The main purpose of Proverbs is to teach knowledge and direction and to guide in the path of wisdom and understanding. To understand righteousness, to understand the fear of the Lord, to find good understanding – it is to these that Proverbs guides me.
In Proverbs, I am warned to distinguish between trusting my own understanding and seeking spiritual understanding – which God gives.
In all I do, seeking after knowledge, planning and reading the Word I have two powers at work: the understanding or intellect which knows things from the ideas I form AND the heart which knows them by experience as they become part of my will and desires.
Little fruit will occur from Bible teaching and knowledge as I trust in my own understanding which doesn’t and can’t understand spiritual truth unless the Holy Spirit is present.
As with Eve, to think that the knowledge of God’s truth can be gained out of His Word by my own intellect is still the greatest danger.
There is a real danger in self-confidence and self-deception and be warned – Trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.” It is with the heart that a man believes. It is with all the heart I am to seek, serve and love God. It is only with the heart that I can know God or worship God in Spirit and Truth.
It is in the heart that the divine Word does the work. It is into my heart, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son. It is the heart, the inward life of desire and love and will that the Holy Spirit guides into all truth.
Trusting in my own understanding can only give thoughts and ideas about spiritual things without the reality of them. I get deceived into thinking that if the truth is in my mind, it will somehow surely enter my heart. Result: Bible reading, listening to the Word, but not becoming humble, or holy, or heavenly minded.
Therefore, come with my heart to the Bible and trust Him. Let my whole heart be set upon the living God as the Teacher when I enter my prayer closet (not my self-effort, my knowledge, my ideas) and my heart will find understanding spiritually.
My mind/my understanding can only get a picture or a thought of spiritual things. Once this is done, go with my heart to the Lord to make His Word Life and Truth in me. By doing this, my pride, which is prompted by my intellect, will be overcome, as the Holy Spirit quickens the Word in my heart and affections, and then guides the intellect.
"He leads the humble in justice,
And He teaches the humble His way." (Ps 25:9 AMP)
"The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome] is the beginning and the preeminent part of wisdom [its starting point and its essence],
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding and spiritual insight." (Prov 9:10 AMP)
With every thought from the Word, my intellect grasps, bows before the Lord in dependence and trust, for it to be made true and life in me. In time, the Holy Spirit will keep my understanding in subjection and let His Holy light shine through it.
God’s thoughts are much bigger than me. Therefore I think I correctly understood until I seek the fuller meaning as God meant it, and life takes on true meaning. All the infinities of God and the eternal world dwell in the Word as The Seed Of Eternal Life, and God’s mighty wonders and grace and power grow from it.
Jesus said to come to His Word as little children, so that spiritual truth does not remain hidden, so later I can become a spiritual man.
Let a deep sense of ignorance, a deep distrust in my own power to understand the things of God, influence my Bible study.
God wants to make His Word true in me. The Holy Spirit is already in me to reveal the things of God. God will give insight into the mystery of God – as I humble myself – so that I have a wonderful union and likeness of Christ. His living in me and I being as He was, in the world.
As the Holy Spirit works in me, what was of faith will become an experience.