13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
The Light of the Gospel
4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God,1 we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice2 cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants3 for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that1 they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Or house. 16Let your light so shine before others that
Jesus Calls the First Disciples
35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.1 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus2 was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter3).
Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you,4 you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
Proverbs 2 (2-27-21)
The counsel given in the second chapter of Proverbs begins with the word “if”—if you do the following. So, before we can have or experience the following, we must first understand and apply the former.
So what is it that we are to do?
- Receive His words: It is one thing to have the wise counsel, and it is another to receive it, to take it in, to do it—to not be hearers only, but doers of the word (James 1:22).
- Treasure up His commands: Do you highly value the commands of God? Are they more important to you than other things? The Psalmist says it well saying this of the Law of the Lord: “More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb” (Psalm 19:10). This is a view that says God’s word is more valuable than the most valuable things of our day.
- Make attentive you ear to wisdom: Are you making time to hear wise teaching? “Making attentive” is an action you must do. It is not something that just happens. Are you making time to listen to good preaching and hear the word of God?
- Incline your heart to understanding: Similar to the last, the action of inclining your heart to understanding is one you must do. You must lean your heart in—not just to hearing the truths of God and of the wise counsel of godly men but to understanding it.
- Call out for insight: Do you ask for counsel? Do you invite others who are more mature in faith to speak into your life? This is a humble and needed practice for the follower of Christ.
“If” you do these things; if you practice these things; if you value these things. Verse five brings the application by saying “then.”
1. “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord”: The prize for these disciplines is a “right understanding of the fear of the Lord.” Why is this such a great prize? The answer is much bigger than we might first think. A right understanding of the fear of the Lord is essential for right living. A lack of understanding of the fear the Lord is to live arrogantly or pridefully. It means we struggle in sin by having too high a view of our ourselves and too low a view of God. We are desperate for a right and reverent view of God. If you think about the areas of life where you struggle in sin, it is likely linked to a lack of reverent fear of the Lord.
We live and operate all too often with a flippant view of God as we do what we please. This is a reason a true understanding of the fear of the Lord is good and helpful for life and faith.
2. Then you “will find the knowledge of God”: The second thing we are awarded is a finding of the knowledge of God. There is no greater knowledge. There is no higher insight that blesses the life of the believer than a true knowledge of God. See that the road to the knowledge of God is a study of, a valuing of, and a meditating on the truths of God and the counsel of the godly.
In verses 6-8, we read that those who walk in His truths are not only given knowledge and understanding, but we are guarded and watched over. This is truly good news and a beautiful picture of the hand of God upon us.
In verse 9, we are given the third “then”:
3. “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path”: Insight into these things of God is a wonderful blessing. To know—even better—to understand righteousness, justice, and equity is to know the “right path,” the right way. This is good news. To know the right way is to have the light.
Do you undervalue knowing the right way? Do you practice and invest in the things of God so you can grow in your understanding of God and the ways of God? Brother/Sister, this should be something we truly desire and chase after.
Verses 10-22 go on to flesh out the life-change this brings to us. We will no longer walk in our evil or misguided ways, but we will walk upright, and we will honor God. We will turn from our former ways and inhabit the land of our God and remain in it.
The entirety of Proverbs chapter 2 is making a much-needed point of clarity and emphasis that we need to practice learning, listening, seeking, adhering to, and acting on the commands of God and the counsel of the godly. This will lead us down the road of ongoing growth and maturity, as we move from sinful, selfish ways to the right fear of God and the knowledge of His ways and truths.
Don’t let the simplicity of this counsel pass you by today. Be introspective about how you are doing about making these things a regular, normal part of life.
Consider the following:
- Are you daily studying the word of God?
- Are you weekly sitting under sound, biblical preaching?
- Are you regularly reading solid books and listening to sermon audio to help you grow in your knowledge of God and His word?
- Are you inviting mature, godly believers whom you trust to speak openly and regularly into your life and to give you good counsel as you go about life?
These simple practices can often be overlooked but are essential for maturing in the faith and living in the fullness of the things promised here in Proverbs 2. May this wisdom become practical and useful for us this week and beyond, as we continue in the Lord.
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine