Lesson #3: Proverbs 3:21-35
June 21, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: CHOOSING WISDOM!
Objective Statement: EVERY BELIEVER SHOULD CHOOSE WISDOM FOR THREE REASONS!
Points: REASON #1 – THE PROBABILITIES OF WISDOM! REASON #2 – THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WISDOM! REASON #3 – THE RESULTS OF WISDOM!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! Although Mother’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year, it was nice that a day for Fathers was added (just to avoid the appearance of favoritism). It is fitting that today we are going to look at a Father who tried to conscientiously impart assistance to his son(s). Even after only a couple of weeks we have started to identify patterns and topics that Solomon wanted to share with his son. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE ISSUES AND SUBJECTS THAT SOLOMON WANTED TO IMPART? Allow for comments like, Wisdom; Knowledge; Discernment; Choosing Good Friends; Avoiding ungodly and sinful acquaintances; Integrity; Being careful about immorality and unholy, sensual, alliances; Trust; Guidance; Choices; etc.
- CONTENT: The Wise and the Foolish are contrasted throughout Proverbs. Solomon’s constant theme with his “Son” is always CHOOSE WISDOM. Don’t allow your heart and mind to be influenced by bad “friends.” Eschew them! Flee from them! Seek godly advice and CHOOSE WISDOM AND BIBLICAL KNOWLEDGE. Like every loving parent, Solomon wanted his son to be happy. But that happiness was predicated on the premise that his son would pursue and apply wisdom to his choices. Interestingly, Solomon portrayed wisdom as an elegant lady ( 1:20-33). She would show his son the path to spiritual maturity and personal contentment by knowing God’s Way. If he followed her, he would discover that walking with her would enrich him. She would become more precious to him than the purest gold or finest jewelry. Devotion to her would bring honor, fulfillment, peace, maturity, and growth to him (3:13-18). As we approach our text today let’s be focused on God’s Will that every believer should desire to pursue and apprehend WISDOM. Here are three reasons why we should heed the message of Solomon to his son.
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Proverbs 3:21-35.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
REASON #1 – THE PROBABILITIES OF WISDOM! (Prov. 3:21-26)
- As Solomon began his instructions to his son in our text, he said, “let not them depart from thine eyes:” ( 21a). So what does “them” refer too? That requires us to back up to vs. 19-20. Those verses tell us that God “created” the world using “wisdom” and “understanding” (vs. 19). It all was made and operates by God’s creative genius. So when Solomon teaches vs. 21 to his son, he is reiterating the need for his student to always keep “thine eyes” upon the goal of “sound wisdom and discretion” (another word for “understanding”). If the young man will apprehend “wisdom” and “discretion” the next verses tell us what will be the result. CAN YOU PICK OUT SOME OF THE POSITIVE RESULTS OF FOLLOWING GOD’S WISDOM (vs. 22-25)? Several answers are obvious; he will have a quality of inner life (“life unto thy soul” (vs. 22)); grace will adorn him; he will be safe by God’s strength; he will avoid pitfalls; he will not be afraid of the unknown; he will have a clear conscience that allows him to sleep restfully; he will be protected by God in the attacks of the wicked; and the wicked will be judged by Him.
- Knowing that God is in control of all these things we trust in His ability to take care of us no matter what circumstances face us. It is God’s PRESENCE that gives us that assurance. “For the LORD shall be thy confidence” ( 26). Our confidence in Him emanates from the awareness that nothing matters more than His presence. We can face the challenges in our lives confidently, knowing that He is constantly with us every step of the way. There is no need to fear or worry when God leads us by His wisdom and understanding.
REASON #2 – THE CHARACTERISTICS OF WISDOM! (vs. 27-30)
- One of the characteristics of Wisdom is that it is generous ( 27). Generosity is a mark of a believer who recognizes a need and moves to help when they can. In the U.S. we live in the most affluent and prosperous nation in the history of the world. When we see people who are hurting or in need, wisdom would lead us to show generosity to those who are less fortunate. The greatest need people have is to know Jesus as their Savior. Sometimes we must help with physical needs in order to get them to a point where they will hear us speak about their spiritual need in Jesus. Notice vs. 27-28. Solomon tells his son not to put off generosity for tomorrow if there is a need for today. Don’t just say pious words when it’s within your power to help people in a tangible way right then and there (see James 2:15-16). If you see a need with your neighbor don’t say come again tomorrow and there will be assistance. Help them today if it’s possible. Someone who operates in wisdom will be generous with the Gospel, with their money, with their time, and with their resources. Another characteristic of Wisdom is to live in peace with your neighbor (vs. 29-30). Solomon told his son, if your neighbors dwells peaceably with you, cultivate that and don’t do any evil against them. Refuse to bring malicious accusations against someone who has “done thee no harm” (vs. 30). A wise person will live in such a way as to encourage and help his neighbor in order to be a witness and testimony before them. It is unwise to create strife between neighbors without a cause. Peace between people is to be protected. Wisdom teaches us to follow the command of Jesus when He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9).
REASON #3 – THE RESULTS OF WISDOM! (vs. 31-35)
- Before Solomon tells his son the blessings for those who pursue Wisdom, he shows the results of the wicked and evil individuals, whose end is destruction. The “oppressor” is someone who has gotten gain by wickedness, graft, and corruption. They have persecuted other people and stolen from them. Solomon says, “Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways” ( 31). In other words, don’t look at their ill-gotten spoils and be envious of them. Their choices will lead to disaster. The violent man whom Solomon warned his son to avoid belonged to a group of “forward” individuals (vs. 32). These were wicked and vicious people who enjoyed doing whatever they wanted, even if it brought pain and suffering to others. Asaph, the Psalmist, wrote about his frustration with these criminals. He noticed that they didn’t seem to be held accountable for their behavior. However, his perspective changed when he went to the House of the Lord. There he could see them through the eyes of the Lord (see Ps. 73). From God’s perspective, they were an “abomination” (vs. 32). Their repulsive lifestyles disgusted Him. On the other hand, the Lord looked upon a “righteous” person in a different way altogether. He considered an upright person to be His friend. His friends had a relationship with Him. As they walked with the Lord, He would give them His counsel. HOW WOULD THE LORD DEAL WITH THE DETESTABLE INDIVIDUALS OF VERSES 31-32? “The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked” (vs. 33). They would not enjoy their treasures or their evil ways very long. Their “house” would fall down around them, and they would be judged for the consequences of their criminal behavior. Their doom was certain because God considered them an “abomination.” When their calamity came, and it was inevitable, all would see their folly. No one would envy them then! In sharp contrast, God’s people would enjoy the benefits of His blessing. The “habitation of the just” (vs. 33b) would exhibit the superlative value of having a personal relationship with God. To be a friend of God, would result in the “just” being known for their goodness and recognizing God’s blessings in their lives.
- Verses 34-35 reveals to us that not only does God curse wicked people, He also mocks them ( 34). Since their lifestyles had mocked God with their injustice and wickedness, and thinking they were getting away with their sin they treat God’s appeals with contempt. These scorners live out God’s curse on them because of the evil choices they have embraced. Their pride will definitely result in their destruction and fall. But just as God will judge the proud, “He giveth grace unto the lowly” (vs. 34b). Once again, we see that the Lord is eager to honor the humble believers and take care of their every need. His lavish kindness to us is the result of the “grace” He extends to us every day. God’s grace towards the humble puts them on the path of wisdom and His “glory” (vs. 35). The Lord will make sure that His people “inherit” a place of honor as “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:17), because they have chosen to be “wise” (vs. 35). Contrariwise, the imprudent have a destiny too, “but shame shall be the promotion of fools” (vs. 35b). Whereas, the wise are on a road of “grace;” the fools are on a path of ‘disgrace.’ Pursue WISDOM!
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
- Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY BELIEVER SHOULD CHOOSE WISDOM FOR THE THREE REASONS WE DISCUSSED TODAY!
- A result of WISDOM in our lives is that it will provide a rationale for how we relate to God and how we treat others. Today we examined the aspect of Wisdom that instructed us to use discretion and discernment. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THOSE TERMS? Well, they certainly involve the choices we make. There is a sensitivity that is required to employ those words. It usually requires a person to be logical and thoughtful in the decisions we make. Most of the time those choices are made without too much emotion or confusion clouding our judgment. So when we use Godly Wisdom, Discretion, and Discernment, there is a call for us to be prudent and knowledgeable about the decisions we make so they will honor God. Be Wise!
- Have you ever been frustrated by the fact that you try and live a God-honoring life and yet things seem so hard and difficult? On the other hand, you look at the ungodly behavior of some of your neighbors or acquaintances and see how they seem to prosper in their life with no fear of consequences for their choices. You conclude “Life’s not fair.” But always remember the wicked and evil who seem to get wealthy in spite of their ungodliness, are all on a hopeless path of future judgment because they have “scorned” and mocked God. But when true believers go to the house of God, they will be reminded that an imminent future that is glorious, blissful, and eternal awaits them because we have made the Wise decision to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Now that’s WISDOM!
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week intentionally try to be Christ-conscious in all of your decisions. The old colloquial saying, “What Would Jesus Do?” is still fitting for our Wisdom choices. By the way, Happy Father’s Day! Dad’s be like Solomon and impart Wisdom to your children this week.
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Proverbs 4:11-27.