(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, every Proverb points us to a paradise that is to come. Every Proverb is filled with longing and is meant to fill us with longing as well. The Proverb paints two portraits for us very well. The first Proverbs is of a world that no longer functions as God intended. It's a world that's broken; it's a world where bad things happen; it's a world fraught with danger and temptation. The Proverbs really presents to us what I would call “A Romans 8 World.”
Romans 8 says that “The whole world groans, waiting for redemption.” You groan when you're in pain; you groan when you’re frustrated; you groan when you're hurting; you groan when things are not the way they seem like they should be. We live in a world that's groaning, that everywhere you look, things are broken. There's a song that I just love by Bob Dylan, maybe it's the most biblically rooted song he ever wrote. It’s called, “Everything’s Broken,” and it's stanza after stanza of broken things. And then there's one moment in the song where he says, “You feel like you're choking, everything is broken.”
It's that frustration that we all face, why does it have to be this way? Maybe you would say, “This drives me crazy!” Or, “Why couldn’t that work?” Or, “Why do we always fight?” Or, “Why can’t we get in the car without conflict?” Or, “How can we argue with one another when we just heard a sermon on grace?” That brokenness, that's the first portrait.
And then the Proverbs paints for us very powerfully, a second portrait. It's a world where wisdom reigns. If you could take all the wisdom pictures of Proverbs and put them in one picture, it's the most beautiful world you could ever want to be in. It's everything in its right place; it’s shalom. ‘Shalom’ doesn't just mean peace; it means ‘everything in its right place, doing what it was meant to do.’ The Proverbs paints for you a world more glorious and gorgeous than anything you could ever imagine; you ought to put all those things together and say, “I want to live in that world!”
You see, we need the wisdom of the Proverbs because we live in between these two pictures, in between the picture of the broken world and the picture of the paradise, wisdom-reigning world. Theologians say that we live between “the already and the not yet.” And it’s right to commit yourself to God's wisdom-way.
But even as you do that, you don't live in a world where wisdom reigns yet. It's coming because the Lord of the Proverbs will make all things new again, and His wisdom will reign for us and will reign in us forever and ever and ever. And that means a world of absolute righteousness and absolute peace; no more frustrations, no more suffering, no more sin, foolishness--dead forever!
Now what the Proverbs is meant to do, most people don’t talk about this, is produce longing for that world in you. Because the place you start marching toward that world is ‘right here, right now.’ As you commit yourself to God's wisdom, you are taking steps toward the final reign of that wisdom forever and ever. The Proverbs ask you to live with eternity in view and to have longing in your heart for the wisdom-reign that is to come!