Brighter and Brighter Until Full Day
March 11, 2018
Your dive suit is a tight fit and takes you some time to put on. Finally you slip from the airlock of the Seeker and stand on the ocean floor. It is a strange and marvelous world where your every move is slowed down. You begin the exploration with your halogen searchlight. The ledge hanging over the deep canyon is your starting point.
A strange feeling overcomes you, part warning, part terror. Then you see it. The Seeker is in the grips of a huge sea monster. It is similar to a squid, but it is emormous. The Seeker is just a toy in its long, powerful tentacles. You seek shelter behind a rock formation knowing the spear gun you carry will be useless against this monster. It looks as though it will destroy the Seeker. Fish of all sizes huddle with you in an attempt to escape the monster.
If you stay hidden close to the Seeker, turn to page 10.
If you try to escape in the hope that rescuers will see you, turn to page 12.
When I was a boy, there was a series of books made popular in the 80s and 90s that had a lasting impression on me. The series was called Choose Your Own Adventure. And their books - while perhaps old school now - were so cool and so much fun to read back then. Every time you picked up a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you would turn the pages as the main character of the story and make choices along the way that could alter your character’s destiny. If you choose to do this, then turn to this page. If you choose to do that, then turn to that page. Some times you would reach a good ending. And other times, you would not. But no matter what happened, your adventure was yours to choose.
We have been going through the beginning of the book of Proverbs. And in it, we see a father speaking to his son about wisdom and how to be a good king for Israel. Last week, we looked at how the wisdom of God is a heritage or a legacy of the family. But this week, we see that the wisdom of God is a choice or a path of the individual. The endings of our stories do not just come down to what we inherit. They also come down to what we intend. The drama of the moment here in Proverbs 4 should not be lost on us. What path that you take determines the outcome of your life. What way that you walk decides the ending of your story. Here in Proverbs 4:10-19, the father tells the son that there are two paths in life. Two ways to live. And the son had to choose one or the other.
The first is the path of uprightness and the way of wisdom. This is a life that is filled with light. It is encouraged by the father. And if the son walks in this manner, then he will not stumble.
The second is the path of the wicked and the way of the evil. This is a life that is filled with darkness. It is not encouraged by the father. And if the son walks in this manner, then he will stumble.
Stumbling in the Bible is a terrible and horrifying thing. It involves sin and death. It is connected to calamity and judgment. It represents shame and failure. It entails suffering and uncertainty.
But the son could avoid all of this and choose to go the way of righteousness and life. The way of triumph and glorification. The way of honor and perfection. The way of joy and certainty.
Verses 18 and 19 are where the two ways, the two paths, the two choices, the two stories end.
If the king of Israel feared the Lord and obeyed God’s law, if he was perfect in righteousness and wisdom, then he would dawn on Israel like the morning light. He would shine forth like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning. His path would, in the words of verse 18, be like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. In the spirit of the Choose Your Own Adventure series: My son, if you avoid the way of the wicked, then turn to verse 18.
But if the king of Israel did not fear the Lord and disobeyed God’s law, if he was not perfect in righteousness and wisdom, then he would fade away on Israel like the setting of the sun. He would stumble and he would not shine. His path would, in the words of verse 19, be like deep darkness. In the spirit of the Choose Your Own Adventure series: My son, if you do not avoid the way of the wicked, then turn to verse 19.
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! He is the eschatological Son of the heavenly Father who turned the page of redemptive history and brought the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not enter the path of the wicked. He did not walk in the way of the evil. He never sinned. He did not fail where Adam or David or Solomon failed. Instead, our Lord Jesus Christ entered the path of uprightness. He walked in the way of wisdom. He was perfectly righteousness. He succeeded where Adam and David and Solomon failed.
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Because of who he is and what he did for us, the Bible makes it clear that believers need a good pair of sunglasses. Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12). In Jesus was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). Jesus is the bright morning star (Revelation 22:16).
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In Matthew 4, the writer recounts the words of the prophet Isaiah, who said: “…the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! It is no coincidence that those who camped on the east side of the tabernacle in the Old Testament was noted as being “toward the sunrise.” And it is no coincidence that Christ was resurrected by early dawn on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:1).
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that we may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In 2 Peter 1:19, the writer tells the church that she would do well to wait for the return of the Lord as like a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in our hearts. And we wait in the spirit of Psalm 130:6, where the psalmist writes, “…my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! In Revelation 21 and 22, we are told that the heavenly city of the New Jerusalem will have no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Now we who are in Christ walk as pilgrims and sojourners in the light. We walk in Christ. We keep hold of instruction and we do not let go. We guard wisdom. We hear and accept the word of the Lord. We also avoid sin. We do not go on its path. We turn away from it and pass on. We do not stay up through the night in order to satisfy a hunger or thirst for evil. We do not eat and drink wickedness and violence. Our food is to do the will of God.
Brothers and sisters, you have a choice to make.
If you refuse the call of wisdom and the gospel of Christ, turn to verse 19. That will be the ending of your story. You will go the way of the wicked. You will stumble. You will descend into deep darkness. And that will be your choice.
But if you are in Christ Jesus, then turn to verse 18. That will be the ending of your story. You will go the way of the righteous. You will shine. You will see the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. And that will be your choice.
So, what will it be? Verse 19? Or verse 18? Choose your own adventure. Choose his adventure.
Summary of Sermon
Here in Proverbs 4, the father continues to tell his son about wisdom and about how to be a good king for Israel. Last week, we looked at how the wisdom of God is very much a heritage or a legacy of the family. But this week, we see that the wisdom of God is also a choice or a path of the individual.
And the son must choose between two ways to live. The first is the path of wisdom and a life that is filled with light. The second is the path of evil and a life that is filled with darkness.
If the son were to choose rightly, then he would not stumble. If the son choose wisdom, then his path would be like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
Praise be to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! For he is the eschatological Son of the heavenly Father who secured the glory of verse 18 for us.
Thus, for who he is and for what he has done for us, the Bible properly describes Christ as the light of the world and the bright morning star who dawns on his kingdom and his people with resurrection power and glory.
Now we wait as watchmen for the morning of his return. And in the New Jerusalem, we will have no need of sun or moon to shine on it. For the glory of God will give it light, and its lamp will be the Lamb. And night will be no more.
Now we choose likewise in Christ what he chose. Choose his adventure. And turn your page to verse 18.
Questions for Discussion & Sharing
The wisdom of God is very much a choice or a path of the individual. What choices have you made in the past that were good? What choices were bad? What new choices would you like to make today in light of the grace and knowledge of Christ?
Read Revelation 21:1- 22:5. What do you imagine the new heavens and the new earth will be like - a time and a place filled with the glory of God, a time and a place in which night will be no more?