My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
Here are two conditions to understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God (Pr 2:5). These two traits separate wise men from foolish men; they separate godly men from profane men. Reader, it is important for you to examine yourself and determine if you have these two traits, if you meet these two conditions, for wisdom.
Solomon in context listed six prerequisites of wisdom for his son (Pr 2:1-5). God gives wisdom. To acquire it, you must fulfill His conditions (Pr 2:6-9). If pagan institutions of higher learning can require prerequisites for their God-rejecting nonsense, then surely these conditions for divine wisdom should be given your highest attention and effort.
“If thou wilt receive my words” is the first condition. Wisdom requires listening to someone else. If you believe you are already wise, you will not humble yourself to learn from another. A teachable spirit is necessary for learning. Most men are arrogantly deluded about their own wisdom, so they resent correction or instruction from another.
Solomon begged and exhorted his son to humble himself and be instructed by his father’s superior wisdom and experience. Every son who will be wise must heed the same warning. It is the sinful folly of youth that causes each generation to reject the wisdom of their parents. A father’s wisdom over a son is very great in degree and in all categories.
All learning requires instruction, yet men find it difficult to listen to others. They assume their opinions are better. They want to teach instead of listen. They prefer to question, argue, debate, or resist. Only a few are noble enough to listen and receive instruction. All progress requires change, yet few are willing to allow another person to change them.
The Holy Spirit praised the Bereans as noble for their ready minds to receive instruction from the apostle Paul (Acts 17:11). Cornelius was totally committed to hearing anything Peter had to teach him (Acts 10:33). And Lydia gave attention to the things spoken by Paul beside a river in Philippi (Acts 16:14). Lord God, prepare more such hearts to hear.
“If thou wilt hide my commandments with thee” is the second condition (Pr 2:1). Once you are taught something, you must retain it. Many men hear wonderful things, but the things pass through empty minds; they do not find a lodging place there. You hide God’s word in your heart by reviewing it enough to remember it (Ps 1:2; 119:11; Luke 2:19,51).
Solomon repeated this rule about keeping instruction many times (Pr 3:1; 4:4; 6:20; etc.). You cannot let the good things you hear slip away (Heb 2:1-3), or you lose the benefit of them (I Cor 15:2), and you will incur God’s judgment for negligence. Paul rebuked the Hebrews for needing to hear elementary facts of the gospel again (Heb 5:12-14). David said, “I will remember” (Ps 77:10-11). So should you! Be attentive and retentive!