Christ Our King

Proverbs 8:12-21
June 17, 2018
Abraham Hong

 

In the opening chapters of the book of Proverbs, a father speaks to his son about how to be a good and wise king for Israel. The father speaks with love and care. Over and over again, his address and appeal is simply, “My son…. My son…. My son.” And in today’s Scripture text, the father personifies wisdom as a true and excellent wife for his son. The father lets wisdom speak for herself. And this is what she says.

She says that she hates evil. She says that kings reign when they have her. She says that her fruit and yield is better than gold and silver. She says that she loves those who love her.

What a remarkable description of wisdom. And what a wonderful calling for the son.

“My king is strong and mighty. What about your king?”

“My king hates evil and fears the Lord.”

“My king commands a powerful army. What about your king?”

“My king governs justly and walks in the way of righteousness.”

“My king has unlimited gold and silver in his treasuries. What about your king?”

“My king has riches and honor and wealth and righteousness far better than the finest of gold and the choicest of silver.”

“My king is the greatest king who ever lived. What about your king?”

“My king loves wisdom. And he reads a book all the days of his life.”

Brothers and sisters, this is the drama and meaning of Proverbs. A father speaks to his son about how to be a good and wise king for Israel.

The son must hate evil and pride and arrogance and perverted speech. But he must not just hate it with regard to people around him. He must also hate it with regard to himself. He must hate sin with all his heart, soul, strength and mind. And with all his heart, soul, strength and mind he must fear the Lord.

The son must have wisdom in order to reign. Only then can he decree what is just and govern justly. Only then can he walk in the way of righteousness.

The son must say no to the world that is and say yes to the world that is to come. He must know what is better. He must not forfeit honor or righteousness for silver or gold.

The son must love wisdom. And if he loves wisdom, then wisdom will love him back.

One night, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matthew 2:13-15)

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. When he was twelve years old, he was found in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. He increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:39-52)

The child became a man, and so many years later, he came to John to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But the man answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when the man was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)

This child who became a man was the ultimate Son and the eschatological king of Proverbs. And his name was and is and always will be Jesus Christ. Jesus has perfect wisdom. The personification of Lady Wisdom is no longer necessary, because Jesus is the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24, 30). All the angels therefore declare, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:12).

Our king hates evil. When the devil tempted him in the wilderness, our king did not sin. He had no pride or arrogance or perverted speech. Our king reigns with righteousness and justice. He covers those who repent and believe in him with his righteousness. And when he returns, he will have his vengeance on the wicked and bring perfect and final justice on them. Our king loves wisdom. He is the ultimate singer of the psalms. In Psalm 119, it is our king who cries out, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day.” Our king has an inheritance and a treasure in heaven that is worth more than silver or gold.

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ! He is the one who the prophet Isaiah looked forward to, when he wrote: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins” (Isaiah 11:1-5). Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

Brothers and sisters, if Jesus has perfect wisdom and righteousness, then you can trust him. You can trust him for the first time if you’re not yet a believer. And if you already are a believer, you can trust him more and more. You can trust the King.

Brothers and sisters, if Jesus has perfect wisdom and righteousness, then let us ask him for wisdom as we wait for his return. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him (James 1:5). The invitation is there for you. Christ calls. You can RSVP. You can ask the King.

Brothers and sisters, if Jesus has perfect wisdom and righteousness, then let us marvel at how he runs the church. I was at our denomination’s general assembly last week. And it was sincerely amazing to see the wisdom of Christ and his good government at work in his church - his ministry of word and sacrament, his means of grace, his elders and deacons, his discipline and order, his love and care. Jesus is the head of the church. And his rule and wisdom is perfect. So, look at our denomination. Look at our local church. Look at the book of Acts. Let us marvel at the government of the King.

Brothers and sisters, if Jesus hates evil, then let us hate evil with him. If Jesus loves wisdom, then let us love wisdom as well. We may not be kings or queens on this earth. But we do have to take care of things. May you hate evil and love wisdom at home and at work. May you hate evil and love wisdom at school and with your family and friends. This is what it means to fear the Lord. A true Christian hates evil and loves wisdom. Let us hate what our King hates and love what our King loves.

Today is Father’s Day. It is a day for celebrating our fathers. And one big thing to celebrate is the wisdom that we receive from them. This Lord’s Day, we see a father invite his son to a perfect wisdom. And we have it. We have Jesus. Happy Lord’s Day, Highland Church!

End


Summary of Sermon

A father speaks to his son about how to be a good and wise king for Israel. And as his address and appeal is marked by the loving and caring words “My son,” he lets wisdom personified speak for herself.

She says that she hates evil. She says that kings reign when they have her. She says that her fruit and yield is better than gold and silver. She says that she loves those who love her.

What a remarkable description of wisdom! And what a wonderful calling for the son.

The son must hate evil. He must reign with wisdom for the sake of justice and righteousness. He must know that wisdom is better than silver or gold. He must love wisdom.

Jesus is the ultimate and eschatological Son of Proverbs. His stay in Egypt until the death of Herod was a fulfillment of the prophecy: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” His baptism was followed with the words of the Father: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus the Son of God grew in wisdom and had perfect wisdom and righteousness. He is the wisdom of God.

Praise the Lord!

If Jesus has perfect wisdom, then we can trust him. We can ask him for his wisdom. We should marvel at how he designed and runs his church. We must hate evil with him. We must love wisdom as he loves wisdom.

Questions for Discussion & Sharing

It is one thing to have wisdom (many people do). It is another thing to have perfect wisdom (none but Jesus). Consider just how amazing it is that our Lord and Savior has perfect, complete and sinless wisdom. And consider just how hard it is for us to be even just a little bit wise.

The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. What could the hatred of evil look like in our lives - with regard to this world that we live in, and with regard to our own personal struggles with sin?

Jesus has perfect wisdom. In what ways does this fact increase your trust in him? In what ways does this fact help you to marvel at his government in his church?

We may not be kings or queens on this earth. But we do have to exercise biblical wisdom as we take care of things in this life. In what ways can you grow in wisdom at home or at work? In what ways can you grow in wisdom at school or with your family and friends?

In the spirit of James 1:5-6, take some time to pray and ask God for wisdom. The invitation is there for you. Christ our King calls.