(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
The theme that we want to look at now is maybe one of the places where the book of Proverbs is its most radical, it's most countercultural. We live in a culture where any authority that sets a boundary seems to be repudiated, where we’re told that everything is supposed to be okay no matter what you want to do, no matter who wants to do it, and to put strictures on people is some form of bigotry.
Proverbs puts before us the importance of a life of submission, a life of submission to higher authority, a life of submission to greater wisdom. Hear how Proverbs begins, “Hear, my son, your father's instructions. How long will you love being simple? (I love that.) Let your heart keep my commandments; be attentive that you may gain insight.” You get this repeated thing: listen, hear, obey, pay attention in the first several chapters of Proverbs.
The Proverb says to us. “There is One who sits on the throne of the universe who knows better and who has generously poured His wisdom down on us.” But that means the wise life, the good life, the fruitful life, is not a life of independence and self-direction. That philosophy is a drop-dead lie that will hurt you. Independence is not the goal of life; self-direction is not the goal of life. The good life is not that I can do whatever I want whenever I want to do it; that's not the good life. And yet, sin makes that attractive to us.
If you're a parent, you've never had your child say to you, “I wish you would just command me more. I wish you would tell me what to do more. I just don't get enough commands in my life.” But, early, a child will learn to say “No!” to you and learn to resist your authority. Real life is always found in submission to God, obedience to His commands, gladly receiving His wisdom.
Now again, this is where Proverbs fits so well with the gospel story. Think of this, what is the move of God's grace? What is the inertia of God's grace? I want you to hear what I’m about to say, “The move of God's grace is not to bring you from dependence to independence; the move of God's grace is to bring you from independence to greater dependence.”
The more spiritually mature you are, the more God's grace has worked in your life, the more dependent you will be on God: on His wisdom, on His commands, on His grace, on His Word, on the fellowship of His people, on any resource of grace that God puts in your life. That's what grace does. And so, the move of Proverbs is the same; it's to challenge the natural independence of sin and say, “No, no, no, don't you get it?” There's One who knows what's best and has poured that wisdom down on you just because He's a God of grace and He’s a God's love.
Listen, the goal of God in Proverbs is not to wreck your life; it's to make you thrive, it's to give you the good life, it’s to bless you with beautiful things that you would never have, you would never choose on your own. It's a gift of God to us to say, “Come, submit to Me and I will lead you in a good path.”
The key to the good life is not independence; the key to the good life is submitting to the wisdom and the authority of God!