I must say that I have a great sense of blessing and privilege right now. You know, that I have been chosen by God to do the things that He has called for me to do. Last year, we walked together through every book of the Bible, just pulling out the gospel chord in each one of those books, that in a real way, every portion of Scripture teaches the gospel in some way. And this year, we’re going to spend an entire year in the Proverbs.
I have a confession to make that I think, for much of my life, I didn't understand the Proverbs at all, and I think that I'm not alone. I would ask you, “When you think of this portion of Scripture, the Proverbs, what do you think is there?” I think that Proverbs is one of the most referenced portions of the Word of God, yet maybe one of the least understood portions of the Word of God. Here's what I think most people think. They think of the Proverbs as these utterly isolated little nuggets of wisdom; they’re really not connected to anything else. It's like God just dropped these little diamonds of wisdom down into a pile, and you can pick away at them, and hope you get something for your life.
That view of the Proverbs looks at the wisdom in the Proverbs as being sort of mechanical; it's almost a machine-view of wisdom. You do this and you get this, as if you're winding a watch. And so, we think of the Proverbs as different than every other part of Scripture. It just functions differently, it just looks different to us; when actually, the Proverbs are like everything else in Scripture.
The other thing we think of is we think of the Proverbs as always living in the ‘now.’ Now here’s what I mean by that. That the Proverbs don't have the past to them; they don't have any future to them; they just have a ‘present.’
But I want to propose to you, as we walk through the Proverbs, that the Proverbs together give us an incredible portrait of everything that the Bible is about and how to live inside of that portrait. Let me say again, the Proverbs together give us an incredible portrait; everything that the Bible is about and how to live inside of that portrait. They’re radically insightful, radically convicting, radically encouraging, radically hope-giving.
And I want to give you what I think is the summary passage of Proverbs. It's Proverbs 21: 30 and 31. “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.”
The Proverbs are helpful; the Proverbs are wise because of the Lord. I can rest in the wisdom of the Proverbs because victory belongs to the Lord. It's so far from anything like sort of separated abstract wisdom; there's a Lord of the Proverbs, there’s a Lord that stands behind the Proverbs, and we want to look at that as we think about what the problems are about.
Let me read this summary again; I think this is so encouraging, “No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.” Join me as we take this walk through the Proverbs.