(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, the third theme I want to consider with you is all over Proverbs, but it's not as evident. It is the Fatherhood of God. You may say, “Well, wait a minute, Paul, I've read the Proverbs, I’ve studied the Proverbs, I’ve done Bible studies in the Proverbs; I haven't seen any Proverb that talks about the Fatherhood of God.”
Well, let me talk to you about how this emerges in the Proverbs. One of the sweetest, most tender, most encouraging portions of the entire Bible is Proverbs, chapter 1 through chapter 7. Here is a father pouring down his wisdom on his son. I think of it as a father sitting on a couch next to his son with his arm around him and saying, “Son, there are some things I want you to know because I love you and here's loving instruction, and loving practical counsel, and loving warning, and loving values clarification, and loving guidance.” It's just such a beautiful portion of Scripture.
And that section is marked by ten fatherly pleas or appeals. It's like a father saying, “Son, please don't ever…or please do this.” You can feel the tenderness of heart in these chapters.
Chapter 1, the father says, “Do not run after unjust gain.” It's a warning against greed; greed will destroy your life.
Chapter 2, the father says, “If you get anything, get wisdom. It's the treasure of treasures,”
Chapter 3 is a call to fear the Lord. The second part of chapter 3 is a call to stay inside of wisdom's boundaries and don't demand your own way.
The first part of chapter 4, the father says, “Make wisdom your tradition, your legacy. Lay down the legacy of wisdom.” I love that. You're always building some kind of legacy.
Middle part of chapter 4, the father says, “There are only two ways of living, son; you live as a fool or you live as a wise person, and everybody fits into those categories.”
The end of chapter 4, the father says to his son, “Above all else, guard your heart because your heart is the wellspring of life. Your life, your choices, your decisions, your words are controlled by the thoughts, motives, desires, spiritual condition of your heart.”
The ninth appeal is in chapter 5; it's about the importance of sexual morality, and then chapter 7 is a call to run, run, run from sexual temptation.
Now you say, “Well, what does that have to do with the Fatherhood of God; that's just fatherly wisdom?” Because God the Father has preserved this for us, and so he is the wise Father and we are the children. You understand how God functions as a Father by studying these passages; His warnings and His encouragements and His wisdom and His grace are all over these. And, as a loving Father, He offers us what we would never know on our own.
I often think as I’m reading this passage of a young child, he doesn't know what he needs to eat, doesn't know that he needs to sleep, doesn't know what is dangerous, doesn't know the importance of his parents’ authority. He doesn't know, he doesn't know, he doesn't know, he doesn't know! That's us! And so, we need a Father who will come to us and be generous in love and generous in wisdom, and the generosity of the Fatherhood of God is all over the Proverbs. He gives, and He gives, and He gives, guidance and warning and grace and deliverance and promises because He loves us. You're never without a father because you have a Father in heaven who loves you and will generously unfold His wisdom to you!