This year in our Sunday School lessons we are going through the books of James and Proverbs to look at the Practical Living from God’s Word. What is located below are the high level points we discussed this week. Please use this tool to follow up with your teens and see how they plan to apply this to their life.
Two weeks ago we discussed Proverbs 1:20-33. In this passage we saw the personification of wisdom walking out in the streets seeking the naïve, scoffer, and the fool. Wisdom is described as calling out yelling to get the attention of those who were forsaking it. As the chapter unfolds we learned quickly what happens when wisdom is rejected.
Group Question: What are the consequences of ignoring wisdom from Proverbs 1? What is the reward for the one who follows wisdom? Is wisdom hiding from us or is she out in the open?
We are told that the one who rejects wisdom will be without wisdom during the consequences of their folly because they rejected the calling of wisdom (Proverbs 1:24-27). They will reap the rewards of the folly they have sown and will be treated in the same manner in which they have treated others (Proverbs 1:28-30). They will be destroyed because of their naivety and foolish living (Proverbs 1:31). In fact we could make the promise that the one that lives like a fool will experience destruction and hardship.
However, in Proverbs 1:33 we are told that the one who does follow the call of wisdom will have security. They will be free from the concerns of death. There is so much rest to the one who walks in wisdom.
I. Search for Wisdom (1-4)
A. Absorb wisdom (1-2)
In verses 1 and 2 we see a lot of verses that talk about actually taking to heart the wisdom that we are constantly exposed to. The reading of God’s Word, the teaching of those who study God’s Word, the wise direction of parents, or even the Biblical counsel of friends.
Question: How do we go about listening to and store up wisdom in our life?
It is important that we view each and every time that we have exposure to the teaching of God’s Word that we are paying attention to what it may mean for us. We should love to learn more about living life God’s way.
B. Seek wisdom like a treasure (3-4)
The next step in search for wisdom is to actually go out and look for it. We have a responsibility to diligently pursue wisdom. We are constantly seeking the right answer for all of life.
Question: We are supposed to be calling out for wisdom and seeking for it like a treasure. How do we do that?
This looks like finding the ways that God may be working through difficult times in our life to be “more conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:28-29). This is to seriously evaluate the teaching of your parents and not just look at it as more rules you have to follow. This is to view conversations on holiness as opportunities to learn more about the wisdom of God as opposed to people trying to ruin your fun.
II. The Work of Wisdom (5-22)
A. The Knowledge of God and Ultimately His Protection (5-8)
In these verses it tells that with wisdom we can understand the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is described well as being overwhelmed by the awesomeness of God. It is recognizing the incredible greatness of God and the love which he shows for us by sending His Son (Jesus) to die for us even though we do not deserve that. When that begins to impact the way we live then the fear of the Lord is a real part of our life.
These verses also say that we will begin to discover the knowledge of God. This is the process of being able to see the way that God is working in our life. This is beginning to not look for how we are affected by life, but first looking for the hand of God in the situation.
Question: As we understand wisdom (living life God’s way) we begin to understand how to respond to situations in the way that God intends (5). How does this offer us protection (6-8)?
The one who walks in integrity is protected by God. We often hear the phrase, “God will not give you more than you can handle,” well this is because of the protection of God over our life.
B. Discerning Life Well (9-22)
1. The ability to Live Life Well (9-11)
As wisdom floods into our life so does the ability to understand how to live righteously, justly, and with integrity. We will begin to see the way to live a life pleasing to God. We will delight in that.
Question: When wisdom enters your mind you will have delight in your heart. Why does delight in your heart come from wisdom in your mind?
When you begin to see the ways of wisdom, then you will delight in the ways that God is working. Often when I am counseling with teens I will begin to see that a corner has been turned when they begin telling me with excitement about the ways that they see God at work all around them. I love it when we get to that point.
2. The ability to Reject Sinful Men (12-15)
One of the most powerful signs of the presence of wisdom is the ability to refuse the perversion of morals around us. When we can see through the hidden traps of sin in our entertainment, friends, and minds, it becomes evidence that wisdom is at work.
Question: These verses tell us exactly what the motives of the wicked men are; to walk in the ways of darkness (v. 13); they abandon the straight way to follow an evil way that can only be described as “dark.” Their way is uncertain, devoid of ethical illumination (see 4:18 and Eccl 2:13). Their “delight” (v. 14) is in doing what is morally evil. Why would we ever find delight in this if we claim to be following after the Lord?
3. The Ability to Reject Strange Women (16-19)
In Proverbs we see the use of the flattering woman of folly. This can be taken literally of a woman who is seeking tempt Solomon’s sons, or it can also be used to relate to the flattery of sin. This could be viewed as the call of popularity, alcohol, food, sex, or even living a double life. This Woman of Folly calls out for us to forsake the covenants that should prevent us from pursuing this relationship. This Folly ultimately will end in destruction.
Question: This picture is of a woman who is not satisfied with the covenants (marriage) that she has made. Why would be easy for a person who is thinking with God’s wisdom to reject such a woman?
When you are able to see through the lies of the flattery and recognize that nothing can satisfy you like the wisdom that God offers you, then the flattery is no longer effective on you. You can speak truth to the Woman of Folly. You can look popularity in the eye and say, “My identity does not come from who likes me, but rather from my risen Savior.” You can look alcohol in the eye and say, “Just because I temporarily forget my troubles, it doesn’t change the fact that God is my only hope.” You can look gluttony in the eye and say, “Nothing I put into my mouth can bring me as much satisfaction as resting in the finished work of Christ.” You can look the lie of a double life in the eye and say, “I may fool everyone, but happiness will never come apart from dependence on God.”
4. The Ability to Live a Righteous Life (20-22)
Question: What is the promise of rest given to the righteous?
Question: How is this chapter similar to chapter 1?
In the end the results are the same as chapter 1. If you forsake wisdom you will be destroyed and face difficulties, but if you follow wisdom you will be secure. It is your choice. Will you reject wisdom or will you pursue it. Do you choose security or destruction?