[April 20]--He Chose. . .Poorly, Part Two

Prov. 27:1; 11:23; 12:28; 14:32

And thus we end the studies from Proverbs. Through this short 31-chapter book, we’ve received God-given counsel on money, our emotions, sex, marriage, parenthood, proper speech, friends and money. If anyone who tries to tell you that the Bible is just a “pie-in-the-sky” fantasy that doesn’t have anything to do with the real world, you know better. We saw yesterday about how the choice to follow wisdom or folly is a choice between life and death. And even though Proverbs isn’t the final word on the afterlife, it has some things to say about that subject as well. And I would contend that there’s no issue that’s more relevant. I don’t know who said it, but it really rings true: You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die. Let’s see what Solomon had to say about this.

First, he would remind us of the fragility of life. It’s always in our nature to make plans. We’re going to get up in the morning, get ready, go to work, muddle through our day, go to lunch, fight off the afternoon blahs, go home to our family, watch some TV, etc. Maybe this summer we’ll actually go on that vacation we’ve been talking about. Maybe the boss will finally notice the work I’ve been putting in and give me that promotion I deserve. Maybe my car will make it another week before I have to bring it into the shop. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Not to be completely morbid, but there were about 3,000 Americans on September 11th a few years ago who had pretty similar thoughts and plans going through their heads. And that morning, with absolutely no warning, their plans came to nothing. BTW, if this passage seems a little familiar, it might be because James pretty much echoes and amplifies this topic in his epistle.

Second, he'd remind us that the "righteous" and the "wicked" have two very different outcomes at the end of their respective roads. For those of us who love God and are in a right relationship with him, we’ll eventually get our heart’s desire. We’ll walk with him in this life, and that will only continue into the next one. But for those on the wrong side, there’s only the expectation of wrath. If it doesn’t show up so much in this life, it’ll definitely be on display in the next one.

Just a reminder, though. The N. T. gives us a much fuller understanding of what righteousness we’re talking about. What the O. T. saints only had hints of, we see much more clearly. The only way to be in a right relationship with God is not by being righteous but by receiving righteousness. Christ Jesus is our righteousness, and we claim no other. We could never be righteous enough, but what we couldn’t do, Jesus did.

Third, he'd tell us that in this righteousness, we can find final victory. The word in 12:28 for “immortality” literally means “no death.” Since our first parents, death has always been part of our curse. It’s like the Sword of Damocles, hanging over our heads. We know that eventually it’ll fall on us. But like the old joke about the weather, everyone talks about it but no one actually does anything to change it. That is, until Jesus.

And finally he'd point us to safety and security. Notice the wording in 14:32—the wicked feel and look secure only as long as their house of cards stays up. But all it takes is a breath of wind called “calamity,” and it all tumbles down. But "even in death" we have a refuge. This tells me that it doesn’t start at death. Because of my relationship with God through Christ, I have a refuge right now, and it just continues on. He’s my hiding place, the One who keeps me safe, both now and forever.

Have you noticed the pattern here? It all comes back to Christ. The wisdom that Solomon was seeking is found in Christ. 1 Cor. 1:30, noted above, tells us that he not only is our righteousness: He’s the Wisdom of God incarnate. And so we come full circle, making the same point we made at the beginning of the study. It all really revolves around the Son, doesn’t it?

Lord Jesus, I thank you. You are my righteousness. You are my wisdom. You are my redemption. Please forgive me when I seek any other.

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