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.
This section of Proverbs has pretty common trait used in Hebrew poetry. It is called a Chiasm. A Chiasm is simply the use of repetition to get the point across. It starts with a general statement and ends with that same statement, the second point and the second to last point reflect each other and they all lead to one middle truth that is the main driving point of the poem. Here is an example:
A. Opening Lines
B. Explanation Lines
C. Direct very clear statement
B’. Explanation Line
A’. Concluding remarks
So this is how this poem goes.
A. Introduction: An Appeal from wisdom (20-21)
Proverbs 1:20–21 (NASB95)
20 Wisdom shouts in the street,
She lifts her voice in the square;
21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:
One of the problems many people have with doing things God’s way is that they claim that it is just too hard to know wisdom. They don’t realize that wisdom is right in their face.
Group Question: This passage says that Wisdom is out in the open for all to find. Where are the places where we can find Wisdom? (Remember the definition of wisdom in Proverbs is Living Life God’s Way)
According to this passage wisdom is out there yelling in the streets. Wisdom is not playing a game of hide and seek. Wisdom is not even just standing there hoping you see her. No wisdom is yelling out trying to get your attention like the peanut vendor at a ball game.
So where can a teen find wisdom (living life God’s way)? The obvious answer is God’s Word this is the source of wisdom so any other answer must be in agreement with God’s Word.
How about parents as a source of wisdom? God has placed your parents in your life for a reason and you can seek wisdom from them. One of the lessons I learn all the time as I get older is the wisdom of my parents. I realize that they were a lot wiser than I gave them credit for.
How about longtime faithful followers of the Lord? You could talk to people who have faithfully served the Lord. I am talking of people like Jerry Jamison, Dr. Smith, or Mildred Goode. They have a ton that they could offer you.
How about your youth leaders? They are not here because of the pay. They are here because of their desire to see you grow in your walk with the Lord.
B. Address to the naïve, scoffers, and fools (22)
Proverbs 1:22 (NASB95)
22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded?
And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing
And fools hate knowledge?
In order to understand these verses we need to define a few words:
Naïve – This is a person without any direction. They just are influenced by everything around them. (i.e. adjusting to the culture on issues that God clearly has something to say about). ). I see this person as someone who is trying to juggle pleasing the Lord and doing what they want. This can not happen because if you appease your flesh you will be rejecting the Lord.
Scoffers – This is a defiant person against the things of God (i.e. I am a freethinker and do not care what the Bible says I have to decide for myself). This person knows what God’s Word says yet they are determined that they do not want to do it that way.
Fools – This refers to a person who has no sensitivity to morals at all (i.e. they are so wrapped up in sin that they can justify and do not care that it is direct rebellion against God). This person does not even care if there is a God because their sin is dominating them so much. Let me give you a quick warning here.
The path between being naive, a scoffer, or a fool is very short. It will not take long for you to go from questioning whether you should obey or not and leading others to reject God’s teaching or even not caring at all about God.
Group Question: Describe how a teen may be tempted to be naïve, a scoffer, or a fool? What do you need to guard against to avoid falling into these groups?
C. Wisdom will make herself known (23)
Proverbs 1:23 (NASB95)
23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
Wisdom is waiting to help the person who is willing to seek her. She is wanting to be known by the naïve, scoffer and fool. . If you are naive, a scoffer, or a fool the second you seek wisdom you will find her. Wisdom will be poured out on you.
Group Question: What does it take for the person who is naïve, a scoffer, or a fool to find wisdom?
The first step to receiving this wisdom is to call out to God in humility. “God I know I have tried to do my own thing by rejecting your teaching, but I need your wisdom to help me grow. I want to please you please show me how to.”
D. Wisdom Has Been Neglected (24-25)
Proverbs 1:24–25 (NASB95)
24 “Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
25 And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
Remember the ways that Wisdom has made herself known. She is screaming for you to see her. She is right in front of you saying, “Follow me, Seek Righteousness, Fear the Lord.” The naive, scoffer, and fool are intentionally ignoring wisdom.
Group Question: Why would the naïve, scoffer, or fool reject the wisdom that God offers?
E. The Judgment for Neglecting Wisdom (26-28)
Proverbs 1:26–28 (NASB95)
26 I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
27 When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
Group Question: Is Wisdom wrong for the language she uses when describing the way she will respond to the destruction of the naïve, scoffer, and fool?
The personification of Wisdom laughing at the calamity of the naive, scoffer, and fool may seem like harsh language, but think about the situation a bit. These folks are saying our way is better than your way and now they are stuck in a situation they cannot get out of. And even if they turn to Wisdom now they are in too deep.
D’ Wisdom Has Been Neglected (29-30)
Proverbs 1:29–30 (NASB95)
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
30 “They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
Now the poem is starting to back out by repeating the previous lines. The destruction is there because they rejected the call of Wisdom.
Group Question: If the naïve, scoffer, and fool have rejected wisdom then shouldn’t they be prepared for failure?
C’. Folly will be evident (31)
Proverbs 1:31 (NASB95)
31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
Group Question: According to this passage what is the reward of living in a naïve, scoffing, or foolish life?
When a person rejects Wisdom and is surrounded by the naive, scoffer, and fool they should be expecting to be treated in a way they deal with others. You will reap what you sow.
B’ Fate of the naïve, scoffers, and fools (32)
Proverbs 1:32 (NASB95)
32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
Group Question: What is the result of a life that is defined by being naïve, a scoffer, or a fool?
One promise I can make with certainty is this. The life defined by being naive, a scoffer, or a fool will result in destruction, misery, and difficulty. You cannot be entangled in sin and expect to be without consequences.
A’. Conclusion: An Appeal for Wisdom (33)
Proverbs 1:33 (NASB95)
33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
The person who rejects wisdom will have destruction, misery, and difficulty, but the one who follow Wisdom will be able to rest securely in the comfort of God.
Group Question: You have heard the result of neglecting wisdom, will you pursue wisdom or live like the naïve, scoffer, or fool?