Proverbs 2:11-12

Proverbs 2:11-12 "Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;"

Sadly, many young people don’t appreciate WHAT their parents attempt to teach them because they often fail to learn WHY their parents teach them.  Lecture without reason will be lecture without retention.  Without a WHY, rarely will the WHAT be remembered.  The wise man writing this proverb would not miss this important ingredient.  He didn’t dare out leave the reason for his instruction to get wisdom.  Wisdom is accompanied by discretion, a virtue vital for survival in the wicked world in which we live.  Wisdom is accompanied by understanding, a virtue necessary for survival in the dangerous world in which we reside.

Without wisdom, Solomon’s son would be without discretion and understanding.  Without discretion and understanding, his son would be exposed to the dangers that awaited him in the world.  Without these virtues, his heir would be vulnerable to the predators awaiting his entrance into the highways and byways of life.  Solomon didn’t want his son to have wisdom just to have it.  He didn’t want him to get wisdom “just because.”  He didn’t want Rehoboam to get wisdom so that he would be and look just like him.  He didn’t instruct him to get wisdom because royalty required it.  He taught his son to pursue wisdom with a high level of intensity for a much better reason – he taught him to seek wisdom with fervency because there were evil men awaiting him.

These verses teach a very important lesson that every reader, young and old alike, needs to absorb:
In our world, we all have enemies.

Even before we possess the ability to make enemies, we have enemies.  Before we can speak, we have enemies.  Before we can provoke anger in another person, we have enemies.  Before we can create enemies, there are wicked men and women seeking to prey on our innocence.  Before we can make enemies, there are evil people seeking our harm for their gain.  In this world, you don’t need to be cruel to be killed; you don’t need to be unloving to be hated; you don’t need to be mean-spirited to be robbed; you don’t need to be hurtful to be taken advantage of; you don’t need to be unfriendly to be assaulted.  In this world, you simply need to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to learn that you have enemies.  Just owning an identity earns you enemies – strangers half way across the world you’ve never met, enemies we call identity thieves.  Just owning a home, a car or some valuable possession earns you enemies.  Being blessed with beauty earns you enemies – evil strangers who want to experience your beauty by force or who want to exploit your beauty for personal gain.  Innocent people are harmed on a daily basis by complete strangers for absolutely no reason that they are responsible for.  In our world, we all have enemies.

Solomon taught his son that he needed wisdom in order to be delivered from evil men, from natural predators.  He told his son that he needed wisdom and its accompanying virtues in order to be protected from the ways of evil men, from natural enemies.  If Rehoboam didn’t learn about his awaiting enemies, then he wouldn’t have cared to learn about wisdom.  If he didn’t learn the WHY of Wisdom, then he wouldn’t value the WHAT of Wisdom.

If we don’t understand this fact of life, then we won’t appreciate Solomon’s counsel.  If we don’t realize the reason behind this instruction, then we won’t value this instruction.  If we’re not convinced that we have enemies, then we won’t be convinced of the need to pursue wisdom with any intensity.  Within Christianity, Jesus certainly taught the reality of natural spiritual predators, of enemies.  In our faith, we all have enemies.  In Matthew 10, Jesus told His disciples, “Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.”  He said, “Beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues.”  In Luke 6, Jesus didn’t warn of possible enemies – He gave instruction based on the certainty of enemies when He said, “Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.”  The Apostle closest to Christ would later write, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you” (1 John 3:13).

In our first birth – our physical birth, we all have enemies awaiting us; enemies that don’t need us to give them a reason to become our enemies.  So too in our second birth – our spiritual birth, we all have enemies awaiting us; enemies that don’t need us to give them a reason to become our enemies.  In our world, we all have enemies.  In our faith, we all have enemies.  This is WHY we are taught WHAT we are taught in the word of God.  This is the reason behind the instruction of the word of God.  Failure to recognize this truth will result in the failure to remember the truths of Scripture.  In 1 Peter 5:8, we are told to be sober BECAUSE we have an enemy – an enemy by spiritual birth whose name is Satan.  Failure to appreciate the reason will result in the failure to value the instruction.

WHY do we need Wisdom?
 there are evil men who want to do us harm for no other reason than because they are evil.
WHY do we need Wisdom?
there are evil spirits who want to do us harm for no other reason than because they are evil.

Jesus teaches us in Matthew 7 that there are false prophets who seek our destruction.  Paul teaches us in 2 Timothy 3 that there are evil men who “creep into houses, and lead captive silly women.”  In Colossians 2, he teaches us that there are wicked people who seek to spoil us through philosophy and traditions.  We all have enemies, natural predators in the spiritual kingdom with an appetite for our destruction. Even though they did nothing to earn enemies, all of the Bible’s great men and women had them.  Joseph’s older brothers were his enemies. Jannes & Jambres were Moses’ enemies.  Peninnah was Hannah’s enemy.  Saul was David’s enemy. Sanballat & Tobiah were Nehemiah’s enemies.  The Persian presidents & princes were Daniel’s enemies.  The Scribes & the Pharisees were Jesus Christ’s enemies.  Hymanaeus & Alexander were Paul’s enemies.    

In this world, we all have enemies.  This is a truth we cannot afford to forget or take lightly.  Perhaps this is why the words “enemy” or “enemies” shows up over one hundred times in the Book of Psalms.  If we fail to take this truth seriously, we will fail to take the instruction to get wisdom seriously.  WHY do we need Wisdom?  BECAUSE we have enemies who want to do us harm for no other reason than because they are evil.  Wisdom and its accompanying virtues will protect and deliver us from our enemies.

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