Trust and Delight In God's Wisdom
Ear - Hear
Commands, imperatives, which are progressive and cumulative in effect
וּ֭שְׁמַע דִּבְרֵ֣י חֲכָמִ֑ים
and hear the words of the wise,
Heart - Apply
and . . .
to my knowledge,
כִּֽי־ נָ֭עִים כִּֽי־
for it will be pleasant
22:18a the ground or basis to do 22:17. 22:18 is an if-then proposition: if you do c) and d) it will be pleasant in a)
if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
יִכֹּ֥נוּ יַ֝חְדָּ֗ו עַל־ שְׂפָתֶֽיךָ׃
לִהְי֣וֹת בַּ֭יהוָה מִבְטַחֶ֑ךָ
That your trust may be in the Lord,
Purpose of these wise sayings
I have made them known to you today,
even to you.
הַ֥ט אָזְנְךָ֗ וּ֭שְׁמַע דִּבְרֵ֣י חֲכָמִ֑ים וְ֝לִבְּךָ֗ תָּשִׁ֥ית לְדַעְתִּֽי׃
כִּֽי־נָ֭עִים כִּֽי־תִשְׁמְרֵ֣ם בְּבִטְנֶ֑ךָ יִכֹּ֥נוּ יַ֝חְדָּ֗ו עַל־שְׂפָתֶֽיךָ׃
לִהְי֣וֹת בַּ֭יהוָה מִבְטַחֶ֑ךָ הוֹדַעְתִּ֖יךָ הַיּ֣וֹם אַף־אָֽתָּה׃
Take away That Proverbs is not just a book of wise sayings for me to apply privately to my life so I can live wisely, but it is also for me to take in, delight in, to share with others, all in order to know what it is to trust God That there is to be an immense amount of emotional reaction in responding to godly wisdom - a great deal of pleasure, and the inverse, a great deal of displeasure when coming across untrue, unwise knowledge about God and about life. I especially would like to pray for and work at the second of these, to allow myself time and space, and to ask for this kind of appropriate emotional response, pleasure and displeasure. I tend to want to keep doing, keep applying, in anxiety to make sure I keep in God's ways. Rather, I need to learn how to delight, how to experience the pleasure, that would let these wise sayings go deep into my life. Then as my heart applies and learns to respond rightly in pleasure or displeasure, I am more able to learn and keep trusting God. In other words, I need to learn how to trust God's way in taking and responding to His wisdom. Not my way, which is so based on my own efforts. Dr Piper's Questions 1. If Proverbs 22:21 is stating the purpose of the thirty sayings in Proverbs 22:17–24:20 , restate that purpose in your own words. There are two purposes for 22:17 - 24:20: 1) that I may have knowledge of what is correct, right, and honest, true. And 2) so that I may be sent to share what is correct, honest, right and true to whoever I am sent to. i.e. "Dr Piper: proverbs are given to us so we may give them to others." 2. Now, read Proverbs 22:18 . How does that verse change or fill out your answer to the first question? 22:18 confirm what is found in the above: "...if they are ready on their lips" means to share, to give these proverbs. And to be "pleasant" to us means to enjoy them. 3. Proverb 22:17 and Proverbs 22:18 are a pair of couplets. Study the relationships between each of the four lines. Why might the author structure these ideas this way? a) Hebrew poetry is written in this form b) The couplets are related in this way: 22:17 There is a logical connection: from ears to hearing (body's organ to the sense) from heart to knowledge (body's organ to receiving the knowledge) There is movement from: ears to heart hearing to knowledge 22:17 - 18 Connection from: knowledge being taken hold by the heart, which leads to pleasure Knowledge which is heard by ears , now are being externally expressed by lips c) So 22:17a and 22:18b are the bread of the sandwich, the external boundaries of the idea: ears and lips interact with the external 22:17b and 22:18a are the insides, the content of the idea. This is what goes on in the heart, produces pleasure having received from ears and giving out through the lips In other words, this section is an inclusio. 4. What do you think it means to “incline your ear” in Proverbs 22:17 ? What might that look like in your daily life? Careful observation of the words that lead us to knowledge. Be expectant Pay very close attention, very careful observation, assidious observation. Slow down. Lean into the words. Observe details. Remove Distraction Asking questions to help with understanding 5. What do you think it means to “apply your heart” in Proverbs 22:17–18 ? What might that look like in someone’s daily life? Intentional effort to see and discern knowledge that it becomes a precious object of desire and enjoyment. Heart is the organ that has pleasure. Heart responds to untruths with displeasure. Value Treasure Pursue the pleasure which is the object of the observation This effort to discern with feeling has to be with prayer. 6. Now, how do those two exercises relate to each other in our personal (or corporate) Bible reading? Heart takes from the ear with the view to pleasure, being pleased Heart takes words and the knowledge, and translates that to feelings With a view to feeling the knowledge's goodness or badness 7. Read Proverbs 22:17–19 , and identify the primary or highest purpose of this group of proverbs ( Proverbs 22:17–24:20 ). The primary purpose is v. 19: For my trust to be in the LORD, the covenant God of Israel 8. Now, read the proverbs in Proverbs 22:22–25 . How would you explain how these proverbs carry out the primary purpose given in 22:17–19? vs 22 - 25 show us what the fruit of trust in Him looks like in two topics: a) A counsel not to rob the poor, and a caution that God will rob our life is we rob the poor. b) Depend or rely on an angry man These wise sayings in two topics are what faith does if we trust God. And these fruits help to strengthen and encourage us to trust in God. 9. What might the “trust” in Proverbs 22:19 mean for the “knowledge” in 22:17 and the “pleasure” in 22:18? How does the author’s statement about our trust in God help us understand the other two ideas? This trust and pleasure in the knowledge means that this knowledge is about why we are to trust God. We are seeing things about God that would give us pleasure.