Proverbs as Father addressing Son, God to Jesus

Awhile back I wrote:

Well, maybe, making “everything point to Christ” is really only a job half-done when speaking of faithful Biblical hermeneutics! Here’s Jesus interpreting a passage of Scripture:

Only hold fast what you have until I come. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.

So what seems a prophecy only of Jesus includes his followers.

But some passages work the opposite way. Sometimes a passage about Christians turns out to refer to Christ as well. Consider this from Proverbs 3:

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.

Who is the Father and who is the son?

It would be easy to make a case that this is Jesus addressing us. Jesus is the greater Son of David. So he, more than Solomon, is the Author of the Proverbs (see 1.1).

But the book of Hebrews points in another direction:

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

So far, this fits with the idea that Proverbs addresses believers. But that is because of where I started the quotation.  This passage starts by pointing to Jesus as the one who struggled against sin[ful people] and resisted to the point of shedding his blood:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Matthew Henry pointed out that Jesus is the pioneering and preeminent believer:

(1.) What our Lord Jesus is to his people: he is the author and finisher of their faith—the beginning, perfecter, and rewarder of it. [1.] He is the author of their faith; not only the object, but the author. He is the great leader and precedent of our faith, he trusted in God; he is the purchaser of the Spirit of faith, the publisher of the rule of faith, the efficient cause of the grace of faith, and in all respects the author of our faith.

Indeed, Jesus is presented as the one who went before us and “learned obedience through what he suffered” (Hebrews 5.8). And we must follow in his footsteps by learning as well:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God… (Hebrews 5.12-6.1).

So when the Proverbs exhort us to not despise the Lord’s discipline, it is pleading with us to be willing to follow Jesus in a path that he traveled first for us as the author of our faith. Jesus grew in wisdom through his trials (Luke 2.40, 52), so how can we refuse that path?

One thought on “Proverbs as Father addressing Son, God to Jesus

  1. Pingback: Mark Horne » Blog Archive » Jesus learning obedience as he suffers before our eyes

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