This summer we are doing a series in the book of Proverbs. It is the part of our bibles called the wisdom literature. Other books included within the wisdom literature are Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs. Proverbs, like all the other authoritative books, was not given to us by God to some how prepare us to live life in our own power and strength. Proverbs like the rest of Holy Scripture is a book of gospel. As Dr. Tim Keller rightly point out when he says, “It [Scripture] is not a story of moral exemplars. It is a record of God’s intervening grace into the lives of those who do not deserve it, are not seeking it, who continually resist it, and who even do not appreciate it, even after they have been saved by it”.
The Apostle Paul told young Timothy to “continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, (Old Testament) which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” The book of Proverbs is ultimately about Jesus. The Bible also teaches that Proverbs has been given to us to help us to become more like Him. It is “profitable” Paul goes on to write, “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” Simply put, the main purpose of Proverbs, just like all the other books of the Bible is to show us Jesus as our only God and Savior and to sanctify those who read it. That means the book of Proverbs is good news for broken people. It’s about God’s grace to the undeserving sinner. It’s all about our hope in a fallen world. It’s about wisdom for the foolish, like me.
In 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 Paul tells us that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
The personification of wisdom then points to a greater truth, greater than perhaps even Solomon and the others who God used to write Proverbs comprehended. Wisdom is a person. Wisdom has a name. The Wisdom of God is Jesus of Nazareth. So as we read and study this book together we will do so through the lens of the Gospel, Jesus himself. Paul told the Church in Ephesus that God, in our salvation, has lavished his grace upon us in all wisdom and insight and made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ”. So to grow in wisdom is to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 1:3-9). May it ultimately bring glory to God.
Lastly, I am reminded of one of my favorite verses concerning the Mission of the Church, the family of God, “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12). May we walk humbly in the wisdom God gives us so that others will see and treasure HIM above all earthly treasures. Soli Deo Gloria!