Wisdom for living among the wicked

The book of Proverbs is filled with unusual wisdom. Some of the proverbs are simple common-sense truisms, while others defy the natural way of human thinking. This is because Proverbs is God’s wisdom for man – it will be full of truisms, for every word of God is true and related to the reality we experience each day. But it also means that Proverbs is filled with wisdom that mankind would never discover without it being revealed.

Proverbs 2:6-15 is one of the chunks of wisdom that defies normal human thinking. Mankind by nature follows after that which brings joy and delight, with little thought to what is right and wise, or wrong and foolish. But God’s wisdom for mankind offers security in terms of righteousness. This is timely wisdom for God’s people living in a wicked world.

6 For the LORD gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.

The two-fold benefit of God’s wisdom for believers among the wicked is very clear.

In reverse order, God’s wisdom delivers the righteous from the wicked (vv. 11-15). Wicked men will rejoice in doing evil and delight in the degree of evil they can devise. But walking in God’s wisdom will be like walking with a permanent guard at your side, keeping you from being tempted by their ways. Biblical understanding of their deeds as evil, and of their ways as devious, is the key to remaining safe from the traps of this world.

Secondly, God’s wisdom enables the righteous not to behave like the wicked themselves (vv. 6-10). When dealing with the wicked, we are tempted by our flesh to become like them – we either return evil for evil, or we awkwardly take some joy or delight from their evil ways. But God’s wisdom will guard us not only from evil men and their ways, but will also guard us from becoming one of those evil men following their evil ways. With the knowledge from God’s Word, we can remain righteous and justice in all our ways. And whereas the wicked pursue joy and delight through evil, the saints are pleased in their souls by their integrity.

Wisdom for living among the wicked
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