I am blessed to know that Theodore Austin Sparks has also suggested that we ask ourselves “What is this to do with Christ?” when we read the book of Proverbs. Sparks wrote “Wherever you read the word Wisdom, put Christ in the place of Wisdom and you have transformed the book and you have got its essence – and that is quite legitimate, quite proper, quite right, as your reading will prove to you. He is the Wisdom of God, the Eternal Logos” (taken from “The Centrality and Supremacy of the Lord Jesus Christ“). Thanks to my best friend for sharing with me this wonderful Christ-centred resource by Austin Sparks, and giving me additional insights on Proverbs 2.
A few years ago as a new christian, I used to read the book of Proverbs in terms of do’s and don’ts. Now I realise there is a higher interpretation, for spiritual truths are higher than natural truths. I believe that when we see Christ having already fulfilled the commands in the book of Proverbs, we will be freed from having to try to follow or obey the commands, and we won’t end up feeling condemned for falling short of the commands. 🙂 Now we simply feed on Christ as our Wisdom, for “when wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you” (Proverbs 2:10-11), so we will be led from within by life and peace in the Spirit.
As mentioned in Part I, when we receive wisdom in the light of Jesus’ finished work, we will be preserved and delivered from two things: unbelief and legalism (or world system or law system).
“To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things, from those who leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice in doing evil, and delight in the perversity of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and who are devious in their paths” (Proverbs 2:12-16)
Hebrews 3:12 defines for us that evil can refer to having “an evil heart of unbelief”, where the context tells us that the children of Israel could not enter the promised land because of unbelief.
“To deliver you from the immoral woman, from the seductress who flatters with her words, who forsakes the companion of her youth, and forgets the covenant of her God. For her house leads down to death, and her paths to the dead; none who go to her return, nor do they regain the paths of life -” (Proverbs 2:17-19)
Revelation 17:5 describes this immoral woman as “babylon the great, the mother of harlots“, referring to Jerusalem in the first century, because she has rejected her Messiah and embraced the system of the world (back then, the world was the Roman empire). The world system is based on legalism or performance-based living (ie “By what I do, I become”), instead of the grace of God. James 4:4 says “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world (law system) is enmity with God?” Similarly, Paul addressed the issue of spiritual adultery in Romans 7, and declared that “we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” (Romans 7:6) The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 🙂 (2 Corinthians 3:6)
“So you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness. For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the earth, and the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.” (Proverbs 2:20-22)
Hallelujah! When we walk uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, believing that we are righteous not by our works but by Jesus’ finished work, we will dwell in the land, which is our Rest. For our promised land today is rest. (Hebrews 4:11) And when we focus on being restful, God will give the increase in our blessings. Hallelujah for God’s restful increase for us! 🙂