Proverbs 22:17-21 is a wonderful passage about God and His knowledge. It advocates true wisdom and our trust in God to form the words in our mouth. It also teaches of the important of knowing God’s word so as to answer questions of others. It also serves up a warning for those who only have a superficial acquaintance with our Lord. This is a great read something we all need to take to heart.
All things should bow to God and His word. Bowing the ear shows reverence to the truth which is God. It shows a humbled head, heart and spirit. We should never take God’s word lightly. Every single word of the Bible should be weighed and considered. Jesus tells us that not only every word should be considered, but even the smallest letter and mark of the word.
“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Matthew 5:18
But the 1599 Geneva Bible, the first full English translated Bible before the King James Bible takes a completely different approach. It writes, “Incline thine ear…”. Instead of bowing their idea is raising head and hands up to the Almighty to receive Him and His word. In either writing, the meaning is the same, complete reverence of God.
“Hear the words of the wise”. Who is wise? Our first purpose is to know God’s word. Our second purpose and lifelong task is to strive to understand it. Too many, “wise” are nothing more than repeaters of words of which they have no knowledge. Ardent advocates of a word which is nothing more than vapor and hot air proceeding out of a mouth and not the heart and head.
“Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.” Hosea 14:9
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.” James 3:13
“Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.” Ecclesiastes 8:1
“Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” Proverbs 17:24
God’s word isn’t about what you think it is or what it means to you. God’s word is a universal truth that must be known and understood. Bow down your ear, hear “The Word” from the wise and apply your heart, mind, body, spirit and soul to God’s truth.
“My knowledge” isn’t from a preacher, teacher, pastor or minister. Knowledge comes from God and is of God.
“For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.” Proverbs 22:18
God’s words and ways are pleasant, not hurtful. They are to keep us in the way of life, not death. Jesus said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”. John 6:63
How wonderful it is that when we have God planted and rooted inside of us that His words will be fitted in our lips. God flows from the mouth of those who know him. It isn’t necessarily premeditated or conscious effort. God formed and fitted and communicated from our lips.
The Geneva Bible phrases it this way, “For it shall be pleasant, if thou keep them in thy belly, and if they be directed together in thy lips.”
Fitted or directed, God is in control and causes apt words to be created from our lips.
“That thy trust may be in the Lord, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.” Proverbs 22:19
Think about this for a moment; Whom do you know that you have complete faith and confidence in so as to give complete control of your mouth to? We must have total trust in the Lord for one day our lives will depend upon it.
“But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Matthew 10:17-20
“Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” Proverbs 22:20-21
We are always to uplift and edify others. We do this with God and his word. How can we answer the questions about God from the many who do not understand if we ourselves do not have such knowledge and understanding?
“Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.” Proverbs 4:5-9
We are first to love God and then His creation, His children our neighbor. How great a display of love for both is it then to learn God, know God and teach Him to others?
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