(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well I have been blown away by two things as I've gone through these themes in Proverbs. The first one is just the depth and breadth and practicality of the wisdom in this portion of the Word of God. The Proverbs just speaks to everything and in a such a sweet and wise way. And, I've also been blown away by how the Proverbs maps onto the narrative and the message and the hope of the gospel.
And, that brings us to this theme that I want to get us to think about right now; it's the theme of fresh starts and new beginnings. Now, this is one of those overarching themes in Proverbs. You really don't understand the Proverbs unless you understand this; it's not there in a single passage or in a single chapter; it's not apparent on the surface, but it's what the Proverbs is about.
Think with me. The book of Proverbs is an invitation by a God of grace to abandon the old foolish ways of sin and a welcome to fresh starts and new beginnings. When I say that, I think again, “Isn't this the narrative of the Bible?” Abraham doubted God's promise and took life into his own hands but was given fresh a start a new beginning. David committed adultery and murder but was given a fresh start and new beginnings. Jonah ran from God-was given a fresh start and a new beginning. Peter denied Christ-given a fresh start and new beginnings. Paul persecuted the church-given a fresh start and new beginnings. And each one of us are offered that fresh start and new beginnings. We’re meant to look into the mirror of the Proverbs and say, “I'm not what I should be and not walk away hopeless, but walk away with hope because the God of wisdom is also a God of grace. So, I want to talk about your approach to Proverbs with four words.
The first one is ‘consider.’ You ought to look in the mirror of the Proverbs and consider who you are, consider what you're doing, consider how you’re acting. Humbly look at the sightedness that the Proverbs gives you.
The second word is then, ‘confess.’ Don't deny what you see, don't rise to your own defense; confess what God shows you through this wonderful mirror of His Word.
Third word, now ‘commit’ yourself to a brand-new way of living. When you confess your sin, God never will mock you, He’s never disgusted, He never will turn His back, but He meets you with His grace. But His grace is not just for giving grace; it's empowering grace. And so, commit yourself to a new way of living. Say, “I'm going to live the wisdom of the Proverbs.” Now, you don’t have any ability to do that at all, but you're not left to your own resources because God is for you and with you and in you.
The fourth word is ‘change.’ There's an old saying in counseling circles that change hasn’t taken place until change has taken place. Commitment is a step of change, but it's not change--change is when you now apply those new commitments to the situations and relationships of everyday life.
How should Proverbs inform the way you think about money, the way you think about relationships, with the way you think about sex, the way you think about your talk, the way you think about justice or generosity or all those other things that are in Proverbs? Commit yourself to actual practical change. The God of wisdom is also a God of grace, and He welcomes you to look into the mirror of His Word, to confess what you see; He greets you with forgiveness, and He greets you with empowering grace. Proverbs is an invitation to fresh starts and new beginnings, or it makes no sense at all in its place in the Word of God!