I Was There

Proverbs 8:22-36
June 24, 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. And here in the eighth chapter, the father steps aside and lets wisdom speak for herself.

Wisdom calls out to the son. And she tells him why he should choose her. She speaks what is noble and true. She hates evil. She is better than silver or gold. Kings reign justly because of her. She loves those who love her back. Her reward is an inheritance of honor and righteousness that fills the greatest of treasuries.

These are all wonderful reasons for the son to choose wisdom. But in today’s reading of Scripture, in verses 22-36, the personification of wisdom shares one more wonderful reason - one final reason for the son to choose her. And it is one of the most mind-blowing things in all of Scripture:

Wisdom was there in creation. When God made the heavens and the earth, she was there.

The Lord possessed her before he created all things. Before the depths came to existence, before the mountains were shaped, before the fields or the earth or the first of the dust, before all of that, she was there. The Lord also possessed her as he created all things. When he established the heavens, when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit so that the waters might not transgress his command, she was there. Wisdom was there.

Being there is pretty important. And if you don’t think so, then just ask Job. At a certain point in his life, Job argued with God. He found fault in his Creator. He contended with his King. And he did all of this with his own wisdom. But the Lord answered Job and said these words to him: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”

Wow. Job was not there. You and I were not there. But wisdom was there. She was there when God created the heavens and the earth. And the son of Proverbs needed to know this.

But why? Why did he need to know that she was there? The answer is simple. He need to know that God’s wisdom is awesome. With his wisdom, God created everything. And when you look at everything that God created, you see that God’s wisdom is like no one else’s wisdom. You see that God’s wisdom has no equal.

And you ought to bless the Lord and confess how great he is. For he is clothed with splendor and majesty, covering himself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. / He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. / You make springs gush forth in the valleys; they flow between the hills; they give drink to every beast of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. / You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart. / The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers. / He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting. You make darkness, and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep about. The young lions roar for their prey, seeking their food from God. When the sun rises, they steal away and lie down in their dens. Man goes out to his work and to his labor until the evening. / O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all…. / May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 104:1-24, 31-35)

The son of Proverbs should have heard this wonderful truth about the wisdom of God and chosen it. He should have been wowed by the personification of wisdom and chosen her to be his wonderful wife. She would be a wife of nobility and rank, having been there with the Lord before all other things. She would be a wife of competence and ability, having been beside the Lord like a master workman. She would be a wife of celebration and joy, having rejoiced before the Lord and delighting in the children of man. This is a woman of great worth. This is a woman that the son should not pass by. The forbidden woman is deceitful, and a world that is temporary is vain, but a woman who is like this is to be praised.

The son of Proverbs should have chosen wisdom. And, thankfully, the ultimate and eschatological Son of God did just that.

Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ! He kept the ways of wisdom and did not neglect it. He watched daily at the gates. He waited beside the doors. He read Proverbs. He obtained favor. He was therefore blessed. And he gives his blessedness to us. Because of his perfect righteousness and obedience to the law - because of his perfect wisdom - we are blessed with salvation.

Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Creator who possessed wisdom when he made all things. Jesus shaped the mountains. Jesus assigned to the sea its limit. And the only reason why wisdom was there because Jesus was there. The personification of Lady Wisdom is nice, but the poetic personification that we meet figuratively in our imaginations must now give way to the perfect person that we will meet literally face to face in the world that is to come. Because wisdom is simply a fundamental characteristic or attribute of our Lord Jesus Christ. And Christ made everything with his perfect and holy and awesome wisdom.

Praise be to our Lord Jesus Christ! He makes us a new creation with the same wisdom that he possessed when he created the heavens and the earth. This is amazing. In the spirit of Proverbs 8:22-26 and Ephesians 1:4, before the depths came to existence, before the mountains were shaped, before the fields of the earth or the first of the dust, Jesus chose you and loved you (We were chosen in Christ before the foudnation of the world). In the spirit of Proverbs 8:30 and Ephesians 2:10, you are his master workmanship (For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them). In the spirit of Proverbs 8:30-31 and Hebrews 12:2, our Lord Jesus Christ endured the cross… for the joy and the delight and the rejoicing that was set before him (Jesus is the founder and perfect of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God). In the spirit of Proverbs 8:31 and John 1:12, Jesus delighted in giving you the right to become children of God (But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God….). And finally, in the spirit of all of today’s Scripture text and 2 Corinthians 5:17, Jesus makes us a new creation. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation - the old has passed away; behold, the new has come. Brothers and sisters, the same Lord who wisely and powerfully and joyfully and gloriously created the world in the beginning is the same Lord who wisely and powerfully and joyfully and gloriously sanctifies you and prepares you for the world that is to come.

“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.” (Romans 11:33-36)

To all the brothers and sisters here who may not yet be brothers and sisters, I ask you to answer the call of Jesus Christ. The Lord calls you today. He invites you to have him and have life everlasting. May you answer his gospel call with repentance and faith. May you speak like Job did at the end, when he confessed to his Maker: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. / Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. / I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)

To all the brothers and sisters here who are concerned about their spiritual growth, I ask you to marvel at the fact that you are a new creation, and that Jesus takes care of your sanctification. He is making you new again. Not you. He is sanctifying you. He is changing you. He is at war against the presence of sin in you. He is conforming you to his image. And he is going all of this with his wisdom. Thus we read his Bible and receiving his preaching and teaching and discipline. Thus we administer his baptism and his Lord’s Supper. Brothers and sisters, let us marvel at this. Our spiritual growth is not glamorous. But it is glorious. For Jesus’ work in our lives is nothing less than a new creation.

To all the brothers and sisters here who are going through a trial or a testing of faith in life right now, I ask you to trust in Jesus. His wisdom is better than anyone else’s wisdom. His wisdom is way better than yours. So if someone we love dies too soon or if disaster hits our homes, if persecution comes our way or if you just don’t know what to do, remember that God never makes mistakes. His plans are never foolish. He will never let you go. Therefore, you can and you should trust him with all your heart. Trust in the Lord. Don’t trust in yourself. Were you there? God was there.

To all the brothers and sisters here who thinks that the wisdom of God is boring, I ask you to reconsider and give the fear of the Lord a shot. For the longest time, I thought that eating vegetables was boring, as well as driving at the speed limit, going to bed early, and listening and understanding and not assuming things in life. For the longest time, I thought all of these things were boring. But I’ve reconsidered such things. And now I kind of like eating vegetables and driving at the speed limit and going to bed early and listening and understanding and not assuming things in life. Wisdom was a joyful thing when God created the heavens and the earth. And when Jesus died on the cross, he was not bored. He endured the cross because there was a joy that was set before him. And that joy was a wise joy. That joy was you.

To all the brothers and sisters here who lack wisdom, I ask you to ask God for it. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. Just ask. “God, please give me wisdom to handle the problem that I’m facing at work.” “God, please help me to be wise with people who don’t like my at school.” Ask God for wisdom.

To all the brothers and sisters here who think that the wisdom of the world is better than the wisdom of God, I ask you to consider Paul. Paul didn’t look like a wise man. Religious people thought he was weak and unimpressive. Philosophers thought he was a funny babbler acting like a silly little bird picking up seeds. But listen to what Paul says about the wisdom of God in 1 Corinthians 1:18-31.

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Highland Church, may we boast in the Lord!

End


Summary of Sermon

A father speaks to his son about how to be a good and wise king for Israel. And as he invites his son to have the wisdom of the Lord, he lets wisdom speak for herself.

The personification of wisdom shares one more wonderful and mind-blowing reason for the son to choose her: She was there in creation. The Lord possessed her before he created all things. The Lord possessed her as he created all things. She was there.

The son of Proverbs should have been wowed by the personification of wisdom and chosen her to be his wonderful wife. She would be a wife of nobility and rank, having been there with the Lord before all other things. She would be a wife of competence and ability, having been beside the Lord like a master workman. And she would be a wife of celebration and joy, having rejoiced before the Lord and delighted in the children of man. God's wisdom is awesome.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the ultimate and eschatological Son of Proverbs who not only chooses wisdom - he is the very wisdom of God himself.

Jesus kept the ways of wisdom and obtained favor and blessedness for us.

Jesus was the Creator who possessed wisdom when he made all things.

And now, Jesus in his wisdom makes us a new creation. The same Lord who wisely and powerfully and joyfully and gloriously created the world in the beginning is the same Lord who wisely and powerfully and joyfully and gloriously sanctifies us and prepares us for the world that is to come.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.

Let us answer the call to Jesus. Let us marvel at the fact that we are a new creation, and let us rest assured that Jesus wisely takes care of our sanctification. Let us trust in Jesus because his wisdom is better than any other wisdom. Let us find joy in wisdom. Let us ask God for wisdom. Let us boast in Christ and in the wisdom of his gospel.

Questions for Discussion & Sharing

The personification of wisdom was there when the Lord created the heavens and the earth. How does this make the wisdom of God special? It what ways might this change the way that you perceive or approach the wisdom of Christ?

Jesus wisely, powerfully, joyfully and gloriously makes us a new creation. He wisely sanctifies us and prepares us for the world that is to come. How might this good news provide comfort for us as we struggle with sin and as we wait for the Day of the Lord?

In what ways is the wisdom of God better than the wisdom of the world?

The wisdom of the Lord is joyous. Do we view wisdom in this way? In what ways is the wisdom of God far from being a boring or worthless endeavor?

We lack the wisdom of the Lord in so many ways. Take time to share your areas of lack. And in the spirit of James 1:5, spend time in prayer asking God for his wisdom as we wait for the return of Christ.