Proverbs (Part 020) - Pro 2:8-10


8. Pro 2:8 - "He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints." A. He keepeth the paths of judgment i. Keep v. - II. Transitive uses (in early use also intr.). * To have regard, pay attention to, observe. 9. To have regard, to care, to reck 14. To guard, defend, protect, preserve, save. ii. Given the context of God being a buckler (a means of defense; a protector) (Pro 2:7) who preserves the way of His saints (Pro 2:8), to keep is accordingly defined as "to guard, defend, protect, preserve, save." iii. Thus, the LORD guards, defends, and protects the paths of judgment. iv. In that the paths that the LORD keeps are paths of judgment, it is apparent that these are figurative paths which are "course[s] of action or procedure, line[s] of conduct, way[s] of behaviour." v. There are many such metaphorical paths on which a Christian should walk, such as: a. "the path of life" (Psa 16:11) b. "the path of the just" (Pro 4:18) c. "the paths of righteousness" (Psa 23:3) d. "the paths of uprightness" (Pro 2:13) e. All these paths are "right paths" (Pro 4:11), being "the paths of the LORD" (Psa 25:10). vi. Seeing that "narrow is the way which leadeth unto life" (Mat 7:14), every Christian ought to pray to God to "shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths" (Psa 25:4), and "make me to go in the path of thy commandments" (Psa 119:35). vii. There are also other "froward...paths" (Pro 2:15) which a follower of Christ must definitely avoid such as: a. "the path of the wicked" (Pro 4:14) b. the paths of strange women which "inclineth...unto the dead" (Pro 2:18) c. We must definitely avoid those types of paths (Pro 1:15). B. The paths of judgment i. Judgment n. - 1. a. The action of trying a cause in a court of justice; trial. 8. a. The faculty of judging; ability to form an opinion; that function of the mind whereby it arrives at a notion of anything; the critical faculty; discernment. b. Good or sound judgement; discernment, discretion, wisdom, understanding, good sense. ii. In the context of wisdom (Pro 2:6,7,10), understanding (Pro 2:6,11), and discretion (Pro 2:11), judgment refers to sense #8 above. a. Therefore, the path of judgment is a course of action and conduct that is characterized by using the faculties of wisdom and discernment to make sound decisions to arrive at correct opinions while navigating oneself through life. iii. Because man's judgment is often lacking and feeble, God protects and guards his path, "lead[ing] [him] the midst of the paths of judgment" (Pro 8:20), keeping him from deviating too far either to the left or the right so that he "enter[s] not into the path of the wicked, and go[es] not in the way of evil men" (Pro 4:14). C. And preserveth the way of His saints. i. Saint n. - B. n. A holy person. 1. One of the blessed dead in Heaven. 3. a. In biblical use, one of God's chosen people; in the New Testament, one of the elect under the New Covenant; a member of the Christian church; a Christian. a. The dictionary's definition is in accord with the scripture which also defines a saint as one of God's faithful elect who is a member of a Christian church (Rom 1:6-7 c/w Rom 8:28-30; 1Co 1:2). b. A saint is NOT some dead guy that idolatrous fools pray to in disobedience to God. ii. Preserve v. - 1. trans. To keep safe from harm or injury; to keep in safety, save, take care of, guard. iii. The LORD takes care of His saints, both eternally and temporally, keeping them safe from harm or injury (Joh 10:28). a. Psa 37:28 - For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. b. Psa 31:23 - O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. c. Psa 97:10 - Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. d. Psa 145:20 - The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy. e. 2Ti 4:18 - And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. f. Jud 1:1 - Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: iv. Not only does the LORD preserve His saints, but He also preserves their way. a. He does so directly by divine intervention (Psa 121:8). b. He also does so indirectly by teaching them wisdom from the scriptures which enables them to make wise decisions that keep them from evil and its consequences (Pro 4:5-6; Pro 16:17). 9. Pro 2:9 - "Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path." A. Introduction i. Proverbs 2 began with the LORD giving conditions (desiring, asking, and seeking) which must be met to find the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God (Pro 2:1-4). ii. Upon their fulfillment, the LORD gives the desired reward through His revealed word (Pro 2:5-6). iii. Along with these blessings, the LORD also protects and preserves both His saints and their way (Pro 2:7-8). iv. The culmination of the process of asking and seeking on the part of the believer, and giving and protecting on the part of God, is the ability of His saints to understand righteousness, judgment, equity, and every good path (Pro 2:9). B. Then shalt thou understand righteousness. i. The word then shows that getting knowledge and wisdom is a prerequisite to understanding righteousness, for the possession of them precedes it (Pro 2:6-9). ii. Righteousness n. - Justice, uprightness, rectitude; conformity of life to the requirements of the divine or moral law; virtue, integrity. iii. For a man to be righteous, he must conform his life to the requirements of God's law. iv. But in order to do so, he must first understand the law of God which is "the word of righteousness" (Heb 5:13). v. Thus, the aim of obtaining the knowledge and wisdom of God is to understand both what godly living is and how to attain unto it. vi. Knowledge is therefore not the end of the Christian life, but the means of it; for, "knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth" (1Co 8:1). C. Then shalt thou understand...judgment. i. The next godly attribute that the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom facilitates is judgment. ii. As was noted in the comments on the previous verse, judgment is the ability to use the faculties of wisdom and discernment to make sound decisions to arrive at correct opinions while navigating the course of life. iii. The most effective way to understand judgment is to study God's perfect example of it found in His word (Psa 119:160; Psa 147:19). D. Then shalt thou understand...equity. i. The next attribute that will be understood as a result of finding the knowledge of God is equity. ii. Equity n. - The quality of being equal or fair; fairness, impartiality; evenhanded dealing. iii. Having understood righteousness and judgment, which are inward and personal virtues, the knowledge of God next leads a man to understand equity, which, when properly understood, affects not only himself, but also his dealings with his neighbor. E. The word order in Pro 2:9 i. The word order in Pro 2:9 is in keeping with the two great commandments of the law. a. The first and greatest commandment embodies righteousness (conforming one's life to the divine law): "thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Mat 22:37). b. The love of God is shown by keeping His commandments (Joh 14:15), which is righteousness by definition. c. The second great commandment encompasses equity (evenhanded dealing with one's fellow man): "thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Mat 22:39). d. Loving one's neighbor as oneself is accomplished by treating him how one desires to be treated, or, in other words, fairly. ii. Proverbs 2:9 also follows the pattern set forth by the apostle James: "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (Jam 3:17). iii. When a man receives God's wisdom, which is first pure, then peaceable and without partiality, he consequently first comes to understand righteousness and then equity (Pro 2:9). iv. It is fitting that the seeker of truth will come to understand righteousness, judgment, and equity in that order, for this is the order in which God operates. a. Psa 98:9 - Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity. b. Isa 11:4 - But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. F. Then shalt thou understand...every good path. i. The understanding granted to the diligent seeker of truth doesn't end at righteousness, judgment, and equity. ii. It includes the comprehension of every good path. iii. There is no honorable course that a Christian can walk for which the word of God will not prepare him by imparting to him the understanding necessary for a prosperous journey thereupon. 10. Pro 2:10 - "When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;" A. In the first nine verses of Proverbs 2, Solomon gave the conditions for acquiring understanding, knowledge, and wisdom from God. B. In the rest of the chapter, Solomon gives some of the practical benefits of possessing wisdom, most notably its temporal saving and preserving qualities. i. There are many benefits to getting wisdom, but a Christian's primary motivation for obtaining it should not be the temporal advantages it affords, but rather its intrinsic virtue. ii. The LORD first instructs His children to "get wisdom, get understanding" (Pro 4:5) before He reveals the earthly gain it provides: "she shall preserve thee...and she shall keep thee" (Pro 4:6). iii. We should desire wisdom, first and foremost, for the sake of having it because it "is the principal (first or highest in rank or importance - OED) thing" (Pro 4:7), not merely because "she shall promote thee [and]...bring thee to honour [and]...give to thine head an ornament of grace [and] a crown of glory" (Pro 4:8-9). C. When wisdom entereth into thine heart. i. This statement indirectly reveals that the natural state of man's heart is one that is devoid of wisdom. ii. If wisdom is promised to enter into our hearts, then that means it does not currently reside there. iii. Wisdom isn't found innately in a man from his youth, but rather "foolishness is bound in the heart of a child" (Pro 22:15). iv. That foolishness must be driven out with the rod of correction before wisdom has a hope of replacing it. v. By nature, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jer 17:9), "is little worth" (Pro 10:20), and is full of evil (Mar 7:21-23). vi. God must remove our old stony heart and give us a new heart so that we have the ability and desire to receive wisdom (Eze 36:26-28). D. And knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul. i. Knowledge is not appealing to those who don't have a heart prepared to receive it. ii. Rather than embracing it, "fools hate knowledge" (Pro 1:22) and "despise wisdom and instruction" (Pro 1:7). iii. When the heart has been prepared by God through regeneration to receive His word, instead of being irritating, knowledge becomes pleasant. a. Pleasant adj. - Having the quality of giving pleasure; originally synonymous with pleasing, but now used more vaguely: Agreeable to the mind, feelings, or senses; such as one likes. b. To the child of God with a renewed heart, the knowledge of God gives pleasure unto his soul which is the very essence of his being. c. While knowledge is pleasing to his inward man, at times it is not so to his flesh, for "he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow" (Ecc 1:18). iv. Though the truth may be hard to receive, and often will cost a man dearly, it will free his spirit from the bondage of lies which enslave him (Joh 8:31-32).