What is more valuable than silver and more beautiful than gold? What is more precious than jewels, long life, riches or honor? The book of Proverbs has an answer for us. How can we truly and consistently turn away from evil? How can we find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man? Proverbs has an answer for us. Where did Paul turn when when he wanted to talk about humility and unity? Where did Peter go when he wanted to communicate to young churches about conceit, dissensions, folly and judgement? Where did the author of Hebrews turn when he wanted to encourage Christians who were enduring suffering? They all turned to the Proverbs…and that is where we are going to turn this week.
This Sunday, we will press pause on our Colossians series as we consider Two Ways to Live, from Proverbs 1. How familiar are you with the Proverbs? Are you familiar with the bright boundaries drawn around characters like “the fool,” or “the sluggard?” Have you been acquainted with the Proverb’s teaching on sexual immorality, friendship, the family, or the very words that come from your mouth each day? Did you know that there was a book in the Bible as practical and theological as this? I say practical because it clearly presents two paths to follow: the way of the wise and the way of the fool. But before you chalk this up to 31 steps to a better life, you should think on the theological root of this choice before us all—the fear of the Lord! You see, the foolish road is not well lit, nor does it display signs reminding you of the destination ahead. In fact, it is designed to trick you into thinking that you are on the right road! It is deceitful, tricky and sly. This path is so dangerous that we are instructed not to rely on our own directions or intuitions as we navigate, but that we fear the Lord (3:7).
So, as you prepare for worship this week, read the Proverbs! In fact, if you’ve been around Redeemer very long, you’ve probably been encouraged to read the Proverb that corresponds to the day of the month (Today, that would be Proverbs 20). I think that as you read the Proverbs, you will find yourself coming up a bit short. Paul’s encouragement to the Corinthians is crucial for us here: “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that just as it is written, LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” Our hope for Sunday is that the Lord will enable us to truly believe that “the fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may avoid the snares of death (14:27).”