(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, as we look at these principles, I just think this one is so important and helpful and encouraging. Every Proverb is loaded with convicting power. Clearly, the Proverbs are designed by God to offer us way more than a body of wisdom information. I'm afraid that's how the Proverbs are used. We have these isolated little nuggets of wisdom information, and you run to the Proverbs if you want a little more wisdom information. That's not the Proverbs.
The Proverbs are designed by God to stimulate heart and life transformation. So, I want to lay out a little principle for you and apply it to the Proverbs. I’m going to say this a couple of times; “You can't grieve what you don't see, and you can't confess what you haven’t grieved, and you can't repent of what you haven't confessed.” Let me say that again, “You can't grieve what you don't see, and you can't confess what you haven't grieved, and you can't repent of what you haven’t confessed.”
Now, let's look at those three words and take them to Proverbs: grieve, confess, repent. The purpose of the Proverbs is to give you eyes to see yourself in ways that you wouldn't without the Proverbs. Proverbs is meant to be this perfect mirror that you stand in front of and you look at yourself, and you say, “Oh no! I didn't know that was me. Oh! I do do that! Oh! I am foolish in that way.” The Proverbs, in holding before you God’s standard, is meant to give you eyes to see how you've fallen below God's perfect righteous standard. And in so doing, the Proverbs is meant to give you a grief of heart, a sadness because now you see yourself with accuracy. That grief of heart then leads you to confession. The Proverbs can put motivation and content to your confession where you go specifically to your Lord, confessing your sin; and in specific ways, crying out for His forgiving grace.
The Proverbs is to lead you to repentance and define for you what repentance looks like. The Proverbs tells you what change needs to take place and what change looks like. Repentance is a change of heart that leads to a radical change in the direction of your life. So, the Proverbs is meant to gift you with sight, to gift you with grief of heart, to gift you with specificity of confession, to gift you with specific and ongoing repentance, and that is a very good thing for every sinner.
When I read the Proverbs, I think of Isaiah 55. Isaiah 55 says, “When the rain and the snow of the Word of God fall, the briar will become a cypress tree, the thorn bush a myrtle.” Now, that is a really weird metaphor. If I've got a thorn bush in my backyard, and it's nourished by the rain, I don't say to my dear wife, Luella, “If it keeps raining, it’s going to turn into a beautiful tree.” She would think I was crazy.
You see what that picture is is a picture of radical, organic transformation, that under the rain of the wisdom of the Word of God, you don't become a bigger better you, you become a radically different you. And so, as God rains the Proverbs down on us, they’re meant to change us, radically change us. That takes sight, that takes grief, that takes confession, that takes repentance. Praise God that every Proverb is filled with convicting power and convicting grace!