Erap Moc Nac Erised Uoygn Iht On
February 18, 2018
In the beginning of his rule as king of Israel, Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom. And the Lord granted his request. Solomon had wisdom and understanding beyond measure. His people were happy. And there was justice and peace and wealth and renown in the land.
But all of that came undone. For Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow God. He had many wives from foreign countries. They turned away his heart after other gods. And Solomon made offerings and sacrifices to them.
Solomon’s wisdom was not an ultimate wisdom. His fear of the Lord was not perfect. His discernment and obedience for God’s commandments were not absolute. His covenant keeping was not finished. His love was not whole. And so Solomon lost the throne.
But someone greater than Solomon has arrived. For there is a king who has perfect wisdom and perfect righteousness. A king who is without sin. A king who has laid hold of the tree of life. The name of this king is Jesus Christ. He has finished the work of salvation through his life and death and resurrection and ascension. And one day he will return in power and glory and establish a kingdom that shall never end.
Brothers and sisters, we belong to his kingdom. And we look forward to it. It will be a kingdom of matchless happiness and peace and renown. It is a kingdom built not by brick for stone and bitumen for mortar. It is a kingdom built by the wisdom of Jesus’ sacrifical blood. It is a kingdom built by the righteousness of Jesus’ humble obedience. Solomon built so many glorious things in his day. But he could never build salvation. No one could do that. No one except our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Brothers and sisters, we are blessed in Christ. Jesus earned all the blessings found here in Proverbs 3. And we who are saved by him and found in him are blessed because of him. Jesus’ blessedness is now our blessedness. Jesus’ gain and honor is now our gain and honor. Jesus’ way of pleasantness and path of peace will soon be our way of pleasantness and is our path of peace. Jesus’ tree of life will soon be our tree of life. Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.
Therefore, since we are blessed in Christ and since we belong to his kingdom, let us be wise. The Holy Spirit is conforming us to the image of Christ. In other words, we are becoming like Jesus. So let us love the law as he loved the law. Let us delight in God’s commands as he delighted in God’s commands. Let us do this, not in order to go to heaven, but because we are already going to heaven. Let us do this with joy and thankfulness because God loves us so.
First, let us know the supreme value of wisdom. The father of Proverbs 3 speaks to his son and describes wisdom as more valuable than silver or gold or precious jewels. This is true. And I want you to truly believe this. Consider the value of all the money and all the possessions that you have right now. Whether your net worth is small or big, I tell you the truth, it is not more valuable than wisdom. There is more profit and gain in holiness and righteousness and wisdom than in the billions and billions of dollars that Apple has saved up in its bank accounts.
Wisdom is life-changing math. Just ask Zacchaeus, who in one day arguably and mathematically forfeited all of his gold and silver and lost everything. Any accountant of the world will tell you that Zacchaeus was a fool that day. But any angel of the heavens will tell you that Zacchaeus was not a fool that day. For Zacchaeus found wisdom. He realized his sin. He laid hold of Christ. He bowed down to the true king. And in doing so, he received the ultimate spiritual blessing of being right with God and having forgiveness and eternal life and a promised place in the kingdom of God. Nothing that Zacchaeus desired could compare with the wisdom of Jesus Christ.
In the fictional world of Harry Potter, there is a magical artifact called the Mirror of Erised. Erised, as many of you may know, is the word desire spelled backwards. If you were to look at it, you would see the deepest, most desperate desire of your heart. But if you were truly happy, you would just see yourself, exactly as you were. When Harry Potter looked into the Mirror of Erised, he saw his parents who died when he was an infant. And Harry Potter held fast to the wish and the yearning for something impossible: the return of his parents.
Brothers and sisters, what do you desire? If you were to leap into the fictional world of Harry Potter and gaze into the Mirror of Erised, what would you see? What do you hold fast to in your life? I know that wisdom may at first seem like a boring thing to desire. But nothing you desire can compare with Christ and his wisdom. And if you were to look in the Mirror of Sbrevorp with the desire for wisdom, then you would be able to see yourself, exactly as you are.
Second, let us be in awe of how we are a new creation in Christ and in his wisdom. The Father of Proverbs 3 speaks to his son and briefly mentions an amazing truth about the beginning of creation. God created the heavens and the earth with wisdom and understanding and knowledge. Verses 19-20 read, “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.” God created the heavens and the earth with wisdom.
This is mind-blowing. When a painting is done with amazing creativity, that painting itself displays the amazing creativity that was put into it. Since God created all things with his wisdom and understanding and knowledge, it means that all things display his wisdom and understanding and knowledge. And when you take a look at God’s creation, you see that God’s wisdom is like no other. This is what the father wants the son to see. God’s wisdom in creation has no equal. Think about this and think carefully. Who could have come up with the idea of space and time? Only our wise God. Who would have come up with the idea of plants and seeds? Only our wise God. Who could have come up with the idea of making man, male and female, in God’s image? Only our wise God. Who would have come up with the idea of a seventh day and resting on it and blessing it and making it holy? Only our wise God.
We read Genesis too haphazardly and think that everything that God did in the space of six days plus a seventh was all obvious. We fail to realize that the creation account in the beginning of the book of Genesis is absolutely stunning. Because the wisdom of God is absolutely stunning.
And God’s absolutely stunning wisdom is even more so when we consider how God saves us and makes us a new creation. Think about this and think carefully. Who could have come up with the idea that salvation would belong to God? Only our wise God. Who would have come up with the idea of the mystery of incarnation? Only our wise God. Who could have come up with the idea of substitutionary atonement or resurrection after death? Only our wise God. Who could have come up with the idea of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit or the ministry of Word and Sacrament? Only our wise God.
We read the gospel of Christ too haphazardly and think that who Jesus is and what he did for us is all obvious. We fail to realize that we who are a new creation in Christ Jesus is absolutely stunning.
When a painting is done with amazing creativity, that painting itself displays the amazing creativity that was put into it. Since God made you a new creation with his wisdom and understanding and knowledge, it means that your salvation displays his wisdom and understanding and knowledge. And when you take a look at God’s salvation, you see that God’s wisdom is like no other. This is what I want you to see. God’s wisdom in salvation has no equal.
We therefore join with Paul and his words at the end of the first part of the book of Romans, the part that is all about the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. He writes, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
Third, let us not be afraid. The Father of Proverbs 3 speaks to his son and offers him words of wonderful comfort. And in Christ Jesus, who has fulfilled the entire book of Proverbs, we are promised that we will walk securely and that our feet will not stumble as we wander on this old and fading earth and wait for the return of Christ. We are promised that our final sleep will be sweet. We are promised that the Lord will be our confidence. We are promised life for our souls.
We need to hear this. And we need to believe this. Seventeen people died in a school shooting in Florida last week. Sudden terror does exist in this world. Elderly men and women are at risk of falling down and severely hurting themselves. The feet of many do stumble. Bad people do bad things. The wicked do bring ruin. Our parents will one day be laid to rest. They will lie down, and they will go to sleep. All of these things can make us afraid.
But do not be afraid. Because we have a king who is the most powerful and the most mighty above all. We have a king who brings his own holy and righteous terror to all the terrors of the world. Do not be afraid. Because we have a king who has made straight our paths. We have a king who helps us to run and not grown weary, to walk and not faint. Do not be afraid. Because we have a king who protects us from all accusations from the evil one and covers us with his righteousness and bestows us with the armor of God. We have a king in whom we can have confidence.
Do not be afraid. Because we have a king who once said to his disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him,” and who once said to a grieving sister, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
The first man and king Adam became a living being. But the last Adam and the ultimate king became a life-giving spirit. And now we have a king who is the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep, a king who will destroy every rule and every authority and power, a king who will put all his enemies under his feet, a king who has laid hold of the tree of life, a king who will bring to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Solomon with all of his wisdom and power and glory was nothing compared to Jesus Christ. And nothing you desire can compare with Jesus Christ. Be wise and hold fast to the Lord, for the Lord is wise… and he holds fast to you.
Summary of Sermon
Solomon had wisdom and understanding beyond measure. But someone greater than Solomon has arrived.
We are blessed in Christ and we belong to his kingdom. Let us therefore be wise in him.
Let us know the supreme value of wisdom. Wisdom is precious and life-changing. Nothing that you desire can compare with Christ and his wisdom.
Let us be in awe of how we are a new creation in Christ and in his wisdom. God's wisdom in creation is like no other. And God's wisdom in his gracious salvation for us is stunning.
Let us not be afraid. We can be afraid of many things in life. But we have a king who guides us, protects us and gives us victory over sin and death.
Let us praise the Lord and be wise and hold fast to him. The Lord Jesus Christ holds fast to us.
Questions for Discussion & Sharing
Imagine that you looked into a mirror like that of the Mirror of Erised. What would you see? What are the desires of your heart?
How valuable is the wisdom of God to you?
What part or element of God's salvation in Christ Jesus is awesome and stunning to you? (Forgiveness, Christ's Sacrificial Death, Sanctification, Love, Incarnation, Peace with God, Adoption, Election, Christ's Righteousness, Regeneration by the Holy Spirit, the New Heavens and New Earth, Resurrection, etc.)
What things make you afraid? How can the wisdom of God help us to deal with our fears?