(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, we’re walking through an introduction to the Proverbs so that, as we study this portion of Scripture together, you can get the fullness of its riches. What I want to say here is that every Proverb relies on and reveals the sovereignty of God. There is a sovereign God who stands in the middle of the Proverbs, stands behind the Proverbs. The Proverbs presents to us a world under rule. There is a God; He rules His world; His will will be done; those who trust Him will have blessing and ultimate victory. Let me give you that worldview of the Proverbs. There is a God; He rules His world; His will will be done; those who trust Him will have blessing now and ultimate victory to come.
The Proverbs really do confront us with the fact that we don't write our own stories, God does. Listen to Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
When I read the Proverbs, I often think of this passage, this is in Daniel 4; this is after arrogant Nebuchadnezzar had been humbled by God. He says this, speaking of God:
For his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and (no one) can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
“(No one) can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’” That's the God of the Proverbs! Yes, I make plans, but it’s God who directs my steps. Acts 17 says He determines the exact place where we will live and the exact length of our days.
Now, maybe you're thinking, “So, if the Proverbs presents a God to us who is in complete control of us and everything else, why do I need the Proverbs? If God's in control of everything, why do we need to live out this wisdom?” Because the Proverbs teaches us that God is sovereign, not just over the ends of what will happen, but the means as well!
Theologians say it this way, “That the Bible teaches us the true validity of the secondary agent.” So, the way that God establishes His already ordained plan is through the validity of our choices, our actions, our belief, our faith, our obedience.” The means is part of His plan; and so behind the Proverbs is God's plan to use this portion of His wisdom to establish, bless, and ultimately deliver to His children the final victory. He doesn't just determine the end of things; He determines the means as well.
But there's another thing. The reason that the Proverbs work is because God is sovereign over every situation, every circumstance, in which they need to work. The Proverbs are only as reliable as the extent of God's sovereignty is. You see, I can rest with surety that these things will function as the way that God said they will function because, in the place where I need to apply the Proverbs, God is ruling. So, His sovereignty is what gives the Proverbs their surety. Behind every Proverb is the sovereignty of God.