Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Christ in the Proverbs --- Proverbs 12:3

Proverbs 12:3
No one is established by wickedness,
    but the root of the righteous will never be moved.

Paul Koptak writes, "The presence of Yahweh [the Lord] named in Proverbs 12:2 lingers in this saying."[1]  Christ the Lord, hidden in the Old Testament, is once again revealed, for he is "the root of the righteous."   The apostle teaches this truth hidden in the Old Testament but now revealed:
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:6-7).

He is the vine and we are the branches.  His life-giving sap flows to his people united to him by faith.  We are eternally thankful because God the Father has given us the gift of all gifts, his Son.

The wicked cannot be established, for their thoughts and ways are always set on this world that has rejected Christ, i.e., this present evil age, which is passing away (1 John 2:17).  As Steinman says, "The sinful human nature always focuses on the world and temporal human existence and is always anxious about the loss of worldly possessions and honor."[2]  A. W. Tozer wrote, "There is no lasting life apart from the root."[3]  Bruce Waltke writes, "That which is not firmly grounded in the Holy One will not endure."[4]

We are given Christ as a gift, which causes us to abound in thanksgiving.  Nevertheless, just as the wicked seek to establish themselves in this passing world, obsessively seeking in it pleasure, power, and permanence, so we should seek to be established in Christ.  Part of this means learning "the faith," as Paul puts it above.  Learning the faith means learning the worldview of God's kingdom, as opposed to the false worldviews of this passing age.  Therefore, the apostle writes:
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

There are thousands of deceitful and false philosophies in this world, but only one true one, the one given us by our Lord Jesus Christ.  There are thousands of false religions (there is little difference between philosophy and religion for both answer basic worldview questions) in the world, but only one true one, the apostolic faith we find in the New Testament.  As believers, we are called to learn "the faith" so well, that we are able to spot the counterfeit faiths that abound in the darkness of this world.  If we know the genuine faith, we will be able to spot the many idolatrous philosophies and religions that surround us.

Knowledge of the faith is vital to being established in Christ.  But true knowledge is not only knowledge, but a relationship.  We must come to love Christ, filled with gratitude for who he is and what he has done for us.  His life and love must fill us as we draw strength from him.  The goal is stated by Paul in Ephesians 3:
"so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17-19).

The world we see around us will mislead us apart from the eyes of faith.  We see the wicked prosper and we think they are secure.  And we see the Lord's people, insulted and silenced because of their faith, unwanted in the academy, the media, and the influential places in our culture.  Christ's people seem to be small minority whose situation looks far from established.

But if we have eyes of faith, we see that the situation is just as Proverbs 12:3 says.  In reality, in the light of Christ's death and resurrection, it is the righteous who are eternally secure, and the unbeliever who will never be established. 

I close with the example of Caiaphas and Jesus.  Caiaphas, you remember was the wicked high priest, who condemned Jesus to death to establish the nation of Israel:  "It is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish" (John 11:50).  By his wickedness in putting the Son of God to death, Caiaphas sought to establish Israel on a firm footing before the Romans. 

From the standpoint of sight, but not faith, it appeared that Caiaphas and the nation were secure, but Jesus and his small band of disciples, far from secure as their leader hung on the cross.  But how did it end?  Caiaphas and his nation were soon to be no more.  In 66 A. D. the Romans invaded and Israel as a nation was destroyed.  The wickedness of rejecting God's Son did not establish the nation.  On the other hand, Jesus was raised from the tomb on the third day and lifted to the highest place at the right hand of the Father.  By faith we see the reality that it is Christ's people, and his people only, who are secure and established. 

Rejecting God's Son can never make a man secure.  Receiving God's Son will make a man secure, no matter how insecure his place looks on earth.  Such has always been the case, and always will be the case.  Do you see it?



[1] Kotak, Proverbs, 338.
[2] Steinmann, Proverbs, 305.
[3] A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, 8.
[4] Waltke, Proverbs, vol. 1, 521.

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