Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Proverbs Sermon


Here is the (an edited version) sermon i preached at the Grand Forks Gospel Chapel, I hope it can bless you in some way, I know that Gad used me in various ways that morning and im thankful to preach from His word and give all the credit to Him since He helped me!

So as we go through the O.T. books it is important to keep these passages in mind:

2 Timothy 3:16-17:

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

1 Corinthians 10:11:

“Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.”

Luke 24:27, 44:

“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He (Christ) explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself. He said to them, “this is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”


A proverb is often a short, compact statement that express’ truths about human behavior. It is often used in similes or metaphors, which can make it more powerful and vivid.

The Fear of the Lord is mentioned 16 times, (1:7, 1:29, 2:5, 3:7, 8:13, 9:10, 10:27, 14:2, 14:26, 14:27, 16:6, 19:23, 22:4, 23:17, 24:21, 31:30) within the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs give wisdom for: relationships, parenting, time management, prudence, limits, humility, money, learning to listen. (To just name a few).


The Primary Author of Proverbs was King Solomon son of David and Bathsheba.

Along with Proverbs, Song of Songs (which I am not allowed to read until I am married) and Ecclesiastes can also be attributed to Solomon. It is also possible that Solomon wrote a couple of the Psalms as well. (72 and 127).

We know that Solomon must have been the primary author because the Bible says so:

Proverbs 1:1 “The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel”
Proverbs 10:1 “The proverbs of Solomon”
Proverbs 25:1 “These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah”

Solomon was mentioned many times throughout the Old Testament and we learn a lot about him within the book of 1 Kings.

1 Kings 4:29-34 “29 God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom was greater than the wisdom of all the men of the East, and greater than all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 He was wiser than any other man, including Ethan the Ezrahite—wiser than Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol. And his fame spread to all the surrounding nations. 32 He spoke three thousand proverbs and his songs numbered a thousand and five. 33 He described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. 34 Men of all nations came to listen to Solomon's wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom.”

Let me remind you that Solomon was not the sole author of Proverbs. A few more names pop up within the book of Proverbs. In chapter 22:17 and 24:23 The titles read “sayings of the wise” Chapter 30 is attributed to Agur son of Jakeh and finally 31:1-9 to King Lemuel who is not mentioned anywhere else in the O.T. and many would agree was a non-Israelite king. Also chapters 25-29 are Solomon’s proverbs collected by Hezekiah.


Because Proverbs is a collection of writings from various authors there is a wide range of dates of when certain proverbs were written and when they were all collected to make the book of proverbs. I would suggest that the book of Proverbs was finalized around the fifth century B.C.


1-9 The superiority of wisdom
10-21 Main collection of Solomon’s Proverbs
22-24 Sayings of the wise
25-29 Hezekiah’s collection of Solomon’s Proverbs
30 Sayings of Agur
31:1-9 Sayings of King Lemuel
31:10-31 The ideal wife


The ingredients for living a full life is rooted in the fear of the LORD.


To have fear in the LORD is wisdom and leads to known positive effects and to defy it leads only to unhappy consequences.


1:1-7 “1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2 for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; 3 for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; 4 for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young-5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance-6 for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”

3:5, 6 “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.


1. Wise vs. The Fool

There are countless examples of what is in store for the wise and what is in store for the fool.

2. Woman Wisdom vs. The Adulterous Woman

There are many verses within Proverbs that depict wisdom as a female,

3:13-15 “13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 14 for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.15 She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”

Which is the exact opposite of the adulteress women talked about in

5:3-6, “3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. 6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
Her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.”

3. World Wisdom vs. Biblical Wisdom.

There is a lot of so-called wisdom out in our world today. We are told how to be wise by so many different things in our culture. However if you truly want to be wise and live life to the full, the Bible and certainly the book of Proverbs will show you how to do just that!


Prov 25:20 “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”

Prov 29:6 “An evil man is snared by his own sin, but a righteous one can sing and be glad.


Though Christ is not specifically mentioned in the book of Proverbs I would argue that there are connections to HIM within the book of Proverbs.

The first one is the example of wisdom Jesus was. He applied the book of Proverbs directly to his life and teachings.

Mk 1:21-22, “21They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.

Mk 6:2, “2When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.”

The Greek word translated as "parable" (parabole) in the New Testament is a translation of the Hebrew word for "proverb" (masal). In other words, Jesus was a teacher of wisdom.

Proverbs 8 is a chapter that would appear to talk about Christ and or Wisdom. The arguments can go either way. Some verses within this chapter seem to speak clearly that this is in fact Christ,

8:27, 34, and 35 “27 I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep. 34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. 35 For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the LORD.”

This clearly sounds like Christ

However other verses make it a challenge to say this is Christ,

8:22, 24 “22 "The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old 24 When there were no oceans, I was given birth, when there were no springs abounding with water.”

This passage seems to imply that wisdom being spoken of is part of the creation and, of course, Jesus is not a created being.

I personally would not be quick to say that Proverbs 8 is talking strictly about Christ, however many who are far wiser than I would disagree with me, I’ll let you be the judge. Either way it is important to note that there is Christ like qualities within this chapter.

I think one of the most helpful passages on Christ and Proverbs was actually written by Paul in Col 2:2-3 which says

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

“To say that the crucified Christ is the Wisdom of God is to say that he is the key to the meaning of the whole of the created order, and therefore the source of true wisdom, wherever that is to be found”-Colin Gunton

I would say in conclusion on the matter of Christ in Proverbs, is that the wise man chooses Jesus and his gospel whereas the fool chooses the empty idolatry and folly of this world.


1. God does not call us to be lazy.

Proverbs talks a lot about being lazy and the outcomes for that. It can be very easy to be lazy in our culture. In the world we live in I can communicate with people all over the world or right in town without leaving my room. Never have we had so much access to communication and technology. This I believe has created a problem of laziness. We spend time together in front of TV’s, we talk through texting and emails, and we spend countless hours playing computer and video games. If ever there was a temptation to be lazy it is now. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of good in technology, I just think we need to watch how much time we invest in technology vs. how much time we invest in others!

2. God calls us away from adultery and toward wisdom

Something that I have spoken on many times back at Briercrest is sexual purity. Proverbs clearly states that sexual impurity leads to death and destruction! There is nothing good for us there. Lust and pornography is taking us by storm and is killing Godly men and women. God says right in Proverbs what results in these actions and tells us there is something far better for us all.

3. Life is a challenge

Lets face it, life is hard. Talk to anyone who has ever lost a loved one, has ever dealt with addictions, or who can’t afford things like food and a roof over their head! Life isn’t easy. However there is hope in wisdom, and true wisdom is Christ! Wisdom is the fear of the Lord, if you didn’t catch it the first few times. Proverbs, helps us navigate through this thing we call life. Wisdom is the journey of the well-lived life, navigating successfully in God’s Creation.

N.T. Wright says, “Learning to navigate this world wisely, and to grow toward complete and mature human life in and through it all, is the challenge we all face.”-N.T. Wright

4. Fearing the Lord is essential when living a life for Christ.

If we want to be effective in the work that God has for us on earth we need to know what it means to fear the Lord. I would say that this has been lost in our culture. It can be so easy when we live in comfort to not know what the fear of the Lord truly means. Is God our friend? Yes! But he is so much more than that, I think we have leaned too far to one side and we have lost what it truly means to fear God, and according to Proverbs, the fear of the Lord is ESSENTIAL!

Our lives should be lived in awareness of the LORD of creation and in reliance on his generous providence.

-bent ;)

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