What is Our Chief Battle?

February 14, 2016 Speaker: Rev. Jeffrey Birch Series: Proverbs: Wisdom and Human Flourishing

Topic: Wisdom Passage: Proverbs 3:1–3:8

The Proverbs are all about human flourishing or shalom in the kingdom of God. They are not a set of ethical principles that say if you do such and such this will happen to you. They are not to be read in a formulaic fashion as if to say if I live right then God will give me long life, a life of comfort and ease and success. No, they are about the biblical worldview, about a life of faith and trust in the covenant God, the One who is sovereign and who is writing our life story. Which is why our chief battle comes right at the center of the passage we are looking at today, v.5 which says to trust in the Lord with all our heart and to lean not on our own understanding. Our lives can be quite complicated as God gives and God takes away as He sees fit. And faith and trust is not the absence of questioning or doubting, but it is living with all our doubts and fears and questions about God and still lamenting and pursuing Him. How do we fight our chief battle? By remembering two things. First, God’s covenant design. And God’s covenant design is shalom. Shalom is wholeness in every area of life. It is both physical and spiritual. It involves body and soul. And second, God’s covenant demand, which is whole hearted trust.

Verse 7 of the text we are exploring says “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.” The first phrase warns us against a spirit of self-assurance. This is not a spirit we cultivate on our own. But it is the spirit of Jesus. When Jesus was going through some of the most agonizing anticipation of His suffering, He prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will (Mark 14:36). What a spirit of submission, of surrender and all for us. This is part of Jesus’ active righteousness for us. And in Psalm 130 we read, “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.” The only way we are going to fear the Lord and turn away from evil is to have our hearts consumed with the gospel.

More in Proverbs: Wisdom and Human Flourishing

May 8, 2016

The Only Way to Live

April 24, 2016

Ancient Wisdom

April 17, 2016

The Call of Wisdom