Proverbs 2:1a

Proverbs 2:1 "My son, IF thou wilt receive my words..."
In Solomon’s first chapter of proverbs, he prepared his son for the potential of pernicious peer pressure.  His counsel started with the words, “IF sinners entice thee” and IF they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood.”  He wanted Rehoboam to be prepared for the decisions of the wicked and in particular, for the harmful decisions of the wicked.  Life is about decisions.  Every decision has a consequence.  Good decisions typically result in good consequences while bad decisions typically result in bad decisions.  Every person’s life consists of the consequences of their decisions and unfortunately as well as of the consequences of the decisions of others.  What we decide can have a profound impact on others.  What we decide to do in life often creates the necessity for those in our lives to then make an important decision of their own.  In Rehoboam’s case, the decision of the wicked to try to recruit him for their evil plot would create the necessity for him to then make an important decision – to consent or not to consent, that would be the question.

Given the weight decisions carry in life, it shouldn’t surprise the reader of Proverbs to find chapter two start with a similar theme.  In chapter one, Solomon says, “My son, IF sinners entice thee.”  In chapter two, he writes, “My son, IF thou wilt receive my words...”  In preparing his child for life, this wise father wanted his son to contemplate two “IF’s.”  First, he wanted his son to be ready to make a sound decision IF others made a decision to target him.  Secondly, he wanted him to make a decision about the instruction he was receiving from his father, regardless of whether or not he ever faced any peer pressure.  In chapter one, it was the choice to give in to peer pressure IF evil peers decided to pressure him.  In chapter two, it was the choice to receive his father’s instruction or not.  Solomon was confronting Rehoboam with the Valley of Decision (Joel 3:1).

Again, life is all about choices – good choices and bad choices.  In many ways, there is no such thing as indecision.  The failure to make a decision is the decision to make no decision.  The choice to delay a decision is a choice.  In this case, Rehoboam had the choice to receive his father’s wisdom or not receive his father’s wisdom.  Reception would be a decision.  Rejection would be a decision.  Indecision would be a decision not to receive his father’s wisdom.  Over the course of the next three verses, Solomon would use the pivotal two-letter word, “IF” two more times.  In verse three, he writes, “Yea, IF thou criest after knowledge” and in verse four, he writes, IF thou seekest her as silver.”  Because life is about decisions, so much hinges on the “IF’s” of life.  Because life is about choices, our “IF’s” determine so much of what happens to us.  

Even though we place more emphasis on the “IT’s” of life, the “IF’s” carry so much more weight.  “IT’s” or things like social status (single, married or divorced) are important but they are not nearly as influential to what happens in our lives as the choices we make within each of those social status.  “IT’s” or things like career and place of employment are important but they are also not nearly as influential to what happens in our lives as the choices we make within our careers or within the companies we work for.  Possessing a big house is not nearly as important as making good decisions.  Owning a fancy truck in itself does nothing to improve one’s life – making sound decisions however, will improve one’s life. It’s not the “IT’s” in life that matter, it’s the “IF’s” in life that matter. “IF’s” in life matter because they’re always accompanied by “THEN’s.” 

IF you turn on the faucet, THEN water will come out.
IF you pull the trigger on the gun, THEN a bullet will project out.
IF you stop breathing, THEN you will die.
IF you drink too much alcohol, THEN your mind will be impaired.
IF you jump off a bridge, THEN you will be severely injured.
IF you treat people poorly, THEN you will be disliked.

The IF – THEN relationship is the DECISION – CONSEQUENCE relationship.  Solomon wanted his son to be ready to make decisions and more importantly, to make the right decisions.  He didn’t want his son to operate on indecision nor did he want his son to navigate through life not understanding the ramifications of his decisions.  In the first four verses of chapter two, Solomon used the word, “IF” three times.  In the following five verses, he used the word, “THEN two times.  A “THEN” always follows an “IF.”  A consequence always follows a decision.  An effect always follows a cause.  The person who operates on this basis reason will be more apt to make sound decisions.  The person who assumes decisions have no real consequence will consistently make bad decisions. The person who operates under the assumption that chance, not consequence, reigns supreme will consistently make poor decisions.  What we choose determines what we lose.  Solomon desperately wanted his son to understand the IF – THEN relationship.  So much of Rehoboam’s life hinged on IF he received his father’s instruction or not.  So much of Rehoboam’s future hinged on IF he received his father’s wisdom or not.

There is much wisdom in building our lives on this fundamental principle.  We are two to three times more likely to succeed if we use an IF – THEN plan than if we don’t.  In one study, over 90 percent of people who used an IF – THEN plan stuck to an exercise program (versus nearly 40 percent of non-planners).  New York University psychologist, Peter Gollwitzer recently reviewed results from 94 studies that used the technique and found significantly higher success rates for just about every goal possible.  Simply put, we cannot afford to ignore the undeniable and unbreakable relationship between IF and THEN.  Every “IF” has a “THEN.”  IF we eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting, THEN we are going to be unhealthy.  IF we drive on the other side of the road, THEN we are going to get hit by another vehicle.  IF we resist the wisdom of God’s Word, THEN we are going to embrace the foolishness of this world.  IF we don’t feed our souls with spiritual sustenance, THEN we are going to be spiritually famished.  Every IF has a THEN and every choice has a consequence

We would do well to place a much greater emphasis on our "IF's" than on our "IT's" – on our decisions than on our possessions.





Rehoboam Solomon fear of God health pride self-sufficiency wisdom 1 Corinthians 2020 5th Commandment Aaron Abel Abigail Abraham Absalom Accident Achan Acts 17 Adam Adolescence Adolf Hitler Adulterer Adulteress Affair Age Ahijah Ahithophel Alcoholism Amnon Andrew Finch Answered Prayer Apple of Eye Arrogance Asaph Athletes Backbone Back Balance Bank Accounts Bathsheba Bedroom Beecher Benefit Benjamin Bethlehem Bezaleel Bible reading Bible teacher Bible Biblical instruction Birth Boasting Bonar Bondage Boyfriend Building CA Rt 1 Cable News Calamity Call of Duty Calvin Canaan Cancer Careers Casey Viner Character Christian upbringing Christ Churches Clamor Clinton Clothes Clothing College Communication Conception Confidentiality Conservation Contrast Conversation Corinthians Corrupt Cosigner Cosigning Courting Creation Creator Crime Crooked Curiosity Currency Danger Daniel Data Dating Daughters David Death Delilah Desire Deuteronomy Devil Diligent Discovery Disease Dishonesty Dishonor Divorce Drink Drug lords Drunk Early Adulthood Ecclesiastes Economic Stability Eden Elderly Elihu Elijah Emerson Engagement Enoch Ephesians Ephraimites Esau Esther Evening Eve Exodus Expectations Experience Famine Fashion Favor of God Fear of the Lord Fearing God Feast of Purim Financial Security Fingers Food Foolish Freedom Friendships Friend Froward Fruit GPS Galatians Gender Differences Genesis Gideon Gileadites Girlfriend Glad Godhead Goliath Gossip Grandchildren Gratitude Grief Guide Guns Hagar Haman Hamlet Hannah Harlot Hate Evil Hatred Healthy Heaven Hebrews Herod History Holy Spirit Homicide Honesty House Humble Humility Hypocrisy Immorality Inherit Insecurity Insight Instructing Integrity Internet Interview Inventions Isaac Israel Jacob Jairus James Jealousy Jeremiah Jeroboam Jerusalem Jesus Christ Jesus Jewish Law Jewish Jobs Job John the Apostle Jonah Joseph Joshua Josiah Joy Judah Judaism Judas Iscariot Judges Judgmental Kindness King David King Hezekiah Kings Language Learn Liar Lies Life Lesson Lion Longevity Look Lottery Love Triangle Lowliness Luke 7 Luther Lying Manna Mark Marvel Mary Matthew Media Men Mindset Mocking Monopoly Moody Morality Mordecai Morning Moses Mouths Natural Disaster Naughtiness Nebuchadnezzar Nehemiah New Tricks Noah Nobles Numbers O.J. Simpson Observation Old Dogs Parenting Passion Pastors Paul the Apostle Paul Perspective Perverse Perversion Peter Pharoah Philippians Plant Pleasure Polygamy Poor Popularity Potiphar's Wife Potiphar\'s Wife Potiphar\\\'s Wife Potiphar\\\\\\\'s Wife Prate Prating Pregnancy Pregnant Princes Principal Thing Principal Procrastinate Procrastinator Profit Prophecy Prophet Prosperity Gospel Prostitute Protests Proverbs Proverb Psalm 21 Psalm 35 Psalm 37 Psalms Psalm Punishment Pure Purity Purpose Rachel Rage Rebekkah Rehoboam Rehoboma Relationship Remember Reprove Reputation Research Resume Resurrection Revealing Rich Man Rich Ridicule Road Rulers Rules Sadness Samson Samuel Satan Saul Scale Scam Science Scientist Scripture Sea of Galilee Seasons Seed Self-Confidence Selfishness Shakespeare Shame Shane Gaskill Shenandoah Valley Shoe Laces Sickness Silence Simon Peter Simon Social Media Solomon Song of Solomon Sons Sorrow Source Speaking Speak Speech Spiritual Security Sporting Sport Spouses Steal Stephen Strange Woman Strength Stress Surely Surety Swatting Sweat Talkative Talking Tamar Taylor Teachers Teaching Teenagers Teens Tendency Theft Timothy To be or not to be Toddlers Tolerance Tongue Tour Guide Travel Treasure Trickery Trinity Trips True Love True Wisdom Turner Tyler Barriss Understanding Unforgiveness Unhealthy Universities Upright Value Vehicle Vengeance Virtuous Walk Watsom Way of Life Way Weight Winking Wink Wise Men Witnessing Womb Women Work Ethic Worth YouTube Zechariah addiction adultery advertisements advertiser advertising advice advisor affection affirmation aggression alcohol amos angels anointing ant anxiety appetite argument assumption as attractions authority background backyard bankrupt battle beginning birds bitterness blessed brain bright broken nose buckler campfire cardinal sins career carelessness car cause certainty charity chastening childhood childrearing children child choices church attendance church command confidence confident consequences considerate contention contentment conversaion correction counselor counsel covetousness criticism cruelty cynicism dads dad darkness dark daughter debt deception decisions defend defense demands destruction determination diamonds diligence direction disappointment discernment discipleship disciples disciple discipline discontentment discord discretion distractions distress doctrine dogs drinking drugs dying ear education effort emotions employee employer employment enemies enticement enticing envy equity evil communications evil men evil women evil example eyelids eyes ezekiel facts failure fairness faith family fathers father favor fear of God fear feelings feminine fighting fight filthy finances fire flattery focus following foolishness foolishnes fools fool forgiveness fornication friends future gambling gender gold good men good government grace greed guard guilt happiness happy harm hate headlights health heart hear holiness home honor hope hunger husbands husband ignorance illustration income inequality infidelity influence iniquity insomnia instincts instruction intimacy investigation isaiah issued issue jewelry judgment justice just kidnapper kidney kids knowledge labor law of sowing and reaping laziness lazy leadership learning legacy length of days lessons let life light lips listening listen little liver living loans loneliness long life love lucifer lust man marketing marriage math memorization memory mercy messenger millions mind ministry mischief misery mistakes mom money mothers mother motive mouth movies nature necklace neck neighbor obscenity observant oil oppression oppressor organs ornaments parable paranoia parenthood parents parent pastoring path peace peer pressure peers peer permission personification pleasant politician ponder pornography pottymouth poverty power prayer preservation pride priests private procrastination prodigal profanity prosperity prostitution protection protect prudence public restroom purchases reading reaping reason rebellion rebuke regret rejection relate relationships relevant remedy remembrance remorse repetition replacement reproof respect responsibility responsible retain retention riches righteousness righteous risk robber romance rubies safety sailor salvation schools scorner secret security seduction seeing see self-sufficiency self-sufficient serpent seven deadly sins seven sexist sexual sin sex silver simple simplicity sinners sin skepticism slander sleeplessness sleep slothfulness sluggard smoke to the eyes smoke son soul sowing spleen spouse stability stranger strange strife striving successful success suicide talents talk taxes teacher television temptation tendencies thief thieves thinking think thoughtfulness thoughts thought threats time tithe tree of life trust truth tv vehicles vice video games vinegar to the teeth vinegar violence violent virtue virtuous woman visual voice of God voice vulgar walking war wealth well wickedness wicked wife will wine wisdom wise sayings wise wives woman word of God words workplace work worry young man young people young youth