Flemingsburg Baptist Church Youth Group

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Category: Proverbs

A Subject Study of Proverbs: God & Man

Subject Study of Proverbs

Proverbs is a book that is written to us as a father giving wisdom down to his beloved child.  It is God the father giving us practical advice on how to get the most joy out of this life.  This book takes the wisdom of God and applies it to our everyday situations that we will face.  We will be wise to look at this book as a way of training for life.

In this book of the Bible, there are eight subjects that get mention repeatedly: God and man, wisdom, the fool, the sluggard, the friend, words, the family, and life and death.  In this study, we will look at each one to see what God wants us to learn from each one.

First, we will look at the relationship of God and Man.  First, in this book of wisdom, that the beginning of all wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord (9:10).  Therefore, we can conclude that in order for us to have a right relationship with God, we must fear him.

But what does it mean to fear God?  Does that mean we walk around fearful that He might strike us down at any moment if we screw up?  No, what the fear of the Lord involves is awe, reverence, love, and trust in God.  A healthy fear should produce knowledge, humility, obedience, and blessing. In other words, it is getting a right perspective of ourselves and of God.  That God is all-powerful and all-knowing and that we are vastly inferior to Him.

In Proverbs 20:9, Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?  Here in this passage we see that we cannot make ourselves good, we cannot forgive our own sins.  The only way we can fix our greatest problem is going to God for the forgiveness of our sins.  The only thing that will help us produce long-term good fruit is having our sins taking away and a new life through Jesus Christ given to us.

This is further confirmed in Proverbs 3:5-7.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.  Here we are encouraged to not rely on our own wisdom or our own understanding, but to trust that God’s way is the best way.  To trust anything or anyone other than the Lord results in disaster.  Sometimes we are tempted to think, that our situation is special or that we are the exception to the rule and we justify going against God’s wisdom.  However, God encourages not to rely on our own strength and knowledge, but to rely on His because He is greatly superior to us.  This means that our trust must be solely in the Lord.

Proverbs 22:19 confirms the notion that our faith should be solely in the Lord.  That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you.  Our trust in the Lord is to foster, not self-reliance, but faith.

In conclusion, we see that the relationship between God and man works best when man submits to the authority and majesty of God.  Or, in other words, when man fears the Lord, he will gain wisdom that will lead to a life more joyful.

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Proverbs 31

Nobility and the Virtuous Wife

 

Today we will be concluding our series on the book of Proverbs and how we are to be searching for wisdom.  We see in the last Chapter of Proverbs how a woman who fears the lord is to be praised.  This is an important chapter for all of you because for the young ladies in here it gives you insight on what it looks like to be a Godly woman.  And for young men it gives insight on what you should be looking for in a girl that you want to date.

Proverbs 31:10: An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.

Here we see how valuable an excellent wife is.  What is it about these precious stones that the author mentions that makes them so valuable?  It is their rarity.  You do not find diamonds in your back yard.  You have to search for them, and when you find one you cherish it because of all the hard work you put into finding one.  Likewise, so is an excellent wife.  You will not accidently stumble across an excellent wife, just like you will not stumble across are rare diamond.

Proverbs 31:11: The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

And this verse tells us why an excellent wife is so valuable.  And that is because you can trust her.  You do not have to worry about it she is cheating on you, you do not have to worry about if she still loves you, and because of this trust, you will be able to work together for gain instead of competing against each other.  A woman who fears the Lord will not squander the family’s livelihood on pointless purchases, but will have the complete trust of her husband because she is for him and not against him.  Wherever possible she supplements his earnings rather than wastes it.

Proverbs 31:16-17: She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.  She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

A common misconception about Christianity is that it calls women to be passive and weak.  This comes from a misconception of what it means when God calls women to submit to their husbands.  We see here in this passage that the woman of God is strong and active in all decisions of her household.

Proverbs 31:20: She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

Another mark of the woman who fears the Lord is she lives for the good of the needy.  God has drawn near and secured her future in his care.  Now she draws near to those who need most help.  This woman in Proverbs 31 is wealthy and esteemed, but she does not allow her social status to hinder her association with the poor.

Proverbs 31:21: She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

Winter is a fearful thing in Kentucky, my wife and I  learned that the hard way when we got hit by an ice storm a couple of years ago when we lived in Louisville.  And God has appointed that we do more than pray that our feet not freeze.  Her careful preparation of necessary clothing in advance means that she is not afraid of sudden changes in weather, for they will not catch her unprepared.  Clothing must be made or bought.  When a woman fears the Lord, she will not be anxious about tomorrow, she will do what God has appointed for her to do and trust him in everything to show her mercy.

Proverbs 31:23: Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

Verse 23 seems out of place in a song of praise to women.  How is this verse a word of praise to the wife who fears the Lord?  Proverbs 12:4 gives the answer: “A good wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is the rottenness of his bones.”  A wife who fears the Lord increases the esteem of her husband at the gates of the city.  Kaley and I will be married for four years on March 29th and we have known each other for 12 years and my wife has never done or said anything in public that would have caused me to be ashamed.  She has my absolute trust as a representative of what our family stands for.  There is no place I might go where I would be ashamed to take Kaley.  As Proverbs 12:4 says, She is a crown to my head.  She is for me 100% because she is a woman who fears the Lord.

Proverbs 31:25: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

A woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future.  Satan dangles in front of her the danger of tomorrow’s troubles, but she glances up at the almighty God at her right hand and laughs at Satan’s folly.  She fulfills in her own life Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

Proverbs 31:26: She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

In this verse, we see that the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom.  We studied earlier in this study of Proverbs, that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10), so it is no surprise that the woman who fears the Lord “opens her mouth with wisdom.”  And there is a very close connection between a practical, gracious wisdom and freedom from anxiety about the future.

Proverbs 31:30: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Charm can be deceitful because someone can charm you into doing something that you did not want to do.  Beauty is vain because despite our best efforts it is fleeting with age.  But more important than charm and beauty that our society places so highly is the character of the woman of God.  She can be recognized because she is confident and not anxious about the future, gracious wisdom is on her lips, she covers herself with strength, she brings her husband honor by her support, and she reaches out her hands to the needy.”  A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”

Proverbs 30

Humble Descriptions of the World

Proverbs 30:5Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.

Here we see that God’s Word claims to be true.  Every word is inspired by God.  Now if Christianity was not true than it would be easy to prove right?  If you were an atheist and you wanted to prove that Christianity was not true and you knew that the Bible claimed to be true all you would have to do is prove something in the Bible is not true and the religion would fold on itself.

Well, guess what, for centuries people have been trying to prove the Bible wrong, but they have all fallen short.  Why?  Because it is truly God’s Word and this is why each Friday morning I read you passages out of it because God’s Word is still alive and can still change lives today.

Now that we know that God’s Word is true and that it has stood the test of time we can use it as a refuge in God.  God’s Word set boundaries for us to live by so that we can get the most joy out of life.  We saw last week that the fool thinks that God’s boundaries are there to hinder him so he tears them down, just to be attacked by the enemy.  So do not despise God’s Words, love them and obey them so that you will get the most fulfillment out of this life and the next.   Love God’s Word and take refuge in Him.

Proverbs 30:6: Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

God’s Word is not lacking anything.  Therefore, there is no need to add to it.  As Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  God being all knowing knew what would be dealing with in the 21st century and made a way for us in a book written centuries ago to guide us through it.

Therefore, we see that it is God’s Word by itself is sufficient in everything that we need.  It is not God’s Word plus anything.   Only God can meet your needs and if you try to fill your God shape whole in your heart with anything else besides God then it will fail you and you will end up in depression instead of the Joy that the Lord brings.

Proverbs 30:7-9: Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.

This is the only prayer in the entire book of Proverbs.  And the author asks for two things:  That he would be removed from all falsehood and lying and second, that God would give him neither poverty nor riches.  Basically, what he is praying for is that he will be a man of good character and for God to keep him out of circumstances that might compromise his character so that he could live a life that glorifies the Lord.

First, implies both that he wants to be saved from becoming a liar, and wants God to keep him away from those that do lie.  He wants to be a man of integrity and that his yes’s will be yes’s and his no’s no’s.

The second request reflects the caution that Proverbs instills in the wise about trusting in wealth.  He wants God to keep him from circumstances that might cause him to stumble and to compromise his integrity.  Here we see that Satan tempts us in two ways, he either uses our poverty to make us want to steal from others or he uses our riches to make us forget who God is because we can meet our own needs with our riches.  Therefore, the author cries out for God to only give him what he needs so that he is not tempted to steal, but not to give him too much that he becomes self-reliant.  He wants to depend on God and appreciate all that has been given to him.

Proverbs 25-29

Wise Conduct

Today’s passage will be a selection of verses from chapters 25-29.  Here we are given wisdom pertaining to our conduct.  This section will help us learn what it looks like to live a life of wisdom.

Proverbs 25:28: A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.

The lack of self-control is a mark of a fool, that is, with no means of defense against enemies.  Remember God’s law is good for us because it helps us get the most joy out of life.  It sets up barriers to keep things that could harm us out.  However, someone that lacks self-control does not have these barriers and sets himself up for failure because he will never know which way he is being attacked from because he will be too busy pursuing his own pleasures before he realizes it is too late to take defense.  The fools thinks that the barriers that God places around him restricts his pleasure; however, when the enemy arrives he finds himself defenseless.

Proverbs 27:6: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

At first, this verse might be confusing for you.  You might ask, why would a friend wound me and an enemy kiss me.  This is because if someone really cares for you they will tell you when you are doing something wrong, however, an enemy although seeing you are getting ready to make a mistake will tell you that you are right because they want to see you fall.  Therefore, listen to your true friends even if they are telling you something at the time you do not want to hear.

A practical example of this is when you are getting ready to be in a relationship.  Do your friends like him or her, do your parents like him or her?  Do they get along with teachers and other authorities well? Since, Nothing can sabotage your life mission faster than a wrong relationship.  You need to listen to your true friends and your parents when it comes to making these kinds of decisions because in cases of love you might be blinded by infatuation, that everyone else might be able to see your getting ready to make a big mistake.

Proverbs 27:17: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

As a coach, this is a very practical principal to live by.  When I coached wrestling, although I wanted my better wrestlers to work with the weaker wrestlers, to help them get better, however, if that is all I had them do they would eventually dull their skills.  Therefore, I had to make sure that they had adequate time against each other and against me.  Because as the verse says iron sharpens iron.  Some moves will work every time against a weaker opponent, but when tried against someone good you realize it is not a good move.

Therefore, we should take this example and apply it our spiritual lives.  If we are always hanging out and teaching weaker Christians then we will eventually become dull.  Therefore, we need to make sure that we are spending adequate time with mature brothers and sisters in Christ that will encourage us and challenge us to become sharper.

Proverbs 28:1: The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

In other words, there is a correlation between wickedness and fear on the one hand, and righteousness and courage on the other hand. And the gospel is a message about how wicked people can get right with God through Jesus Christ so that they have a righteousness that makes them as bold as a lion.

Let us begin our thinking about this verse by removing a misunderstanding. When Proverbs says that “the wicked flee when no one is pursuing,” and, “the righteous are bold as a lion,” it does not mean that there are no bold wicked people, and no times when the righteous become timid. It means that in general there is something about wickedness that leads to fear and something about righteousness that leads to boldness.

For example have you ever done anything wrong and you try to hide it and you spend the rest of the day paranoid that someone is going to find you out.  Even though no one is pursuing you, you are still paranoid that someone is going to find out what you have done.  However, the righteous person is bold, they have nothing to hide.  Even when they mess up they confess it because they never claimed to be perfect, so it does not hurt their ego to admit that they were wrong.  Therefore, they are bold because they live a life of openness instead of trying to conceal things.

But what is it about the wicked that makes them so often flee when no one is pursuing? The answer is: a bad conscience. When you see a police car ahead, is your response one of confidence and peace, or is it one of fear and avoidance—even when he has no intention to pursue you? Does the way you play basketball or soccer or football have anything to do with how you feel when a whistle blows, even when it is not blowing for you?

Do you ever start defending yourself in a conversation before anybody even criticizes you of something?  We flee when we are not even being pursued because we have a bad conscience. There are enough stored up bad things we have done, that a voice inside tells us someone is after us even when they are not. Guilt is the parent of fear. Our conscience creates the pursuer that ought to be there even when he is not there.

“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing [because their conscience—the echo of God—condemns them], but the righteous are bold as a lion,” because their conscience is made clean by the righteousness of God imputed to them through faith in Jesus Christ, and there is no condemnation. May the gospel of God’s free righteousness take us, and radically free us from fear, so that we can be as bold as a lion for the sake of the gospel!

The straightforward man, like a lion, has not need to look over his shoulder.  What is at his heels is not his past, but his rearguard is God’s goodness and mercy.

Proverbs 24:23-34

[23] These also are sayings of the wise.

Once again we see that the focus on wisdom, so that it can be passed on to you if you will receive instruction.

Partiality in judging is not good.[24] Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, [25] but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.  [26] Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.

We now see that partiality in judging is not good.  People may be prejudiced for or against a person because they are rich and famous, or of a certain race, but partiality of any kind is to be rejected.  You cannot say to someone that you know is doing wrong and say that you are in the right.  No matter if, they are your best friend, or brother or sister.  If you truly love someone then you will tell them the truth whether or not they want to hear it.

[27] Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.

This passage is saying do not make a big investment before you figure out how you are going to pay for it.  Think before you do things.  When you build a house, you are going to need money for supplies and food to eat while you work.  So prepare the fields now so that you do not run out while you are building your house.  In other words, think about what you are going to need beforehand before you make big decisions.

A practical example for you all since you will probably not be building farmhouses any time soon is marriage.  Are you preparing yourself to be the man or woman of God wants you to be, are setting standards on who you will or will not date, are you deciding what characteristics you would like in a spouse or are you just dating the first person that likes you back?  In other words, I know that you are bit young to be thinking about marriage, but you are never too young to be thinking about who you are going to be and what kind of person you want to spend the rest of your life with.  What this passage is saying is do not jump into a commitment without preparing.  And one day you will find yourself in a relationship with someone and if you had not prepared yourself for marriage then your marriage will be on a soft foundation.

[28] Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.  [29] Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”

Be honest.  Even if you think that, your neighbor is capable of doing something that they are being accused of or maybe they are just bad neighbors, do not be dishonest, hold tightly to your integrity.  Do not be always seeking revenge for everything that someone has done wrong to you.  Especially Christians, think about all the wrong that you have done against God, but instead of seeking revenge He sent His only Son to die for you so that you could be forgiven.

[30] I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, [31] and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. [32] Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. [33] A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, [34] and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.

Here we are instructed not to be lazy.  We see that the sluggards vineyard did not fall apart overnight.  That it was a little sleep when he was supposed to be weeding, a little slumber when he was supposed to be tilling up the land, a little folding of hands to rest when he was supposed to be repairing the wall to keep the foxes out, that sent him into poverty.  In came upon him like an armed robber, he kept on saying tomorrow I will do it, until he got to the point where so much needed to be done that he could no longer even support himself.

A practical example for you all is homework.  Say you have this project that is due in a month.  If you are a sluggard then you will be tempted to fill your time with things that brings short term pleasures like TV, Facebook, playing video games, and then the night before its due you get a text from a friend asking about how yours is going.  Now it’s the night before and the project now looks impossible to get done.  You whip something together and bring it to school and you get a bad grade all because you waited until the last minute.

Now this text is encouraging you to be proactive.  If you do a little bit on that huge project everyday then it will be finished and done right before the deadline and you will be able to enjoy your time without being worried about your grade.

Proverbs 22:17-24:22

Thirty Sayings of the Wise: How to Relate to Other People

The section of Proverbs that we will be addressing today comes from chapter 22 verse 17 through chapter 24 verse 22.  The Proverbs starts off by saying, Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips.  That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you.  Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you? 

We see heart that this section of scripture once again the author is urging us to listen to his wisdom that he had received from the Lord.  Not for selfish ambition, but because he wants you to be able to trust in the Lord.  In this section, the author gives us 30 sayings of the wise on how to relate to other people.  For the sake of time, I will pull out a few of these examples for you to see how a wise person of God treats other people.

Proverbs 22:22-23, Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the LORD will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them.

Here we are instructed not to rob the poor, not that it is good to rob anyone, but it is especially evil to rob someone that already has little and cannot defend themselves.  In other words, do not be someone that is going around kicking people while they are down; be someone that is an encouragement to others and helps build up people that are down.

Proverbs 22:24-25, Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.

Why is it not a good idea to hang out with someone that has an anger problem?  Because you never know what they are going to do next and what is going to set them off.  And if you are with someone that is always acting irrationally then you might find yourself in situations that you never thought you would find yourself.

So there are two lessons here: do not be the person that is quick to anger, and do not be around a person that cannot control themselves.

Proverbs 22:29, Do you see a man skillful in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Here we are told of the blessings that a man that is skillful in his work receives.  This should be a lesson to all of you whatever God calls you to do for the rest of your life, do it for the glory of God and work on the skills that he has given you.

And what is the best way to do that know in middle school?  By doing what you are doing now for the glory of the Lord.  Make the best grades you can for the glory of the Lord, by studying to the best of your abilities.  Play basketball for the glory of the Lord.  Play baseball and football for the glory of the Lord.  Play in the band for the glory of the Lord.  Work on developing your skills now and your work ethic and your dedication now so that when you are grown you already have that foundation.  You do not become a skillful worker by just doing the minimum.  If the only time you hit in the batting cage is when your coach makes you, then you are not going to be a skillful baseball player.

However, we do not do this for selfish ambition, but for the glory of the Lord.  Take for example Tim Tebow.  People doubt is throwing ability, but no one doubts his work ethic and overall skills.  But who does he point to too when everyone is looking at him?   He redirects them to someone greater than himself.  He points them to God.  Therefore, whatever God calls you to be do if for the glory of God and point them to God through your skill set and work ethic.

Proverbs 23:6-7, Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, for he is like one who is inwardly calculating.  “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you.

In other words, do not take things from a stingy person, because although they appear to be giving to you with a good heart, they are actually giving to you so that you will owe you something in the future.  They are calculating all that you owe them so that they can cash in later on.

So two lessons, do not give to people expecting them to repay you and do not take things from people if they are going to hold it against you later on.

Proverbs 23:22-25, Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.  Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.  The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.  Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.

Here we see once again that wisdom directly affects your relationship with your parents.  If you want to make your parents happy and proud of you then work on making wise decisions instead of foolish decisions.

Proverbs 10-22:16

The Way the World Works

Proverbs 10:1, A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.

We see here that your relationship with God will directly affect your relationship with your parents.  If you want to make your father and mother glad then seek after wisdom, if you want to bring shame and sorrow unto your mother then seek after the foolishness of the world.

Proverbs 10:11, The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

In this verse, we see that life comes from the mouth.  The mouth can be life-giving.  It is compared to a fountain.  The image is not of labor and sweat and weariness that somehow produces the product of life.  The image is restful and clean and cool and refreshing; life bubbles up and overflows from somewhere deep in the earth with scarcely any effort.  The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.  However, the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Therefore, how can we make sure that we are a fountain instead of one that conceals violence inside.  We do this by making sure our heart is clean.  What is inside the heart will come out the mouth.  Therefore, if you are filling your heart with good Godly things then your mouth will produce life.  However, if your heart is filled with bitterness and resentment then your mouth will injure people with your words, even those that you love.

Proverbs 11:1, A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.

In Biblical times when they went to the market they would weigh the spices that they were selling.  So to be able to get the most out of the product they were selling they would make their scales weigh heavy so they would be selling less for a higher price.  This proverb is teaching that this kind of deception is an abomination to the Lord.  Therefore, we should be known for our honesty when we are dealing with people.  God cares about your everyday dealings not just if you go to church on Sunday.

Proverbs 15:8, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

How could something as good as sacrifice be an abomination to the Lord?  It is because God cares about the heart.  If you give with a resentful heart or expecting to receive something in return then that is when it is an abomination to the Lord.  God wants you to be  joyful giver.  However, the prayer of the upright is His delight.  Because the upright will not be praying for selfish gain, but will be the opposite of the person to sacrifices in hopes that someone will see them and praise the for it.  The upright will be praying for others, and not about himself selfishly.  Therefore, prayers of the upright are a delight because it comes from a pure heart instead of someone that gives in order to gain attention or status.

Proverbs 18:2, A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

This passage is basically saying be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Listen to what other people are saying do not just be waiting so that you can express your opinion.  Stop and humble yourself and consider that you might be the one that is wrong, before you respond to someone that is disagreeing with you. 

Proverbs 19:17, Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

It only makes since if you are making the most out of what God is giving you that he will entrust you with more.  However, this is not a way a of tricking God into making you richer.  It is teaching you to live a lifestyle that is free from the bondage of loving money.  If you are freely investing back into the Kingdom of God what God gives you, then you can rest assure that God is going to take care of you and make sure that you have the most joy in your life.  Mainly by setting you free from the bondage of the love of money and opening you up to the greater joy of serving people for the glory of Christ.

Proverbs 20:15, There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

One of the reasons why we are doing this study of proverbs is because I want you to be able to appreciate the value of wisdom and knowing truth.  Wisdom is more valuable than Gold.  Gold by itself is worthless unless you use it to buy something.  But once you buy something with it, it is gone and you can no longer use it to buy anything else.  However, it is not that way with wisdom.  With wisdom, once you have learned what is ultimately true you can use it over and over again and it just keeps getting more valuable for you because you can see how many mistakes and how much heart-ache it has saved you from.  In addition, you can give your wisdom away, and it would be still just as valuable to you.  If you give your gold or money away then it is gone, but if you give your wisdom away, everyone around you benefits from it.  Therefore, seek after wisdom and after knowledge and share it with everyone.  And understand that the basis of all knowledge begins with the knowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Proverbs 22:13, The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!”

The main point of this passage is do not be someone that spends more time making up excuses than actually doing something productive.  Be someone that is constantly stepping towards challenges instead of constantly finding an excuse out of challenges.  However, do not be foolish, but constantly form the habit of being proactive.  If there was actually a threat of a lion in this passage, it would have said the coward says, there is a lion outside, but it does not, it says the sluggard or the lazy person.  This points that they are always looking for ways out of work and out of challenges.

No one will approve of his staying in the house all day just because he is lazy.  But they might sympathize with him and approve his staying home if there is real danger outside.  So, to hide his laziness and justify himself, he deflects attention away from the truth (laziness) to an illusion (lions).  This is what the sluggard is doing.  He deeply desires to stay at home and not work.  There is no good reason to stay at home.  So what does he do?  Does he overcome his bad desire?  No, he uses his mind to create unreal circumstances to justify his desire.  He may even believe the creation of his mind. Deception can cross from moral depravity to mental derangement – from deceiving others to deceiving ourselves.


Proverbs 3-9 Lady Wisdom Vs. Madame Folly

Because we finished our walkthrough of the Bible before Christmas break, today we are going to start a new series.  This series is going to be on the book of Proverbs, which is a poetry book in the Old Testament.  Since Stuart has already done the first two chapters for us, I am going to walk us through chapters 3-9.  As you might remember Proverbs is the recordings of Solomon, one of the wisest of all kings, passing his God-given wisdom to his son.  The book of Proverbs is God trying to give you wisdom to be able to spare you from the heartache that foolishness brings, so that you will be able to get the maximum amount of joy out of your life.

 

I believe that everyone has this in common: that they want to be happy.  They do not all agree on what brings the greatest happiness, but they do all long to have it.  And this longing is not bad.  It is good.  Evil consists in trying to find happiness in ways that displease and dishonor God.  However, true joy, consists in finding happiness in ways that please and honor God.  We can conceive of a world in which we might be called upon to do right at the expense of our ultimate happiness.  But that is not the world in which we live.  God has established this world in such a way that doing good through faith in Christ always leads to greater happiness eventually.  We do not live in a world where we must choose between our eternal happiness and God’s glory!  God has created this world and its moral laws in such a way that the more we choose to glorify God, the happier we will be.

 

BASEBALL ILLUSTRATION

 

In these passages that we are studying today the overall theme is will you follow Lady Wisdom or Madame Folly?  It is important to point out the differences between wisdom and folly.  For example, it has nothing to do with intelligence.  A person can be extremely smart in the classroom, but still be a fool.  Example would be computer hackers.  You can be smart and know how to do all kinds of things with computers, but if you use it for evil than you are a fool.  Another example would be Evolutionist.

 

You can obtain all of the highest degrees from the top universities, but if you cannot not see that this world was created and that there is something special about humans, then you are a fool.  Therefore, since wisdom has nothing to do with intelligence, likewise, being a fool does not mean silly or ridiculous, but acting as one who rejects God or God’s revealed will.  It is better defined as one that has no hope.  Because the rejection of wisdom means the rejection of God, which means their future will be in Hell where there is no hope.

Lady Wisdom and Madame Folly are compared best in chapter 4 verses 18 and 19:

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,

                        which shines brighter and brighter until full day.

            The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;

                        they do not know over what they stumble.

Lady Wisdom is further described in verses:

(Proverbs 3:13-18 ESV)

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,

                        and the one who gets understanding,

            for the gain from her is better than gain from silver

                        and her profit better than gold.

            She is more precious than jewels,

                        and nothing you desire can compare with her.

            Long life is in her right hand;

                        in her left hand are riches and honor.

            Her ways are ways of pleasantness,

                        and all her paths are peace.

            She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;

                        those who hold her fast are called blessed.

(Proverbs 4:5-9 ESV)

            Get wisdom; get insight;

                        do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.

            Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;

                        love her, and she will guard you.

            The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,

                        and whatever you get, get insight.

            Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;

                        she will honor you if you embrace her.

            She will place on your head a graceful garland;

                        she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

(Proverbs 7:4-5 ESV)

            Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”

                        and call insight your intimate friend,

            to keep you from the forbidden woman,

                        from the adulteress with her smooth words.

However, Madame Folly is described in these verses:

(Proverbs 4:15-17 ESV)

Avoid it; do not go on it;

                        turn away from it and pass on.

            For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;

                        they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.

            For they eat the bread of wickedness

                        and drink the wine of violence.

(Proverbs 5:3-6 ESV)

For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,

                        and her speech is smoother than oil,

            but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,

                        sharp as a two-edged sword.

            Her feet go down to death;

                        her steps follow the path to Death;

            she does not ponder the path of life;

                        her ways wander, and she does not know it.

(Proverbs 7:25-27 ESV)

Let not your heart turn aside to her ways;

                        do not stray into her paths,

            for many a victim has she laid low,

                        and all her slain are a mighty throng.

            Her house is the way to Death,

                        going down to the chambers of death.

(Proverbs 9:13-18 ESV)

The woman Folly is loud;

                        she is seductive and knows nothing.

            She sits at the door of her house;

                        she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,

            calling to those who pass by,

                        who are going straight on their way,

            “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”

                        And to him who lacks sense she says,

            “Stolen water is sweet,

                        and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

            But he does not know that the dead are there,

                        that her guests are in the depths of the earth.

So in conclusion, I hope that you see that Lady Wisdom offers deep eternal joy that never fades, whereas, Madame folly only offers short-terms pleasures, but leads to an eternal death where there is no hope.  So how can you make sure that you are following lady wisdom?

  1. Make sure that you have accepted Christ as your Lord, Savior, and Treasure.  Because when you become a Christian God gives you the Holy Spirit and He will help you determine what is wisdom and what is folly.
  2. Study the Word of God.  The Bible was given to us not to bind us, but to help set us free from the bondage of sin.
  3. Make sure you are hearing good preaching that is based on God’s Word, so that you will better understand it.
  4. Make sure that you are in a small group setting so that you can ask questions about what is wisdom and what is folly.
  5. Learn from those that are older that you recognize as wise, not only by their actions, but by asking them questions that you have.

Proverbs 1-2 by Stuart Hurd

Proverbs 1:1-4 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: For gaining wisdom and being instructed; for understanding insightful sayings; for receiving wise instruction in righteousness, justice and integrity; for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced, knowledge and discretion to a young man-

 

-The beginning of the book of Proverbs is just addressing that it will be teaching wisdom and instruction to inexperienced youth

-This is one reason this is a good book for us to read.  We are young and inexperienced and need to gain wisdom.

-A very famous minister in Minneapolis by the name of John Piper reads Proverbs every day because he craves Gods word and wants to become wiser.  This is the kind of mindset we need to have.

 

Proverbs 1:5-6 a wise man will listen and increase his learning, and a discerning man will obtain guidance-for understanding a proverb or a parable, the words of the wise, and their riddles

 

-The first thing Proverbs is showing us is to listen to words of the wise and their riddles. If you do this you will increase your learning

– A Discerning person is a person with good judgment.

-If you are a person who listens you will obtain guidance when a person that does not listen or pay attention will gain nothing.

-For example, my parents tell me to follow the golden rule. The golden rule is to treat others the way you would want to be treated.  By listening to my parents and being a discerning person I will gain wisdom and guidance about how to treat others.  But if I do not pay attention or listen I will gain nothing for it would be like my parents not telling me anything and I will not gain any wisdom.

 

 

Proverbs 1:8-9 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching for they will be a garland of grace on your head and a gold chain around your neck.

 

-Listen to your father and mother for they are wiser than us. Do not reject their teachings and their instruction.

-It is very important to do this because god stresses this throughout the bible in 2 other passages and it is one of his ten commandments. In Ephesians 6:2 it says “Honor your father”(this is the first commandment with promise) and in Mathew 15:4 it says For God said “Honor you father and mother”.

-I know it is often for us teenagers to not listen to your parents for you feel they are wrong or are trying to be mean or hurtful to us but they are really giving us wise teachings and instructions.

-In verse 9 it says these teaching and instructions will be a garland of grace on your head.  This verse is saying these teachings will give you grace.  People often define Grace as an undeserved favor but it is much more than just a favor.  Grace is Gods forgiveness of our sins and is the very reason we are baptized and can go to heaven.  If you listen to God’s teachings and instructions we can receive grace.

-In verse 9 it also says that your fathers and mothers teachings will be a gold chain around your neck.  This is implying that your parent’s instructions are valuable just like gold is valuable.  This is why you need to respect and listen to your parents.  There words are as valuable as gold.

 

Proverbs 1:10-19 My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded If they say” Come with us Lets set an ambush and kill someone Lets attack some innocent person just for fun, We’ll find all kinds of valuable property and will fill our houses with plunder.  Throw in your lot with us and we’ll share our money” my son, don’t travel that road with them or set foot in their path, because their feet run toward trouble and they hurry to commit murder, but they set an ambush to kill themselves to kill themselves; they attack their own lives.  Such as the paths of all who pursue and gain dishonesty; it takes the lives of those who profit from it.

Proverbs 2:20-22 so follow the way of good people and keep the paths of the righteous.  For the upright will inhabit the land, and those of integrity will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous upright root from it 

 

-Like this chapter said earlier you need to be a discerning person or a person that has good judgment.  We need to have good judgment in picking out friends because they may be heavy sinners that entice you.

-Most likely someone will not come up to you and ask to kill someone and take everything from him or her.  But bring this same type of example in a small scale and it happens a lot.

-For example a sinner will entice you to bully a kid, make fun of or take their possessions.

-When something like this happens we need to turn the other way and walk away for they only lead towards trouble and hurry to commit a sin.

-Doing these sinful things will set an ambush on themselves.  People who pursue dishonesty take people who profit from them.

-Staying away from trouble is not a punishment; it is good choice that has good outcomes.

-Integrity is being honest and having strong morals, this is a characteristic that we should want to have and want to move towards to.

-Treacherous describes a person that is not trustworthy, dependable or reliable because of deception and betrayal.  This is a characteristic we want to move away form and avoid.

-By being a person with integrity we can inhabit the land but by being a treacherous person can cut you off from the land.

 

Proverbs 1:20-23 Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates. How long foolish ones will you love ignorance? How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge? If you turn to my discipline then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my word

 

-Whether we realize it or not wisdom does cry out to us. God has sent us teachers, parents, musicians, Cougars for Christ, ministers, classmates and more to speak words of wisdom.   Wisdom cries out to us every day.

-We need to stop ignoring the knowledge and learn.

-When you turn to god and read he’s word he will pour out knowledge to you

-When you learn about his word you need to teach his word to others for they too can experience the gospel.  We now need to spread his word especially now more than ever because their has been a decline of Christians in recent years.

 

Proverbs 1:25-33 since you neglected all my counsel and did not accept my correction, I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity.  I will mock when terror strikes, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you. Then they will call me, but I won’t answer; they will search for me, but wont find me. Because they hated knowledge, didn’t choose to fear the Lord, were not interested in my counsel, and rejected all my correction, they will eat the fruit of their own way and be glutted with their schemes.  For the waywardness of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.

Proverbs 2: 11-18 Discretion will watch over you and understanding will guard you, rescuing you from the way of evil-from the one who perverse things, from those who abandon the right paths to walk in the ways of darkness, from those who enjoy doing evil and celebrate perversity, whose paths are crooked, and whose ways are devious.  It will rescue you from a forbidden woman, from a stranger with her flattering talk, who abandons the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God. 

 

-When you neglect, ignore, reject, do not take interest and don’t fear God you will face harsh consequences.

-But when you listen to the Lord and take interest in what he is saying you will live securely and be free from the fear of danger.

-And when you listen to Lord and take interest you will understand right from wrong and you will have the judgment to abandon crooked paths and walk in righteousness.  Your understanding will rescue you from sinners with persuasive talk that try to lead you to do wrong.

 

 

 

 

Proverbs 1:7 the fear of the lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 2:1-10 My son if you accept my words and store up my commands with you, listening close to wisdom and directing your heart towards understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; form his mouth gives knowledge and understanding; He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity so that He may guard the paths of justice and protect the way of His loyal followers. Then you will understand righteousness, justice and integrity-every good path. For wisdom will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart.

 

 

-In verse 7, it is simply saying that if you fear your lord and your one and only god you are beginning to gain knowledge for it is knowledgeable to fear the lord.

– It also says that fools despise wisdom and destruction.  This means that it is foolish to deny, disagree or despise your god’s wisdom and instruction

-Verses one through ten give you a more in depth understanding and goes in detail about this.  It shows us that if we truly do fear the Lord we search his wisdom and guidance in the bible like hidden treasure (sort of like searching today for a winning lottery ticket). You will search because he gives us wisdom and understanding of how to live our life.  He gives us success. He gives us protection.  He gives us knowledge and he delights our heart.

 

 

Conclusion:

 

The main points I want you to receive out of this meeting are:

 

-To be a discerning person and listen to wise and what they say for wisdom cries out to you

-Fear the Lord and be aware of he’s wisdom and instruction and do not reject or ignore it.

-Listen to your Father and Mother and do not reject them.

-Do not follow sinners and do what they are doing

-Once as you learn something from the gospel tell others and spread the good news

-Search for his word like a winning lottery ticket

 

Prayer:

 

Dear Heavenly Father, please incline us to learn about your gospel and spread your word.  Open our eyes to Wisdom and instruction.  Unite us as classmates and friends in fellowship and as followers of your word to get wiser and show others the gospel.  Please let us satisfy you for it would be our joy to do so.

 

Amen

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