 7:7).
Second, one must not only receive instruction but "lay up my commandments" within the heart. One who only has knowledge yet refuses to apply that knowledge in life lacks wisdom. We must not only know but lay the principles to heart; i.e., value the instructions and make them a part of our very being. The eternal principles of righteousness, justice, and equity are to be gathered and stored within our minds and made easy to access when they are needed.
Third, one must "incline the ear to wisdom." The one who will fear and know God is the one whose purpose it is to obtain wisdom. To be "inclined' to something is to be predisposed or prone to it. Sometimes we hear of people that are prone to be taken advantage of by various financial schemes. The one determined to be wise is prone to receive truth. Here is a man that does not deny his good nature that God created him with. This man reads and hears God's words and knows that such divine words coincide with his inner desire to be good.
Fourth, one must "apply the heart to understanding." When we "apply" our hearts to something we are concerned about it. If we are concerned about understanding we will obtain it because it is something that we value in this life. We often hear people say, "If only John would apply himself to his studies he would do so much better." The one making the remark knows that John has great mental potential yet John is not showing the passionate effort that success demands. If people attain wisdom today it will because they applied themselves to attain it.
Fifth, the one who is to fear and know God must "cry after discernment" (to differentiate between things - like right and wrong). When one "cries" after something it is of utmost importance in our lives. We will give great diligence to obtain it (see Hebrews 11:6). The principle of crying out to God for help is found throughout the New Testament. Ananias told Saul of Tarsus to "16 arise and be baptized calling upon the name of God" (Acts 22:16). Those who call or cry out to God for help will receive it. Those who cry out to God for wisdom will receive it because they earnestly desire to have it.
Sixth, to obtain fear and knowledge of God one must "lift up the voice for understanding" (i.e., be inquisitive and curious about it). Again, the inquisitive spirit in the minds of godly people is a principle brought out in the New Testament. The Apostle Peter writes of one's earnest desire to know the answer to the question, 'What must I do to be saved?' Peter, speaking of water baptism said, "21 Which also after a true likeness does now save you, even baptism, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the interrogation of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21). The sinner is depicted as desiring to know the answer to the question of salvation so badly that he or she interrogates the teacher for answers. Again, the man desiring wisdom will ask interrogating questions to the teacher so that he may attain it.
Seventh, to obtain fear and wisdom of God one must "seek" after it as though it were hidden treasure. Fear and knowledge of God is identified as treasure throughout the scriptures (see Matthew 13:44; Colossians 2:3 and 2 Corinthians 4:7). The quest for understanding the fear of Jehovah and gaining wisdom begins with man's willingness to value truth greater than anything this world has to offer. Such an approach to truth will see a man concerned, diligent, curious, and searching after it. If wisdom and an understanding of the fear of God was something easily found on the surface then everyone would have it and it would not be something of value. The fear of God is of great value and must be sought after diligently if one expects to find it. When I see how valuable wisdom is I will do anything to attain it. Solomon tells us that if we will receive, store up, desire, diligently pursue, be interested, give in to, and know the value of righteousness, justice, and equity then we will attain it. JOHN C ROBERTSON