I love the phrase “the obedience of faith (Romans 1:5).” I have taken to using the phrase “faith-filled obedience.” In fact, that phrase was just a major theme in my sermon just this past Sunday on the first book of Psalms. (If you are interested in listening to the sermon you can visit cpcoast.com/sermons and listen to the first sermon in the “Psalms” series to be posted by this afternoon.) The apostle Paul says that his ministry has as its end to bring about his “obedience of faith” so that the nations would know the value of the name of the Lord.
I think this is important. Our obedience has much less to do with how good or righteous we are and much more to do with how good and righteous God is. We obey not because we are good, but because we have found that the way of the Lord, His wisdom and instruction (see Proverbs reading today), is good. As the nations see a people committing themselves to the way of the Lord they will see the value of the name of the Lord.
If you have never read this book before, you are about to read one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. I truly hope that you are able to savor every morsel of what we read together here.
How dramatic of a beginning! The events of this story are truly cosmic. They are epic. Job is a larger than life character, with a life that would be the envy of anyone. Yet the first place we find Job, even while his sons and daughters were making merry, is early in the morning offering sacrifices for in faith before the Lord for the forgiveness of sin. “Thus Job did continually.” If we want to learn about wisdom, Job might be a man for us to pay attention to.
Yet, still, Job’s wisdom is proven to be folly compared to the wisdom of the Lord by the end of this book.
This psalm walks through such a clear series of thoughts.
First, he recounts the mockery of his foes. They are casting doubt on his confidence in the Lord. Second, he remembers times that the Lord has heard his cry. The mockers are wrong. The Lord is a shield about him! Third, he observes the present protection of his life. He lies down to rest in the Lord and the Lord has sustained him. Finally, it explodes with confidence supplication. The Lord will save because salvation belongs to the Lord!
The warning continues. Wisdom is personified as one who cries out in public. The wisdom of the Lord is publicly available. When I read verse 22 I remember that wisdom is directly connected to our disposition before the Lord (the fear of the Lord). So the question, “How long will you love being simple,” is really a question of how long will you mock the Lord, or underestimate the power, glory and knowledge of God.
The end of this chapter reiterates what has previously been said, that those who reject wisdom will “eat the fruit of their way (Proverbs 1:29).” I appreciate the language of having “their fill of their own devices.” The foolish will obtain fully the fruit of the idolatry that they have chosen. On the other hand, those who seek the wisdom of the Lord will dwell secure in His way.