The Word for today:
Proverbs 26:13 – 27:27
So listen, my son, to your Father’s instruction… (Proverbs 1:8, etc., etc. — see below)
What does it all add up to? When you take all of the Proverbs and knit them all together, what have you got?
You’ve got the Son who listened.
At the heart of the book of Proverbs is a Father-Son relationship. The Proverbs are addressed to “My son” in each of the following verses:
I don’t list all those verses as an exercise in overkill. I mean to point out that Proverbs isn’t an aimless bunch of maxims. Instead, there’s a shaping process that’s going on before our very eyes. And here’s the result of the process:
Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:52)
We are so often forgetful that Jesus was like us in every way. His character did not come fully formed, it increased. Just as his body had to grow into its full stature, his wisdom also had to grow into itself.
The only thing we know of Jesus from the time of his infancy to the time he was thirty is the scene from Luke which shows him, at 12 years old, subjecting himself to the Word of God:
And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:42-52)
The Word of God shaped the formless and empty cosmos in Genesis 1. In Philippians 2:6-7, Jesus emptied himself of the prerogatives of deity in order to become one with us and serve as an example for us:
Although He existed in the form of God, He did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Emptied, he then let the Word of God shape him into what he was–the Messiah the Old Testament foretold.
He listened to His father’s Word, and conformed to it. That is the same process by which we, too, will become like Him, for we are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)
God, whose mind is not confined by time, sees us already clothed in Jesus’ righteousness. As we subject ourselves to His Word, we will increasingly become what we already are.
So listen, my son, to your Father’s instruction…