Proverbs: Primer for Princes (8)

Finding Christ in the Book

No study in the Proverbs would be complete without seeing Christ in the book. It is the happy business of the true lover of the Savior to find Christ in all the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus said Himself of the O.T. Scriptures, “They are they which testify of Me.” We shall surely not look in vain for glimpses of Christ in this great wisdom book.


Three quite striking references to wisdom are in the Proverbs (ch 1:20-33; ch 3:13-20; ch 8:12-36). It is instructive to see how the wisdom of chapter 1 is developed in the later references cited. All three passages concerning wisdom find their wonderful answer in the gospel of John. In Proverbs 1 we hear wisdom’s voice saying, “I will pour out My Spirit unto you” (v 23). In turning to John 7: 38, 39; 15:26, and 16:7 we listen to the Lord Jesus promising to send the Holy Spirit. In Proverbs 3 we note the significant statement, “The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth” (v 19). We learn from John (1:3) that creation has been brought into existence through the Lord Jesus. In Proverbs 8, we are impressed with the language of wisdom in saying, “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old” (v 22). By comparing John 1:1 we discover that the wisdom personified in Proverbs must be a reference to Christ Himself. What is said of wisdom dimly foreshadows Him, and the believer appreciates it. The reference in ch 3:19 to wisdom and creation would, in the light of verses 20 to 26, show us that the same wisdom by which Jehovah founded the earth condescends to guide us in the world. The Lord Jesus as the Wisdom of God is concerned about our steps. How good to know this! Proverbs 8 could not be read without seeing Christ as the speaker. Wisdom as a person speaks. Wisdom is capable of love (v 17). Wisdom is seen in fellowship with God (v 30). Wisdom can be sinned against (v 36). Note carefully what is said about the Lord here. We have His co-existence with God from the beginning, His cooperation in creation, His communion with God, and His compassion for man. Thus Christ is foreshadowed as the Wisdom of God personified, dwelling with God from all eternity, working with God in creation, pleasing to God always, and delighting in the children of men. Here is One Who is distinct from Jehovah yet is the special object of the complacency of Jehovah. Christ is the only being in God’s universe in Whom all these characteristics could possibly concur. The hidden wisdom of Proverbs became the manifested Word of John’s gospel.


“There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (ch 18:24). Here we can see a description of Christ. In the full light of the N.T. revelation, we quickly respond and say, “Yes, and that friend is Christ.” Jonathan, it is true, was a wonderful friend to David, but even he failed in the end. Only the Lord Jesus is the true friend who will never fail us. What a comfort this verse has been to believers in times of trial, pain, and misunderstanding! The blessed companionship of the Savior truly sweetens every trial and lightens every load. What are the marks of a true friend? Is he one that will conceal our faults, flatter ego, and restrain rebuke to us? No, for Solomon says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” The Lord Jesus is the true Friend. Tenderly and gently He deals with us to administer a rebuke: “Even when He chideth, tender is His tone.” Notice in Luke 7:39-50 how the Lord Jesus in Simon’s house so lovingly and gently rebuked him. This is a beautiful illustration, immediately following the enemies’ jibe, “a friend of publicans and sinners.” What His enemies reproached attests His glory. In Proverbs we have three references to a true friend’s features. In these we recognize the Lord Jesus Christ. He is always the same (ch 17:17), always at hand (ch 18:24), and always seeking our good (ch 27:6). Only the Lord Jesus in His fullness fulfils these rare qualities.


The Proverbs have quite a number of references to a “king.” This should not be surprising, for Solomon himself was the king of Israel. Sadly, in this responsible role, he failed. The Lord Jesus in the future day will combine in perfection all the ideal qualities of kingship. It is good to see how these references are expressed in Christ. In ch 16:10 we read, “A divine sentence is in the lips of a king.” The people should be able to safely rest upon his word. Solomon’s lips on occasions revealed his amazing God-given discernment, but only one king is infallible – our Lord Jesus Christ. In the same chapter we read that righteous lips are the delight of kings. The Lord Jesus is the King of Righteousness. Are our lips righteous? In ch 20:8 we read, “A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with His eyes.” Here is a verse that so accurately fits the solemn scene in Revelation 20:11-15, where the Lord Jesus sits on the Great White Throne. His very presence will remove every last vestige of evil. What will it be to look into those eyes! Chapter 25 has interesting references to the kingly role. “The heart of kings is unsearchable” (v 3). Does a king need to explain himself in all his commands and counsels? How true it is that Christ can search us, but we cannot search Him. We must not question His counsels but submit to them. He knows what is best for us. We read, “Take away the wicked from before the king and his throne shall be established in righteousness” (v 5). This links with Matthew 25:31-46, when the Lord Jesus as King will sit on the throne of His glory and remove the wicked from the righteous. Then He will establish His righteous reign. Solomon says, “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king” (v 6). The words “Put not forth” could be better translated “Display not.” How interesting to see in Luke 14:7-11 that the Lord Jesus likely had this proverb in mind when He gave a parable illustrating this very truth. The true King rebukes both pride of place and self-esteem. Before Christ’s august dignity, self must be eclipsed. Do we bear this in mind when gathered in His presence with His people? Finally, in chapter 30:31 Agur says of a king, “Against whom there is no rising up.” The thought is, that in view of the king’s power, revolt is useless. Those who participate in the final rebellion of Revelation 20:7-10 will find this to be solemnly so. What is our attitude to the Lord Jesus? Do we rebel against His word or say no to Him? If so we will never prosper spiritually.


In ch 30:4 Agur, the unknown sage, asks a series of questions as he searches for truth. These questions are posed as he views the wonderful world of nature, and they climax in the query, “What is His name and what is His Son’s name?” How did Agur know God had a Son? Is he merely reasoning that if humans have relations then perhaps the Creator may too. No, Agur speaks here by the inspiration of the Spirit of God. All these questions are without a single answer and it is only by turning to the New Testament that we can begin to understand. Apart from the revelation of God in His Word we would certainly be in the dark. Agur’s words in verse 4 should be compared with John 3 where the Lord Jesus shows Nicodemus that He Himself is the One Who has ascended to heaven and descended. He also controls the wind (note the reference to the wind in John 3:8). He controls the waters. He also created the earth. He is the Son of God Who existed in this unoriginated relationship before He became the Son of Man. The Lord is saying to Nicodemus, “Though you recognize Me as a teacher, I am far more. I am the omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent Son of God.” Thank God we know the name of God’s Son. It is our Lord Jesus Christ. Agur’s question has been answered.