CSBC Sunday School: Proverbs Series
Lesson #8: Proverbs 15:33 –16:11
July 26, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Subject: PLEASING GOD!
Central Theme: GOD’S PEOPLE SHOULD PLEASE GOD!
Objective Statement: EVERY BELIEVER SHOULD SEEK TO PLEASE GOD IN FOUR AREAS!
Points: AREA #1 – WISDOM DEMONSTRATED! AREA #2 – ACCOUNTABILITY ESTABLISHED! AREA #3 – MOTIVES MATTER! AREA #4 – BLESSINGS ASSURED!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: THINK ABOUT SOMEONE YOU TRULY ADMIRE AND DESIRE TO EMULATE. WHAT QUALITIES DO YOU ADMIRE ABOUT THEM? Allow for responses but notice that most people say they admire qualities that usually emphasize ATTITUDES those people possess. Even though they may have amazing abilities it’s almost always the attitudes they display that makes them worthy of our praise. When we seek to please God it requires us to do it in our attitudes and actions.
- CONTEXT: From 15-22, Solomon continues stressing the clear difference between people who lived to please the Lord and people who rejected Him. Many of these verses are stand-alone PROVERBS but every one of them has a valuable and inspired piece of information from God. To listen to this wisdom we will prosper with God and receive His blessings whereas those who chose foolish ideas will always end up with calamity. In the section, we will consider today Solomon tries to show the value of pleasing the Lord in all that we do. There is no better way to live than to humble ourselves and submit to the fear of the Lord. This is the beginning verse of our Bible Study today. Turn in your copy of the Scriptures to Proverbs 15:33.
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Proverbs 15:33 – 16:11.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
AREA #1 – WISDOM DEMONSTRATED! (Prov. 15:33, 16:8)
- IN ALL OF OUR LESSONS SO FAR IN PROVERBS WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE MAIN THEME WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED? Well, there are numerous themes, but they always point us to the value of making wise choices and avoiding foolish people and foolish choices. By learning Godly WISDOM we can put those principles immediately into practice in our lives. 15:33 tells us, that Wisdom teaches us proper instructions on how we should respond to God. When we truly realize the magnificence and position of the Creator God it will always lead us to a reverential “fear of the Lord” (vs. 33a). In other words, we develop a “fear” for God which is a respect and love for Him because He is faithful to love us. So when we see God in all of His splendid glory, we realize His greatness, and how really insignificant we truly are. That’s why vs. 33b encourages us to realize true “honor” is a result of “humility.” Our honor comes to us by remembering we are one of His precious children and that’s an honor enough for us.
- Another verse in this passage that teaches us the principle of Wisdom Demonstrated is found in 16:8. Just as true wisdom prompts us to fear the Lord, true prosperity causes us to make “righteousness” our priority. WHAT WORD ENCAPSULATES THE SENSE OF VS. 8? Well, after reading the verse distinctly, the word CONTENTMENT comes to mind. God is saying, if we live righteously, we will be content with very little. And that is a better result than having great riches yet lacking integrity without righteous living. Having wealth doesn’t make a person content, especially if it’s been gathered through acts of injustice. 1 Tim. 6:6 says it this way, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” So the way we live demonstrates wisdom to those who are watching our lives; both other humans and God, Himself.
AREA #2 – ACCOUNTABILITY ESTABLISHED! (Prov. 16:1, 4-5, 9)
- 16:1 reminds us when someone develops a plan, he or she generally spends time preparing each step before the rollout. “Preparations” (vs. 1) give clarity and helps us avoid mistakes that cost us time and money. What is the common saying that carpenters say before cutting a board? Allow time to see if anyone knows the phrase, “Measure twice; cut once.” So careful preparations for life will eventually make it to the “heart” (vs. 1a). That’s where passion comes from. After we have planned, paid attention to the details, and developed a passion for the project, we still must finally trust “the Lord” for the “answer” (vs. 1b). In verses 4-5, the Lord reminds us that He is the One who has made all things. He did it “for Himself” (vs. 4). In other words, if the Creator God made everything for His own Glory, then He has a right to deal with His creatures as He sees fit. Our foolishness drives us to develop plans for ourselves that center on our purposes instead of His. We really should be concerned with doing things His way and for His Honor. Even “the wicked” people who have rejected His wisdom will one day receive the recompense for their rejection. The consequences will come in “the day of evil” (vs. 4b). WHAT IS THE SUMMARY OF GOD’S ATTITUDE ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE “PROUD IN HEART” (vs. 5)? Such displays of pride and arrogancy disgust God. They are “an abomination” to Him, and anyone who gives in to selfish pride will be held accountable. In Proverbs 6:16-19 there is a list of SIX THINGS GOD HATES: 1. Arrogant eyes (vs. 17); 2. A lying Tongue (vs. 17); 3. Hands that shed innocent blood (vs. 17); 4. A heart that plots wicked schemes (vs. 18); 5. Feet eager to run to evil (vs. 18); 6. A false witness and one who stirs up trouble (vs. 19). An ABOMINATION is about as strong as Solomon could have stated God’s hatred for PRIDE. Judgment awaits such wicked people.
- Verse 9 begins, “A man’s heart” which tells us the place where plans take shape. We decide the way we’ll go based on what’s in our hearts. People who reject Him will choose a way that seems right to them ( 14:12). Unfortunately, when a man devises his own way it always leads to destruction and death. But when we place our TRUST in the Lord, our hearts turn to His plan for us and our eagerness to live it out. Once again, the Lord promises that He “directeth” our “steps” along the way (vs. 9b).
AREA #3 – MOTIVES MATTER! (Prov. 16:2, 10-11)
- This Proverb serves as a reminder that we may deceive ourselves into believing that we are doing what’s right. WHAT IS A FREQUENT WAY NORMAL CHRISTIANS DETERMINE THEIR OWN LEVEL OF SPIRITUALITY? It’s true that we often don’t even know our own hearts. Frequently, even believers look at other people and COMPARE themselves to the actions and deeds of others. After judging that we are not as prone to do wrong as someone else, we usually conclude we are more righteous and more spiritual. Verse 2, however, reminds us that even though “all the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes” ( 2a), we deceive ourselves and conclude we are not so bad. However, God alone knows what’s in our hearts. He examines what’s there and judges the purity of our reasons for what we’re doing. In that way, He “weigheth” our “spirits” (vs. 2b). That is why we do well when we make sure that we please Him with our MOTIVES.
- Verses 10-11 continues examining this principle of testing our motivations. Solomon uses an example here of describing an ideal “king” ( 10). For the people in Solomon’s day, the king’s decree had the authority of “a divine sentence.” So if this ideal “king” spoke divine words representing the message from God, what he said and how he handled “judgment” (vs. 10b), would all be motivated by doing God’s work. The king’s motives must be pure. Solomon then gives another example of the value God placed on the right motives. It has to do with merchants who use false weights to profit unjustly on people. God, however, always uses “A just weight and balance are the Lord’s” (vs. 11). If the merchant wanted to have honest motives in his dealing, “all the weights of the bag” will be completely accurate (vs. 11b). So in these two examples of ways to please God through proper motives we see: right actions are a king’s delivery of fair decisions and a merchant’s use of honest measurements. Both of these examples deal with a person’s motives for doing right all the time.
AREA #4 – BLESSINGS ASSURED! (Prov. 16:3, 6-7)
- God values our willingness to “commit” what we do to Him. When we make a commitment to Him, we’re placing our “works” in His hands ( 3). To live in such a way that we desire to please Him, there will be notable results. The key to being CONTENT in Him involves determining that we will devote ourselves to pleasing Him. WHAT BLESSINGS IN THESE VERSES DID SOLOMON IDENTIFY FOR THOSE WHO SEEK TO PLEASE GOD? Well, he promises that the Lord will establish our thoughts (vs. 3b). We will receive God’s mercy and truth (vs. 6a). God will purge our iniquity as we react to His truth (vs. 6a). When we fear the Lord, we will resist evil when it comes our way (vs. 6b). When we “please the Lord” He will cause our enemies “to be at peace” with us (vs. 7). So God highlights the blessings of salvation, rescue from sin, and peace in relationships for those who strive to please Him by committing our works to Him (vs. 3).
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY BELIEVER SHOULD SEEK TO PLEASE GOD IN THE FOUR AREAS WE DISCUSSED TODAY!
- Go back through our text in Proverbs 15:33 – 16:11 and underscore or circle each mention of “the LORD” which in the Hebrew is “Yahweh,” or “God.” Every verse in this section, except verse 8, mentions the “LORD” or “GOD.” Wise living is all about THE LORD!
- All people are accountable to God whether they acknowledge it or not. Pleasing God is borne out of a right relationship with Him and proof of our position in Him is seen in our right attitudes and right actions. God’s blessings on those who please Him are seen in Him giving stability, rescuing from sin, and peaceful relationships with others.
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week remember we are ambassadors of God! Look for opportunities to show other people what salvation and eternal life in Jesus look like through your testimony. The best thing we can do to please God is to make Him known to those who are in desperate need of forgiveness and grace.
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Proverbs 23:17-21; 29-35.