Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hidden Treasures From Proverbs 2

My best friend since I got saved is a man named James Strong. I met him about two or three years after I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ. He really helped me find verses in the Bible - to find those passages where I could just remember some of the words but not the references, gave me oodles and oodles of verses to look up on any subject I could think of. Then later, he even taught me how to find the definitions for each word in my King James Bible. That was such a help! In fact, to this day, he has been my most consulted Bible resource - not the man himself, but a book he put together: Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Not only can you use it to look up any word in the Bible, find out EVERY place that word is used, but you can also find the basic definitions for every word in the underlying Hebrew and Greek text and the range of meaning when translated into English. To this day, I can honestly say his concordance (whether in book format or as part of a Bible program) has been THE most helpful resource I have ever come across for studying God's Word.

Just me, my Bible, and my Strong's - a friendship that has lasted for years and promises to endure for as long as I am sojourning down here. Here are some neat word studies from Proverbs chapter 2.

Proverbs 2:1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;

The word hide here is Strong's #6845, which means: to hide (by covering over); by implication, to hoard or reserve; figuratively to deny; specifically (favorably) to protect, (unfavorably) to lurk.

Solomon's advice to all believers is to hide God's Word in our hearts - to hoard it and protect it. God's Word is a valuable treasure!

2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;

Incline means: to prick up the ears, i.e. hearken. Are you paying attention when you hear or read God's Word? Are your ears pricked up, ready to glean the wisdom God has for you? It is not enough to know knowledge and information; wisdom is the right use of knowledge. Basically, it would be knowing how a particular truth or Biblical principle applies to a specific situation. When the Lord gives you understanding of His Word, do you heed it, do you apply it to your life?

3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;

Criest has the idea of accosting a person met; to call out to. When you pass someone in the street and you recognize them, you turn to call out after them and seek to get their attention, lifting up your voice so you could be heard over the crowd. Voice means: to call aloud. You don't keep silent - you call out until they hear you. Is that your attitude towards knowledge and understanding from God's Word? Do you call out to the Lord until He answers you by giving you the understanding of what you are reading?

4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;

Seekest: to search out (by any method, specifically in worship or prayer); by implication, to strive after. Do you prayerfully read the Word of God, worshipping the Author as you hear Him speak to you? Do you strive after His Word and value it as you would silver? Hid treasures: a secret storehouse; hence, a secreted valuable (buried). Did you get that? Hidden treasures! The Bible is chock full of hidden treasures waiting to be found, precious stones waiting to be mined out and stored in your heart. (Hm, that reminds me of Matthew 13:52 and my comments on it last week: Gleanings From God's Word.) Do you "search the Scriptures" for this hidden treasure?

5-6 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

If you value the Word of God and search it diligently to learn what the Lord would teach you through His Spirit, THEN you will understand the fear of the Lord (reverence and awe toward Him), THEN you will find the knowledge of God, THEN the Word of God will open up to you and His wisdom and knowledge will be yours to glean and apply.

7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.

Layeth up - Strong's #6845 again. The Lord has stored up sound wisdom for you in His Word, waiting for you to seek and search for it. This wisdom is for the righteous - those who are saved, who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Also notice how the word layeth is in the present tense ("eth" ending); that means that He continually lays up sound wisdom for you! It is ALWAYS there for the taking (all you need to do is ask! See James 1:5). God is a buckler - a shield - to them that walk uprightly. Not only do you need to be saved, but you need to be walking according to His Word and in right fellowship with Him in order to glean this wisdom and have the Lord Himself as your shield.

8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.

Keepeth: Strong's #5341, to guard, in a good sense (to protect, maintain, obey, etc.). Paths: Strong's #734, a well-trodden road (literally or figuratively). Preserveth: Strong's #8104, properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc. Way: a road (as trodden); figuratively, a course of life or mode of action. When you walk in the fear of the Lord (see 1:7), He continually guards your paths, He continually protects you as you travel the well-trodden road He has called you on. The Lord continually has His hedge of protection around the child of God (saint) that is seeking the Word of God and doing the will of God. Let's stay on His paths! (See Isaiah 35:8)

9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.

Path: #4570, a track (literally or figuratively). When you walk in the light of God's Word and in the fear of the Lord, you will find out the good paths He would have you take. (See also Romans 12:1-2, that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.)

10-11 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:

When wisdom abides in your heart, and knowledge is pleasant (acceptable and sweet) to your soul, not only will God Himself keep and preserve you (verse 8), but His Word hidden in your heart will also preserve (#8104) and keep (#5341) you.

What will God's Word keep you from? There are two things specifically mentioned in this chapter - notice how each of the following sections begin the same way:

12-15 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths (#734) of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths (#4570):

Deliver: to snatch away. God and His Word will snatch you away from the way (#1870) of the evil man. This is the same word as used in verse 8. God will keep the way of His saints - those whose course of life or mode of action is to do righteousness, and protect you from the way of evil men - those whose course of life or mode of action is perverseness and wickedness. When you are determined to stay on God's paths, He will keep you from the path of the wicked, who walk in darkness.

Darkness: the dark; hence (literally) darkness; figuratively, misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness. Proverbs 4:18-19 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. What a contrast!

16-19 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths (#4570) unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths (#734) of life.

The Lord will also deliver (same word) you from the strange woman - this means an adulteress, the woman who forsakes her God and the husband of her youth. Those who follow her go down to death - the fear of the Lord and God's Word will snatch you away from that destructive path and instead lead you to paths of life!

And lastly, what will walking in the fear of the Lord and in the wisdom of God lead you to?

20-22 That thou mayest walk in the way (#1870) of good men, and keep (#8104) the paths (#734) of the righteous. 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.

Walking in wickedness and rebelling against God's Word will lead to death, being cut off from the earth and rooted out of it. BUT being perfect (spiritually mature) and walking in the wisdom from the Word of the Lord will lead to the way of good men (the course of life or mode of action that godly brethren have walked before us - like the apostle Paul exhorting believers to follow him as he followed Christ, so too are we to follow the example of other godly believers, to walk in their steps). This course of conduct will lead to life, to dwelling long in the land, to having God's blessings and leading day by day. Definitely some hidden treasure worth crying out for!

Receive my words...
Hide my commandments...
Incline thine ear...
Apply thine heart...
Cry after knowledge...
Lift up thy voice for understanding...

Seek... Search... Understand... Find!

Treasure indeed!

Footsteps Of Faith

Order my footsteps in Your Word -
Teach me where You'd have me to go.
Make me willing to walk in Your ways -
Lead me onward in this path below.

Enlarge my footsteps, let not my feet slip -
Help me to walk in Your ways with care.
Guide me through the straits of this world -
"Let me not falter", is my earnest prayer.

Number my footsteps, and count them all -
Show me the path my spirit has trod.
Open my eyes and cleanse my heart -
Lead me onward in the ways of God.

Direct me in my Saviour's footsteps -
Teach me with patience to run this race.
Let me learn from the example of Jesus -
Let me follow in the footsteps of faith.

Poem written May 16th/03
Devotional written May 27th/06
Jerry Bouey


Bill H. said...

James Strong (1822-1916). He was a conservative Methodist Bible scholar who spent 35 years working on his concordance until it was first published in 1890.
(Info from David Cloud's "How to Study the Bible" booklet.)

Thank you for this thougthful and wonderful post.

Even So... said...

Strong's is a wonderful tool.

Terry McGovern said...

Some good thoughts in there Jerry! The Word of God is full of treasure! How we need to be treasure hunters!

Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

But but but, Bro. Bouey, don't you need Bruce Metzger and Carlo Martini to tell you what is really in the text and what isn't?!?!?

Emphatically just kidding.

Strong's is an excellent tool for Bible study. The only thing I'd add is a Young's Analytical Concordance, which is keyed to fit with the Strong's. The Young's let's you readily see how a particular word in the Greek or Hebrew was translated at various points in the KJV, and how frequently for each translated English word.

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