Lesson #2: Proverbs 3:1-12
June 14, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Subject: DIRECTION OFFERED!
Central Theme: DIRECTION FROM GOD!
Objective Statement: EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN RECEIVE DIRECTION FROM GOD BY LIVING OUT FOUR IMPERATIVES!
Points: IMPERATIVE #1 – REMEMBER GOD’S WISDOM! IMPERATIVE #2 – TRUST GOD’S COMMANDS! IMPERATIVE #3 – HONOR GOD’S POSSESSIONS! IMPERATIVE #4 – ACCEPT GOD’S DISCIPLINE!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: When was the last time you stopped to ask for directions? When was the last time you bought a paper map? If you are of a certain age (and probably no one in this group is old enough) you may have memories of using such a map to find directions. If you are under a certain age (which all the women here qualify) you likely have never purchased a paper map. The introduction of technology like GPS for our cars and on our phones have made getting directions pretty accessible. Oh, how handy it is to make decisions about the best route to go. If only making life’s decisions were that easy!
- CONTEXT: Proverbs teaches us wisdom of how we can avoid the pain and difficulties in life by adhering to the instructions of the wise teacher. Solomon warned his son to be aware and be on guard of two kinds of evil individuals that would seek to harm him. First, Solomon described evil men whose words or actions could never be trusted. They enjoyed deceiving others with their warped, cruel words and crooked, perverted ways. They were willing to indiscriminately hurt people and even kill others. Get away from them! Second, Solomon pointed to an evil woman who would lure young men and seduce them with her unrestrained immorality. Going into her house would be like taking the first step toward the grave ( 2:16-19). Stay away from her! As we will see in our ongoing study from Proverbs we can find incredible answers to the questions of life’s direction for living. We often struggle with the path we should take and we lack the wisdom on our own to know exactly which decision is within the will of God and what we ought to do. As we study the book of Proverbs we find that this book is extremely practical. In it, we find the answers to life’s difficult questions. How can we receive direction from God? According to the principles that we’ll see in Proverbs 3, God wants to put us on the right path. We can get the route from God for our lives! How is this possible?
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Proverbs 3:1-12.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
Objective Statement: EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN RECEIVE DIRECTION FROM GOD BY LIVING OUT FOUR IMPERATIVES!
IMPERATIVE #1 – REMEMBER GOD’S WISDOM! (Prov. 3:1-4)
- Ever since Moses was given the 10 Commandments by God at Mt. Sinai, the Jewish people had been directed to honor their parents ( 20:12). Solomon echoed the significance of this principle to his son as he urged his children to “forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments” (vs. 1). However, Solomon did not want this truth to be an exercise in memorization that did not affect change. Solomon wanted this “law” to be embedded in his son’s “heart” (vs. 1b). HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN VERSE 2? IS IT A PROMISE OR A PRINCIPLE? Well, we all know examples of young people who have been obedient and have honored their parents, yet they have suffered difficulties in life and some have even died tragically in accidents or through illness. So not every child who lives godly will live a long and peaceful life. So it’s not an absolute promise that will magically protect every young person from calamity. However, it is a very significant principle that is revealed throughout God’s Word. Solomon is stating a profound probability of God’s blessings upon the righteous. When the young listen, take to heart, and obey the wisdom and instruction of their parents the probability of their life being extended and improved is significantly affected in a positive way. Conversely, those who ignore the wisdom and commandments of the wise people in their life find that the length and quality of their life is affected negatively as well. A fulfilling life is described in vs. 2 as “peace.” When we take God’s instruction to heart, He gives us a sense of His peace that gives way to wholeness.
- Solomon continues in 3-4 to encourage our hearts to be devoted to “mercy and truth” and don’t let them forsake you. We wear loyalty and faithfulness like a beautiful necklace around the “neck” for everyone to see (vs. 3). When Solomon instructs his son to “write them upon the table of thine heart” (vs. 3b), he meant to chisel them into like stone or wood. This is something more permanent in nature than writing on paper as we do today. The idea is to make these virtues not only the external decoration of your life, but the internal conviction of your heart. What is the result of such actions? “So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man” (vs. 4). When someone is devoted to living with peace, mercy, and truth as their source of godly direction, they will find approval from God and have a sterling testimony before men. In order to go the direction God wants us to move, not only must we remember God’s wisdom for our lives but we must also obey imperative #2.
IMPERATIVE #2 – TRUST GOD’S COMMANDS! (vs. 5-8)
- Solomon continued to teach his son about integrity by bringing up “Trust” ( 5). Wise people learn early in their life the remarkable value of placing their wholehearted TRUST in God alone. The foolish people place their faith in themselves and bank on their own wisdom (Prov. 28:26). Verses 5-6, are given in the form of a command; it’s not optional; it’s an imperative. READ DISTINCTLY PROV. 3:5-6! WHAT WORD SEEMS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU IN THESE VERSES? Certainly Trust is a key issue. But it’s trust in “the LORD.” He is the Object of our trust. Heart is the seat of where our trust in the Lord must reside. Understanding is essential; (that deals with the Wisdom issue). Ways speaks to the direction of God’s leading. Acknowledge means we recognize all power and authority resides in Him. “He shall direct thy paths” is all about God leading us all the way. Verses 7-8, continue the challenge to adopt God’s wisdom and trust in Him and not in our own wisdom (vs. 7). In other words, we are not to live by our own prideful and arrogant plans. Vs. 8 tells us that walking with the Lord in humility and integrity has a positive impact on our health too. When we “fear the Lord, and depart from evil” (vs. 7b), it is medicinal. It renews our strength as we trust in Him. God gives us wisdom and energy that can have a positive effect on our physical well-being as well as our spiritual growth. Remember, this is a principle and general result and not a universal promise. We are not propagating a health and wealth theology here.
IMPERATIVE #3 – HONOR GOD’S POSSISSIONS! (vs. 9-10)
- WHAT DOES VERSE 9 EMPHASIZE FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD? Well, we are to “Honour” God in our stewardship. There are two words that describe a wise manager of possessions in this verse. One is “substance” and the other is “increase” ( 9). Substance has to do with all the things we own. It could also be translated “wealth.” We are, therefore, to be good stewards of what we give to the Lord, but also for wisely managing all that we have. “Increase” speaks to the new income God blesses us with all the time. “Firstfruits” is the command in the Jewish Law to give God a percentage, a proportion, of what came in. They were to give it first, before they gave anything else. They were to give their BEST. Verse 10 provides an insight to the results of honoring God first. Again, this statement is more a probability than it is a promise. In other words, we do not give of our increase in order to have full barns and bursting produce. No, the principle we find here, and throughout the Bible, is that when we are generous and show wise stewardship, it’s honoring to the Lord and it invites the blessings of God in our lives. God is a debtor to no man! So we get direction from God by remembering His wisdom, by trusting Him completely, by honoring Him with His provided wealth, and lastly:
IMPERATIVE #4 – ACCEPT GOD’S DISCIPLINE! (vs. 11-12)
- Sometimes God’s “chastening” of His people can be hard to take; at least at first. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DISCIPLINE AND PUNISHMENT? There is an important distinction that not everyone makes. Punishment has a goal of just meting out a penalty to address the issue of negative behavior. But true biblical Discipline has a goal of changing a person’s ATTITUDE and Behavior. God’s “chastening” has to deal with His “correction” ( 11), as well. It addresses the heart attitude along with the corporal remedy. So why does God deal in chastening and disciple with His children? The answer is clear in Vs. 12! God wants His best for His faithful children so when we chose a path that is not the best for us, God will lovingly correct His sons and daughters to bring them back into obedience. Even an earthly father does that for the children he loves (vs. 12). So God blesses His kids when things are going well (vs. 9-10), and He wants us to TRUST Him when we must go through suffering (vs. 11-12). No matter the circumstances, always remember God LOVES You!
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
- Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY CHRISTIAN CAN RECEIVE DIRECTION FROM GOD BY LIVING OUT FOUR IMPERATIVES!
- In many of our lessons over time, we have encountered key verses in the Bible that are worthy of committing to memory. We have encouraged you to make those verses part of your life. Proverbs 3:5-6 are some of those verses. Why don’t you work hard to memorize those two verses? They will serve you well all the rest of your life!
- God provides direction for those who trust in Him. We have a tendency to rely on our own intelligence, abilities, and understanding which is nothing but PRIDE. As true Christ-followers we must remember that true WISDOM and direction comes from a loving, Heavenly Father who wants the best for His children. If we obey Him and give Him our best it will be a blessing in our lives and will even add to our health. Even when we stray from His precepts, and we receive His chastening for correction, always remember He loves us and that’s why He redirects our paths. Accept His loving discipline when it is warranted!
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week watch for those moments of God’s direction and instruction as He guides your paths. Don’t keep going back to your own ways, but rather acknowledge His plans for your life and TRUST that He wants what’s best for you because He loves you! Count your many blessings, name them one by one! It will surprise you!
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Proverbs 3:21-35.