Since last year I’ve felt a great need and desire to get wisdom. I praise God for that because it’s evidence of his Spirit working in me. So I’ve been working on memorizing Proverbs chapters 1-4. I’ve memorized other passages but nothing like the wisdom literature in Proverbs. It’s been a little tricky but I’ve made it a little ways into chapter 2 so far.
Today I was working on Proverbs 2:9 which says, “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path…”
Another list of virtues: righteousness, justice, equity. When I memorize I usually try to make some sort of mnemonic device to help me. I was about to do that with these virtues but then started thinking more about them. The list reminded me of another verse in chapter 1. Proverbs 1:3 tells us about the purpose of the book. It says, “To receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity.”
Justice and equity are two things that have been talked about a lot in the past year. Many throw these words around without defining them. Others define these words but only according to their preferred outcomes. But few include in their definition the virtue of righteousness.
According to Proverbs, righteousness is an integral and essential part of justice and equity. You can’t define justice or equity without it.
But the other thing you learn in Proverbs is that you can only understand righteousness, justice and equity within the context of a relationship with God in which you are actively seeking wisdom.
Pay attention to the context that surrounds that first verse I quoted above:
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path…” Proverbs 2:1-9
One thing I’m loving as I hide these words in my heart is the emphasis not only on how much God wants us to have wisdom, but on how freely it is offered to those who cry out for it. I have never known a time when my need for wisdom has been greater than right now. Let’s all cry out for it. It’s right there for those who seek it.