Midweek Advent One – Pr. Anderson sermon
Proverbs 2:6-15 “O Come Emmanuel, O Come Thou Wisdom From on High”
December 6, 2023 | Christ Lutheran Church
In Nomine Iesu
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Heavenly Father, we gather in the middle of the week to hear your holy and comforting Word. We thank you for the blessings of such opportunities, that they only help us as we grow in knowledge of you and what you have done for us so that we might be saved. We ask that you would continue to give us wisdom, understanding, and watch over our ways so that we remain on the path of righteousness, staying away from the path of evil. We ask this in the name of the One who grew up in wisdom, knowing and completing your Will for us. Amen.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Rom. 1:7, etc.)
The sermon text for today is taken from the 2nd chapter of Solomon’s book of Proverbs. We read selected verses in Jesus’ name:
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.
These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by Your truth, Your Word is truth. Amen. (Joh. 17:17)
In Christ Jesus, who grew in wisdom before God and men, who is our shield and guard from the evil path which the devil tries to lead us down, dear fellow redeemed:
As my parents raised me and my siblings, I always remembered them telling us to respect our elders. We were told that we should always address people by Mister, Misses, Miss, and Pastor. The only people that we could talk to by their first names were our friends. Some of our friends’ parents didn’t enjoy it, but we were told to always address someone with respect. Now there is a good reason for giving elders respect. Those who have lived a full life, as Scripture records, “wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in the length of days” (Job 12:12). And that wisdom that they have comes from God. We see from Scripture how great it is to have wisdom and understanding, one can either use this wisdom, or the wisdom can be thrown by the wayside. Another gift from our amazing God. As we look forward to the coming of Emmanuel, we look for that wisdom that comes from on high.
As Solomon writes, “For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding,” he is teaching how there are two paths for a person to follow. You would think that everyone would see these paths clearly in their lives. As human beings like to talk about how “good they are” and how “smart they are”, it’s easy to miss the path of righteousness for the path of evil. Some will argue that what I say is false, but this is the truth from Scripture. If you are unwilling to believe that wisdom comes from God, then that path of evil is easy. If it wasn’t easy, Solomon wouldn’t have to record this. As Israel lives in the Promised Land with peace, as they have this beautiful temple that Solomon has made for the worship of God, there are many in Israel after Solomon dies who turn to false idols. They have everything they need spiritually, all of it comes to them directly from God, yet they would rather seek false gods for help. Spiritually they are captive. They need to be ransomed.
No one wants to be ransomed, because it means that they are a slave to a master. Our sins work as that master. It takes control and rules over us. To break its control means we must seek the wisdom that comes from God. To have this wisdom means that God is “delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.” We don’t like to hear that it is God’s way or the highway that leads to hell. All of this is not new. Many in Israel saw that although knowledge comes from God, they saw that it was brought on by the law. They watched as the law came down from Mount Sinai. Like Israel, we hear the word “law.”
When someone makes a law, we are very quick to push it to the side. We can try to cut corners. No matter how small those corners are that we cut, the law has stung us. Caught in the guilt of sin, we may even wonder why the law is even needed.
This is where we see the message that Solomon is giving. The law brings knowledge and wisdom. It is the law that prevents us from falling to the way of destruction. It is the law that points out how and frankly many times we realize it on our own that we can’t complete it. Now at the beginning we might have thought it crazy that wisdom comes from God, that we are inherently smart, but the law has the last laugh as we constantly reject the wisdom that comes from God for our own crooked paths.
Years and years after Solomon wrote this book of Proverbs, this book of wisdom, there would be some looking forward to what the wisdom of God brings. They looked to the Scriptures, and they looked on expectantly for the One who would have wisdom from on high. They would hear that “he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.” God guards the path of righteousness for His children. He protects them from danger. He would send His Son in the flesh and as he grew from being born an infant, He “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52). Now what Solomon wrote stands out. The world receives wisdom from God through the Savior of men. Jesus shields us from our enemies of the devil, sin, and death.
Jesus protects us from our enemies, teaching us that our trust in Him in not in vain. The wisdom that we have to believe in Christ is true and meaningful. It does not sit idly by, even when there may be times when you think that it does. When you make the choice to go from the path of righteousness to the path of evil, it is Christ in His wisdom that comes to you and pulls you back on the right path. He points you to His perfect wisdom that obeyed the law fully. He understood that the law was written for the will of God. Having the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of God, Jesus knew what it would take to save you. He put your sins that you committed from being on the path of evil and He put them on His shoulders.
Jesus had a perfect understanding of God’s will. Understanding, that you and I can never have because we aren’t perfect. It is because of Jesus being perfect, being God in the flesh come down from heaven for you that Solomon writes the truth when He records, “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you.” You see that nothing is your own, not even wisdom and understanding. Wisdom comes from God who sent His Son to die on the cross for the salvation of the world.
As we investigate the world, we see that since the fall into sin, there are still many who are on the path of evil. It is an easy path to be on, it won’t take long for us to even find our way back on it. Our text brings to light the struggles with these two paths that the world has. Israel struggled mightily even when they had Solomon’s beautiful temple to worship the Lord. As the people of Israel waited for that wisdom of God to come down from heaven, Jesus laid out the meaning of this text in front of them with His coming. Here in the present day, we get to hang on to these words knowing that they are true, and they have come to fulfillment. The Savior of the nations did come. He was full of wisdom and understanding and He gives it to us through the work of the Holy Spirit. We find our understanding in the Word made flesh. Emmanuel has come and continues to provide us with wisdom and knowledge through His Word.
As the Word provides us with the knowledge of Jesus first coming into the world, it also provides us with knowledge of His second coming. This is the season, of what is to come. Even in this season of anticipation, which some will look on with eagerness and some not so much, this is also the season of hope. We have hope knowing that what God teaches us is true. That His Son will come again. As our elders have wisdom that we wait eagerly to hear, God reminds us that their wisdom is a gift. Just as He provides them with wisdom to teach us, He provides us with that same wisdom. He keeps us on the path of righteousness through the work of His One and only Son who died on our behalf. We pray that the Lord would continue to watch over and provide for us. To continue to guard and shield us with His wisdom until our Savior returns in glory. “O come, Thou Wisdom from on high, Who ordrest all things mightily; To us the path of knowledge show And teach us in her ways to go. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel” (ELH # 110 v. 2). Amen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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