2Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. 3Cry out for insight and understanding. 4Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure. 
Proverbs 2:2-4 (NLT)

That which we tune our ears to is what we begin to hear. Mothers tune their ears to the cries of their children. Doctors tune their ears to hear abnormal sounds in our lungs and abdomen. I could listen through their stethoscopes and every sound would seem either normal or abnormal – but I wouldn’t be able to distinguish one from another. In a room of crying babies I would not be able to distinguish one specific voice.

Similarly, with all the sounds that assault my hearing, unless I tune my ear to God’s wisdom I will not hear it. And I want to hear it. Proverbs 2 continues with some of the benefits of hearing God’s voice:

5Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God. 6For the LORD grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. 7He grants a treasure of good sense to the godly. He is their shield, protecting those who walk with integrity. 8He guards the paths of justice and protects those who are faithful to him.

9Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will know how to find the right course of action every time. 10For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. 11Wise planning will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.
Proverbs 2:5-11 (NLT)

What tremendous benefits await those who tune their ear to wisdom! They are benefits that are clearly worth the effort. The question is how does one tune their ear to something that we’ve never heard before? What is the “sound” of wisdom? How do we find it and how do we recognize it?

God is so good! He doesn’t tell us to do something without providing a way to do it. Our key verse provides God’s approach. Let’s break it down:

Verse 2a: Tune your ears to wisdom – I see two elements to this simple statement.First, is the imperative to take action. The verb isn’t passive, it is active. So let’s start by recognizing that it’s something we need to do and making a decision to do it! Too often we pursue education for our profession or vocation, but assume that we either have wisdom or don’t. That’s not consistent with Scripture. Scripture says clearly that we can gain wisdom, just as we might gain a college education. We don’t get a college degree without applying ourselves to our studies, and wisdom isn’t something that we gain by osmosis. Just as we can glean some knowledge by hanging around others who have invested in it, we can glean some wisdom by those who have already tuned their ear to it. But do you want just the little bit of God’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding that you’ll gain from befriending a wise person, or do you want the whole gamut of wisdom God has for you? Do you want just a little of the good sense He has for you or all of it? Do you want just a little of His joy or all of it? I want it all (and I suspect you do, too).

The second element in this sentence is the kind of action we’re to take: Listen! You can’t tune your ear without listening closely. Each Sunday morning as our worship team tunes up, they strum their guitars, turn a knob or two, strum them again, turn the knobs again, and repeat this process until the strumming yields the sound they’re listening for. Quite frankly I don’t hear much difference between the first strumming and the last strumming. The musicians have tuned their ears – they’ve listened to their instruments over a period of time and know what it should sound like. We must listen closely, over a period of time, to learn the voice of the Lord. As we tune our ear to hear the Lord, sometimes we’ll get it wrong. That’s OK. God will correct us, and He loves that we are getting to know him.

Verse 2b: Concentrate on understanding – It’s not a lackadaisical approach that will tune your ear and give you understanding, it is the concentrated approach. Have you ever watched someone when they’re learning something new? Think of the child learning to tie his shoe. Or perhaps you’ve watched a great basketball player in slow motion as he concentrates on the basket as he sets up his shot. In both examples, you can see the concentration on the person’s face. They are focused on the task at hand, shutting out all outside influences that might ruin their concentration. God tells us to approach understanding like that – concentrate on it! Don’t just try it once, but concentrate on hearing God and understanding His ways. Block out the influences of this world and seek His wisdom.

Verse 3: Cry out for insight and understanding – Don’t go it alone! Cry out to God for insight and understanding. Ask God for it! He promises to give it:

If you need wisdom—if you want to know what God wants you to do—ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking.
James 1:5 (NLT)

Notice the word “gladly.” He doesn’t give it begrudgingly. But you must cry out for it!

Verse 4: Search for them as you would for lost money or hidden treasure – Search high and low for it, as you would for money that you’ve lost or hidden treasure. Don’t give up easily! I lost my passport once. I emptied drawers and filing cabinets. I looked under furniture. I even cleaned off my desk – and I’m not a clean desk person. What have you searched for lately? Think about your search, then think about applying those same methods and intensity in finding wisdom, understanding and insight.

As I’ve been reading through Proverbs, God has been reminding me that I don’t seek His wisdom often enough. When I do the results are tremendous. Just today Phil was trying to do something on our website that he couldn’t figure out. He had spent quite a bit of time researching and trying various things, all to no avail. Then he started thinking about how God gave Joseph wisdom for succeeding in every position he held. So Phil paused to pray. He went back to working on the website, did a few things that made no sense to him and within minutes he had accomplished what he’d been trying to do for days! God’s wisdom is so good. We’ve had experiences like this in the past. Seeking God’s wisdom brings success. It was the topic of my last blog, and God is impressing it upon me enough for it to be the topic of this blog.

Let’s ask God for His wisdom before we waste time trying to live in our own wisdom (or lack thereof). He’s so good, He’ll give it generously! We have His promise.

 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)

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