RSVP

Proverbs 8:1-11
June 10, 2018
Abraham Hong

 

It is nice to be invited to things. And it is quite nice to receive an official invitation that officially asks for a response.

Perhaps you’ve gotten a few in your life. An invitation to a beautiful wedding, or a friend’s birthday party, or any special and meaningful occasion. You get that clean and crisp envelope. You open it up. And there’s your name. It’s an invitation just for you.

And it asks you to respond, leaving you with the most important decision of your life at that moment. So and so request the honor of your presence. The favor of your reply is requested by such and such a date. Will you attend? Yes, I accept with pleasure! No, I decline with regret. Yes, I wouldn’t miss it for the world! No, I will celebrate from afar. Yes, my bags are packed! No, I’ll be thinking of you at home… and I will regret this decision for the rest of my life. And then, if the invitation is specifically for a wedding, you will probably be left at the bottom of the invitation with an even more important decision than the one you just made. Herb grilled filet mignon? Saffron butter cracked lobster? Porcini mushroom lasagna? And no, you cannot pick all three.

And so you respond with a resounding yes. You fulfill what is often called the RSVP. I’m sure you’ve know these four letters - RSVP. It’s an abbreviation for the French phrase “Répondez s'il vous plaît,” which means: “Please respond.”

Today’s text is an invitation. It is an invitation to the wisdom of God and the fear of the Lord. And I hope that you would RSVP… for life. The father of the book of Proverbs invited his son to answer the call of wisdom. The eschatological Son of the book of Proverbs, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, fulfilled all wisdom and righteousness. And now we celebrate with him and in him. It’s a plus-one. Jesus Christ plus the church. For according to 1 Corinthians 1:30, Jesus is our wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

What an invitation! Let us now look at Proverbs 8 and the father’s invitation for his son to answer the call to wisdom.

The father begins in verse 1 by asking his son two rhetorical questions: Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice? The answer to these questions are quite obvious. Yes, of course: wisdom calls! Yes, of course: understanding raises her voice! Wisdom now invites the son. It’s as if the father is saying, “Son, I have taught you much about wisdom. But now, I will step aside and let wisdom speak for herself. She has an invitation for you, my son.”

Now, a profound thing is going on here. What is going on here is personification. Wisdom is personified as a true and excellent wife for the son here in Proverbs. Something really special is going on here.

This means that the call to wisdom is a personal call. The invitation to wisdom is a personal invitation. It’s not an invitation to just know something in your head. It’s an invitation to love someone in your heart. It’s an invitation to fear the Lord, worship the Savior, and live for the King. The father of Proverbs 8 personifies wisdom as a true and excellent wife for the son… because Christian wisdom is at the end of the day an act of love. It’s personal. The invitation to Lady Wisdom is personal.

And Lady Wisdom is right there before us. In verses 2-3, she is described as being on the heights and at the crossroads. This means that she is visible and audible. You can see her clearly and hear her well. And Lady Wisdom is described as being at the town gates and entrances, places where people bought and sold things and had meetings and made decisions. This means that she is serious and life-changing. She means business. And what she says to you will profoundly affect your life one way or another. There is no avoiding this invitation.

Brothers and sisters, someone greater than Lady Wisdom calls you now. The Lord Jesus Christ calls you this morning to continue to be wise in his wisdom. And for your information, Jesus is not a personification. Jesus is real. He is really God. He is truly the eschatological Son of Proverbs and the Son of God. And he calls you to his wisdom. Highland Church, does not Christ call? Does not Christ call? Does not Christ call? The answer to this question is quite obvious. Yes, our Lord and Savior calls! And in our series in Proverbs, our King calls us to listen and grow and trust and obey. What an amazing invitation!

Verses 4-5. Lady Wisdom begins to speak. But her words are words of grace. Notice who she calls out to. She calls out to the simple and the foolish. This is amazing. The simple and foolish are given an invitation! Lady Wisdom is not telling them, “Good luck! See you later!” She is telling them, “Learn prudence. Learn sense.” And she invites them to hear her words. What a gracious invitation!

Brothers and sisters, praise the Lord that even the worst fools can turn by God’s grace. The prodigal son, Zacchaeus, the woman with the alabaster jar, the Apostle Paul, and everyone here at Highland Church - we are all brothers and sisters and fellow fools who have received the gracious call to Jesus Christ and to his wisdom and righteousness. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord for his gracious invitation!

In verses 6-8, Lady Wisdom tells the son of Proverbs that her words are good. This is very important. She says that her words are about noble things. Her words are right and true. She is not like the forbidden woman of chapter 7, whose words are false and smooth and seductive and evil. No, such wickedness is an abomination to Lady Wisdom’s lips. All the words of her mouth are righteous. There is nothing twisted or crooked in them. Wow. This means that the son of Proverbs can trust her. This means that Lady Wisdom is so much better than the forbidden woman. And for us, this means that the wisdom of Christ is solid. This means that the fear of the Lord is a beautiful thing. What a good invitation!

Brothers and sisters, let us trust in the Lord. Let us lean not on our own understanding. Let us in all of our ways acknowledge him. For his words are good and true.

Lady Wisdom says something very interesting in verse 9. She says that people who love wisdom are wise people themselves. People say that birds of a feather flock together. Well, wise people in Christ listen to the wisdom of God and they love it. They hear everything in Proverbs and in the Bible and they think it’s all straight and right and noble and true. What an irresistable invitation!

Brothers and sisters, this is such an encouragement for us. We who are in Christ will be sanctified. We will fall in love with the wisdom of the Lord. We will come to realize that his wisdom is straight and right and noble and true, as we become more straight and more right and more noble and more true ourselves. What an inevitable and irrevocable invitation!

Finally, in verses 10-11, the son of Proverbs is told that wisdom is better than earthly treasures. The instruction and the knowledge of the Lord is better than silver and gold and jewels. And even more so, nothing that the son of Proverbs desires can compare with the wisdom of God. This fact takes the son’s eyes off of the things of the world and fixes his gaze on the things of heaven. What an other-worldly invitation!

Brothers and sisters, I hope that you would fall in love with the wisdom of God and the fear of the Lord. You may think that wisdom is boring stuff. But it’s not. There is so much drama to it. It is so cool, it is so epic and jaw-dropping to know that when we read Proverbs, we read the exact same words that our Savior read in order to save us. And it is so cool, it is so epic and jaw-dropping to see brothers and sisters in Christ make better decisions in life and grow in the wisdom and the fear of the Lord. Let us love wisdom. Nothing you desire can compare with it. As we wait for the return of our Lord, as we look foward to the world that is to come, I want us to be joyful in wisdom. It would be a privilege and an honor to be a church that truly and deeply fears the Lord.

I would like to close this sermon in the same way that I began. It is nice to be invited to things. And it is quite nice to receive an official invitation that officially asks for a response. Wisdom calls you today. Jesus calls you today. Highland Church, you are invited! Please respond. Then the words of the angel to the Apostle John in Revelation 19 will be forever: “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Please respond. Yes, I accept with pleasure! No, I decline with regret. Please respond with a resounding yes and amen.

End


Summary of Sermon

Proverbs 8 is an invitation to the wisdom of God and the fear of the Lord.

The father of the book of Proverbs invited his son to answer the call of wisdom. The eschatological Son of the book of Proverbs, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, fulfilled all wisdom and righteousness. And now we celebrate in him and with him.

The call to wisdom is a personal call. Lady Wisdom is personified as a true and excellent wife for the son.

The call to wisdom will profoundly affect your life one way or another. Jesus Christ calls us to his wisdom.

The call to wisdom is gracious. The invitation is extended to the simple and the foolish.

The call to wisdom is noble, right, true and righteous. We can trust in the wisdom of God.

The call to wisdom is loved by those who are wise. We are encouraged because God's gracious sanctification will cause us to love the call to wisdom.

The call to wisdom is better than the treasures of this earth. We are to fix our eyes on the things that are above.

May our church fall in love with the wisdom of God and the fear of the Lord. Blessed are those who are invited. May we who are in Christ respond to the call to wisdom. May we RSVP... for life.

Questions for Discussion & Sharing

It is nice to be invited to things. What makes an invitation special?

How is God's call to wisdom a personal and gracious call to you?

The call to God's wisdom is trustworthy and better than any treasure of this earth. In what ways does the wisdom of the world fall short of God's wisdom?