CSBC Sunday School: Proverbs Series
Lesson #10: Proverbs 29:1-3; 12-20
August 9, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: EMBRACE DISCIPLINE!
Objective Statement: EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD EMBRACE DISCIPLINE IN OUR LIVES BECAUSE OF FOUR RECOGNITIONS THAT ARE MADE CLEAR IN OUR TEXT!
Points: RECOGNITION #1 – THE GOAL! RECOGNITION #2 – THE AVAILABILITY! RECOGNITION #3 – THE RESPONSIBILITY! RECOGNITION #4 – THE SOURCE!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: Now think hard, but go back to your elementary school days. Can you remember a time when you got into trouble? What did you do and what was the discipline? What kind of discipline did you dislike the most? For the true believer there is a need to understand and embrace discipline in order to truly gain God’s Wisdom. Even talking about the idea of embracing discipline makes most of us uneasy.
- CONTEXT: Although DISCIPLINE is a difficult topic to discuss the Bible has much to say about it. As we learned a couple of weeks ago in Proverbs the word discipline has the biblical goal of correcting attitudes as well as behaviors. In our lesson in Proverbs today we are going to deal with the theme of the nature of discipline. Discipline is closely tied to the issue of AUTHORITY. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE AND ILLUSTRATE AUTHORITY TO A FIRST GRADER? Well, authority is the right to oversee, give orders, and enforce obedience. God has placed us in positions of authority over some and also placed us under the authority of others. We have a responsibility to give and receive discipline wisely. God uses discipline from society, family, and others to shape His people. Solomon is going to share with us some principles about Godly discipline and how it helps us mature as true believers. Although it’s not always enjoyable, it’s always valuable.
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Proverbs 29:1-3; 12-20.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
RECOGNITION #1 – THE GOAL! (Prov. 29:1-3)
- Verse 1 of our text introduces us to the principle of discipline as a pattern of our life, but it doesn’t always imply being punished. Now there may be aspects where discipline can seem like punishment at times, but God’s purpose for the believer is always to make us humbly willing to submit to Him. When we are “reproved” there is a redemptive aspect to that word. But when a man bow’s-up and “hardeneth his neck” ( 1), he resists God’s desire to submit to Him. The difficulty comes when we react to Him and decide to be stiff-necked. WHAT WORD IS “STIFF-NECKED” SYNONYMOUS WITH AND WHAT ANIMAL DO WE OFTER CONSIDER AS “STIFF-NECKED? That term is synonymous with STUBBORN or REBELLIOUS. A stubborn mule will stiffen its neck to resist the bridle. Likewise, a person can react to God negatively when confronted with discipline. To not submit to God’s directives is going to result in His correction. And the future for such a rebellious individual who continually rejects God’s discipline promises to be devastating. They’re “without remedy” (vs. 1b) because they’ve gone too far. What a terrible state to find oneself!
- Verses 2-3 reminds us of the optimistic future for God’s people when they have “righteous” leaders over them. These people are “righteous” ( 2), because they placed their trust in Him. Contrariwise, instead of rejoicing when the “righteous are in authority,” when the “wicked” are in control “the people mourn” (vs. 2b). Verse 3 tells us the man or woman who “loveth wisdom” will bring joy to his or her parents. However, heartache awaits anyone who rejects the Lord’s discipline. Self-indulgence will put a person on a path of satisfying their own lusts. The expression of lust in this verse happens to be “harlots” but lust takes a wide range of forms. The result is always destruction and fortunes can be wasted on a self-absorbed child’s foolish indulgences.
RECOGNITION #2 – THE AVAILABILITY! (Prov. 23:12-14)
- The “ruler” in the days of Solomon had the power to influence the lives of everyone under his reign. When a leader embraced lies, and lacked the discipline to seek out the truth, it produced undisciplined followers and wicked policies. Corrupt advisers will lead even the ruler down an ungodly path by telling him “lies” ( 12). In verse 13 the “poor” represent people who have no power. When a person with no integrity gains influential power, that person will become the persecutor of those who cannot defend themselves. Even though the poor and the oppressors appear to have nothing in common, both have the potential of turning to God and “the LORD lighteneth both their eyes” (vs. 13b). In other words, both the oppressed and the persecutor can call upon the Lord and receive His forgiveness.
- In contrast to 12-13, verse 14 tells us that God will bless “The king that faithfully judgeth the poor.” HOW IS HE BLESSED? Well, that kind of king will have his throne (kingdom) “established for ever” (vs. 14b). Of course, that promise presupposes that the followers of the king’s dynastic line will also honor God and rule with wisdom as they “faithfully judgeth the poor” (vs. 14a). When the successor kings fall away from God’s Law then they will be cut off, as we saw throughout Israel’s kingdom period.
RECOGNITION #3 – THE RESPONSIBILITY! (Prov. 23:15-17)
- The topic of corporal punishment in our society has been adulterated by secular psychologists and psychiatrists that seldom follow any biblical principles about true discipline. When we think about the “rod” we need unmistakable clarity about the difference between discipline and abuse. Parents who have the best interests of their child at heart won’t hesitate to discipline when necessary. They want the child to grow in “wisdom” ( 15). The Bible nowhere advocates child abuse. That approach to punishment can leave physical and emotional scars on a child that can last a lifetime. But a small amount of pain, judiciously administered by a loving parent with the right heart attitude, and the appropriate teaching (“reproof”), will bring wisdom in the child over time. If you only use words and not action, the child will ignore you (see vs. 19). If you only use the rod and not words, the child will begin to resent you because there is no love expressed. There will be confusion. But action-oriented discipline is powerful and effective when it is administered with the right reproof (instruction). Whereas parents delight in godly children, it crushes them when the children wander after ungodly ways and the paths of sinners. A child who grows up with no discipline or instruction in wisdom, will grow up aimlessly and pursue foolishness in their youth that eventually will bring “shame” to their “mother” (vs. 15). Solomon warns his son that “When the wicked are multiplied,” then sins around him will increase (vs. 16). That is a concern and challenge for every parent. But we know the “wicked” will not prevail and ultimately, “the righteous shall see their fall” (vs. 16b). When we follow God’s pattern of biblical discipline, God promises us that there will be a good outcome. It is one of the joys of life when your children grow and mature and become fine Christian adults who love God and serve Him. When those results occur “he shall give delight unto thy soul” (vs. 17). That’s when “righteous” people will be pleased that they taught their children to live as disciplined individuals in an undisciplined world. Giving attention to the discipline of their children results in long-term blessings for parents.
RECOGNITION #4 – THE SOURCE! (Prov. 29:18-20)
- Without discipline, people “perish” ( 18). The word for “vision” in vs. 18 does not have to do with our physical eye-sight. In Hebrew, it has to do with the wisdom we receive when our thoughts turn to the vital necessity of hearing from the Lord. Where there is no revelation from God, “the people perish” (vs. 18). Listening to God focuses our thoughts on Him. It helps us to direct our energy according to His purposes. When believers listen to the preaching of God’s Word, and open up the Bible and hear from God that way, and we keep His “law” and live in obedience, there will always be positive results. In fact, vs. 18 tells us the insights we get from the Lord and instruction in His Word, we will have “happy” hearts as believers.
- Verse 19 illustrates a truism using a master/servant relationship. When you read the verse and discover the masters’ words go unheeded by the servant; he understands the instructions, he just ignores them. This proverb about the servant brings up the problem of stubbornness. Every parent here has experienced this challenge with their teenage children. Followers of Jesus can hear what He’s saying to us, but we may not be willing to conform our lives in keeping with it. However, wise Christians are disciplined to take God’s direction seriously. We listen and obey. As we move to verse 20, notice something interesting. The man discussed in the verse is NOT called a fool. But even a wise person who speaks too quickly will come to the same result as the fool. WHAT DOES IT MEAN WE SPEAK TOO QUICKLY? Perhaps we speak before we have thought through a matter biblically. We speak before we make it a matter of prayer. Maybe we speak before we have all of the information that is needed to give an answer. So Christians need to be slow to answer and use wisdom in our responses. It is always wise to choose our words carefully and not speak too hastily. For the person who “is hasty in his words” ( 20), he or she has less hope than a fool. Hope is squandered by an unwillingness to be quiet long enough to listen to God.
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD EMBRACE DISCIPLINE IN OUR LIVES BECAUSE OF FOUR RECOGNITIONS WE DISCUSSED TODAY!
- Consider these principles for PARENTING IN PROVERBS: Parents give godly instruction to their children (1:8-9; 4:1-4; 6:20-24). 2. Parents delight in godly children (17:6: 23:23-25; 29:3, 17). 3. Parents discipline their children as an expression of love (3:12).
- WHAT PRINCIPLE DID WE DISCUSS TODAY WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU? Allow for some interaction about various impressions. Hopefully, the importance of discipline in all of our lives and in the lives of our children should be one of the significant take-a-ways.
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: This week, be careful to avoid the temptation to be stiff-necked when faced with discipline. What is God trying to teach you through a time of testing? Remember, when we fear the Lord, it leads to humility. That attitude always makes it easier for God to communicate His Will and His Plan to you. This week listen for God’s direction in your life and obey it!
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Proverbs 31.