Saturday, February 8, 2014

Does Proverbs Promise Too Much?

"Does Proverbs promise to much?" is a problem that Dr. Bruce Waltke addresses with some helpful thoughts.  I have included three links to access the lecture in written and audio formats.  My suggestion would be to pull up the text and use it to follow the audio. 
Here are some incomplete excerpts to spark your interest.

    Evangelicals confess the Book of Proverbs' inspiration and intellectually assent to its authority, but emotionally many cannot takethe book seriously because its promises seem removed from the harsh reality of their experience. 
     The palpable rewards to which the gracious Lord obliges himself in the even verses of 3:1-10 confront us with the theological problem, "Do they promise too much? When applied to ordinary members of the
covenant community, the interpreter of the text and of life may try to resolve the tension by explaining that the problem lies in the human partner's failure to keep the commands, not in the Lord s failure to keep his obligations. The expositor, with Job's friend Eliphaz, might conclude that individuals do not experience these promises because of original sin: "Can a mortal be righteous before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker" (cf. Job 4:16-21). As does Job, however, most expositors, though conceding the problem of original sin, insist that thisis not the reason for the apparently failed promises.
      Their rejection of the facile explanation by the likes of Eliphaz isvalidated by the life of Jesus Christ. Though without sin, he apparentlydid not enjoy these promises. Instead of enjoying long life, he died inthe prime of life. Instead of enjoying favor with God and man, on thecross he lamented, "my God, my God, why did you forsake me" (Matt. 27:46), as the crowds jeered, "He trusts in God to deliver him; let Godrescue him!" (Matt 27:43). Instead of a smooth path he experienced rejection at birth, escaped the slaughter of the innocent, lived as an exilein Egypt, confronted hostility every day of his ministry, and ended up a lonely figure on the cross (cf. Isa 50:4-6). Instead of psychological and physical health, in the Garden of Gethsemane he experienced such trauma that his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Luke 22:44). On the cross his malefactors so abused him that he no
longer appeared human (cf. Isa 52:14). How can it be said that thedevout have barns overflowing with grain and vats that burst with new wine, when the Epitome of Wisdom cautioned, "Foxes have holes and
birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head" (Matt 8:20)?
       To resolve this obvious tension created by failed covenant promises, I will reject three false solutions and propose four others to help us toward a resolution of the problem.
Acceptable Solutions

       Let us now turn to four solutions that I find helpful. First, most would agree that...
     If the life of Christ came to an end on the cross, the covenant promises of Proverbs, such as those found in the strophes of 3:1-10, failed. However, if we pursue the career of Christ  ...

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