17 February 2015

How does Proverbs point to Christ?

by Dan Phillips

The Old Testament as a whole — though not each syllable in isolation — points to Christ (cf. Luke 24:25, 27, 44; Acts 10:43). The ways in which it does so are very varied (cf. Hebrews 1:1), including types and of course direct prophecies.

How does Proverbs do so?

One way is in overall impact. This book calls us all to be the perfect Sage, right? If we could embody its ideals, we would be the man who fears Yahweh before, above and through all things (1:7; 9:10; 23:17), and so doesn't sin (16:6), holds his temper in perfect check (16:32), always knows when to answer or not answer (26:4-5), and so forth. The perfectly righteous, godly man.

So one finishes and thinks, "Yeah — except it's already too late. I'll never be that man. Even the guy who wrote the book (1:1) wasn't that man (1 Kings 11)! No son of Adam will ever be that man (1 Kings 8:46)!"


But then one reads Isaiah 11, about the one on whom the Spirit of Yahweh (who is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding and counsel and knowledge and the fear of Yahweh) rests, the perfect Man who lives and rules in perfect righteousness. Ah, so that one will embody the ideal of this book!

Then we ask, Nice for Him, but how does that help me? Then we read Isaiah 53, and we understand.

Proverbs points to Jesus at least in this: by framing the ideal godly, righteous Sage who is what no mere mortal can be, thus creating a mold that can be filled only by Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God incarnate (cf. Matthew 23:34//Luke 11:49; 1 Corinthians 1:24, 30; Colossians 2:2-3).

For more, see the Epilogue and Appendix Four of God's Wisdom in Proverbs, available on sale at Logos, at WTS, at Amazon, and 50% off from the publisher.

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6 comments:

Mark Kendrick said...

Amen. Thank you brother.

Ben Laakso said...

Yes, thank you. I've always felt like I want to be that ideal man and to hit those ideal goals but never can attain any of it. Often feel like I'm the fool, not the wise man.

Terry Rayburn said...

1. Though we can't be "the perfect man", when we walk by the Spirit, we DESIRE wisdom. That's just the way it is.

If we DESIRE wisdom, we then have a great compact source for that wisdom that we can go to to quench that desire -- Proverbs.

2. Additionally, when we walk by the Spirit, through Him we will be better able to apply that wisdom (Gal. 2:20).

3. Still, even when we may not be walking by the Spirit for a few minutes, or an hour, or a day, or a month (speaking theoretically), if we have just enough DISCIPLINE ("habit" helps here) to read and meditate on Proverbs, our minds will be at least that much renewed, and we will likely be more desirous of walking by the Spirit.

It's cyclical and spirally (that is, tends to spiral up -- yippee -- or down -- boo-o-o), is it not?

If we ADMIT that it's cyclical and spirally (as opposed to totally "progressive"), then we are more equipped to engage in that which causes up-cycling and up-spiraling (like the Word of God and Prayer, assembling together, etc.).

Andrea said...

This is an excellent synopsis of how Proverbs as a whole (in conjunction with the prophecies of Isaiah) directs us to Christ. What I enjoyed about your sermon series on the subject was that you were able to show how each small section (even down to the verse) did the same. And I begin to wonder if every bible verse does the same.

Does it show us God? We haven't been looking for him. Which shows us that we are sinners needing a savior. And look--there He is!

Does it show us righteousness? We have not achieved it. Which shows us that we are sinners needing a savior. And look--there He is!

Does it show us wickedness? The Holy Spirit can convict us that our hearts hold more of the same. Which shows us that we are sinners needing a savior. And look-- there He is!

Does it show us blessing? We have not deserved them. Suffering? To the degree that we have not specifically earned it, we have not recognized its purpose and wholly submitted to God under it. Hell? It is our lawful destination. Heaven? It is unreachable without Christ.

And perhaps not only scripture, but our experiences (viewed through the lens of scripture and wisely interpreted thereby) are similarly instructive. God's whole world, bringing glory to him and by his grace, knocking some sense into us.

And all this from considering with the sage that the fear of YHWH is the beginning of wisdom. Thank you.

Michael said...

This post shows us the larger context of all of Dan's insightful sermons in his series on Proverbs. I am learning so much from them and they have helped deepen my faith in the truth and wisdom of the whole Bible.

DJP said...

Thanks all.

New readers: here is the sermon series in Proverbs they're talking about.