One of the most critical words in our language consists of only two letters. Hopes or fears, plans or problems often teeter on this tiny word. The word is “if.” Take a minute and think about all the “ifs” you encounter, or say, in a day.
When God’s “if” is met with your prayerful pursuit of Him, the trajectory and tone of your life can re-begin. In Proverbs 2 God outlines great benefits for those who move from “if” to “I will.”
Proverbs chapter two begins with, “My son (or daughter), if you receive my words …” It’s an opening statement that combines a challenge with a promise. Likewise, verses three and four begin with “if” as well. God is prompting us to pause and ponder what He is offering. He affords specific blessings to those who take heed to His word. Let’s line up what He requires so that it points us to the obedience He desires so that we can receive those benefits.
Three “If” Statements:
- If you receive my words and treasure my commandments. Verse 1
- If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding. Verse 3
- If you seek it (His word and wisdom) like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures. Verse 4
With these few words God opens the way to His wisdom and knowing Him better. Here’s a summary of it: When we receive His word we are to treasure it, pray for insight, and continue to seek Him; then, He shows us Himself, His wisdom, and His ways. We must take care here: our pursuit of Him and His word is to have a earnest and singular focus (verse 4). This process of pursuing Him cannot happen every now-and-then, or by happenstance. It’s deliberate.
A real life example might help here. I am an avid — but not very fast — runner. My oldest daughter, Emma, and I often run together. The best part of our running is not finishing big races or earning medals, it is the time spent together, challenging each other, talking, and laughing. The meaningful part of our running is pursing it together, not the completion of it.
The same idea follows in the “if” statements. God is giving us these statements to get us to Him, not to get us to a spiritual achievement. The treasure is in growing closer to Him, not performing spiritual exercises for Him.
He delights in us as we draw near to Him. He joyfully gives Himself, and His wisdom, to us as we take joy in Him. It’s true. It is that simple. As you read Proverbs chapter two, mull over this question, “what will happen when I draw near to God in His word and seek His wisdom?” The answers to that question are found in verses 5-12. They will amaze you. Go ahead, read them, and find out for yourself. There is a treasure trove in those verses.
Speaking of a treasure trove, and of treasuring God’s word (verse 1), allow Matthew 13:44 to demonstrate what a singular and relentless pursuit of and joy in God looks like:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
It is worth noting that the pursuit described in Matthew 13:44 is not one of guilt or grit, duty or demand, rules or religion, no, our pursuit of God in Christ is to be one of joy. As you take joy in Him in His Word, He will take joy in drawing near to you and showing Himself and His wisdom to you.
It all begins with “if.” Today, take the leap from “if” to “I will.”