(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, we are working our way through themes in the Proverbs. Rather than going chapter by chapter or verse by verse, we’re picking out these chords that run all the way through the Proverbs. And the one we want to look at first here is that we live in a moral world. You cannot make sense out of the Proverbs unless you step back and say, “There's a description of the world that we live in that is basic to understanding the material in this portion of Scripture.” If you read the Proverbs, you realize that everything is not okay, everything is not all right, and you and I didn't have a vote. God has decided what is right. He's decided what is true. He's decided what is just. He's decided what is righteous.
Now, in this way, Proverbs is very modern, very helpful for this moment that we’re in because there's a massive cultural denial of the moral world that we live in. Maybe that's pictured by this phrase that’s become current; “Well this is my truth.” Well sorry, it's true or it's not, and that's the picture in Proverbs. Proverbs 2 says this:
For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, and every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of righteousness to walk in the ways of darkness.
In the Proverbs, you’re confronted with, there's such a thing as righteousness and there's such a thing as evil. All of chapter 10 of Proverbs is a contrast between these two lifestyles, the lifestyle of the righteous and the lifestyle of the wicked. Chapter 15 is a meditation on how the Lord responds to the wicked, and it says this sad thing, “He's far from them.” You don't ever want God far from you.
For the righteous he says, “He hears their prayer.” That means God is watching, God is attentive, God is caring for His children. And as I think of this moral world, as I think of righteousness and evil, I can't help but think of Romans 3, where it says, “There is none righteous, no not one.” The Proverbs reminds me that I am not naturally righteous, that my life falls short of God's moral standard; and the Proverbs, in that way, is a massive warning for sinners and reminds us that the only hope for sinners in a moral world is a Savior. Proverbs will drive you to the Savior if you understand the world that's being described.
Psalm 51 says that the wicked go astray from the womb. We are born into the evil side of things, and it's only by the grace of the righteous life and acceptable death of the Savior that we are viewed righteous in God's eyes if there is a moral world. And the only hope for us in this life and the one to come is the Lord Jesus Christ who comes to rescue us from us and to present us righteous before God and offers us the hope of living in a place that’s perfectly righteous forever and ever. This is a moral world and a moral world needs a savior!