I come from a reformed tradition of Biblical instruction which is a beautiful view of the gospel and a big view of God's sovereignty. The danger of my tradition is the ease in which we can slide into 'hyper-calvinism' that says 'God is in control, so I do nothing'- this attitude is NOT Biblical. We are NOT saved by works, but we do respond to saving faith BY works- not to earn salvation but to glorify the Savior and show our trust in and love for Him.
It amazes me when I find people in my tradition who apear to be 'shoulder-shruggers' and 'hand-wringers'- they approach tough situations, shrug their shoulders and say, "Oh well...God's will."
This chapter cuts right through this passive spirituality- God's people have a posture and intensity which signifies a passionate pursuit of wisdom and guidance. We should be on our toes straining for treasure and not lazily lounging in ease and comfort wishing for justice and right relationships.
God says "IF YOU" which means the possibility or even the propensity to resist or find endless distractions which result in lost opportunities.
Look at the active and eager posture of the believer's heart: receive, treasure, attentive, inclination, cry out, seek it like silver, search for it- this is where we sometimes miss it, we are unwilling to engage God- He wants us to wrestle it from Him!
This honors my theological tradition- I fully believe in a MONERGISTIC (God alone) SALVATION but I equally believe in a SYNERGISTIC (cooperation/integration of man and God) SANCTIFICATION. Without Christ and His Spirit I cannot do it- but I must as well seek and yearn and wrestle- I need to value God's Word and His wisdom- it needs to have a high heart priority.
Now comes the good stuff:
'IF' always has a 'THEN'- and God has a great 'THEN'!
Then you will understand.... you will find knowledge....He will shield you... He will watch over...
"Then you will understand RIGHTEOUSNESS AND JUSTICE AND EQUITY, every good path; for WISDOM will come into your HEART."
I love the next line as well: "DISCRETION will watch over you."
Now, why is this such a big deal? Because there is a path of destruction- our hearts contain a default mode where we can be so easily captured and deluded and destroyed..... these are the ultimate WMD's.
Proverbs paints two paths with two different destinations:
The DARK SIDE : perverted speech, dark ways, rejoice in evil, delight in perversion, forgets and forsakes covenant promises, a downward spiral of death, lost and never to be found. This is a world of violence and manipulation and adultery.
Without God's wisdom to guide us in discretion... we will end up on these roads. Not only lost, but unafraid- and we should be. How many of us have testimonies of the scars of this waywardness- many have been saved, but still live with the pain of regret.
There is a BETTER PATH: every good path, pleasant, a way to God, one who not only inhabits a good land but finds stability there as well.
Fathers all have stories about family wrestling times with the children. I used to love getting on the carpet and playfully get knocked down and I would put my girls in 'hugs' I called 'traps'. We laughed and giggled and sweated- I would get pushed down and we would love every minute of it.
This is the posture we need before God. We wrestle with Him and we seek Him- we are hungry for this type of contact- and we get solid evidence of it in this grand Book of Proverbs!
If you eagerly seek Him.... THEN He will pour out the wisdom... to walk the path.... whose destination is fruit and joy.. and whose Kingdom will never end!