CSBC Sunday School: Proverbs Series
Lesson #1: Proverbs 1:7-19
June 7, 2020
Resources: Phillips; Braddy; MacArthur; McCrary, B. Jennings, Explore the Bible
HOOK: (Why should we listen to this lesson?)
Central Theme: STARTING TO LIVE WISELY!
Objective Statement: EVERY PERSON CAN START TO LIVE WISELY BY LIVING ACCORDING TO THREE PRINCIPLES!
Points: PRINCIPLE #1 – FEAR THE LORD! PRINCIPLE #2 – LISTEN TO ELDERS! PRINCIPLE #3 – AVOID THE SINFUL!
- FOCUS ATTENTION: Have you ever had this kind of thought? “If I knew then what I know now, I would have made better choices?” Or maybe, “If I had just listened to what they said, maybe things would be different?” As people become more “seasoned” it’s not unusual to have thoughts like that. We sometimes express regret over how we acted. We all joke about the older people giving unsolicited and unappreciated advice on how the younger people should live. But often there is wisdom in that advice. We usually learn life lessons in one of two ways. We can “live and learn,” or we can “listen and learn.” We all go through the process of living and learning and often that is a course of trial and error. As the wise sage often says, “Experience is the best teacher.” But there is extreme value and benefit by listening to wiser people and learning from their experiences. We often avoid many heartaches by gleaning from the life knowledge of those who have traveled the road.
- CONTEXT: Today we are going to begin a Bible study in the Book of Proverbs. From this Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament we can listen and learn from people who have experience in life’s lessons. This Book is part of God’s inspired Word. All throughout the Bible we learn from ‘Holy men of old who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.’ The entire Bible is “God-breathed” and it’s all Wisdom Literature. Much of Proverbs was written by Solomon, the great King of Israel, (970 – 931 BC). We get to hear his thoughts, inspired by Holy Spirit, to help us know how to live. There are two kinds of people spoken of often in this book – the wise and the foolish. God’s Word warns us of the consequences of foolish choices. You will, hopefully, be surprised at how relevant and applicable the wisdom of this Book is today for every believer.
- Let’s Explore the Bible in Proverbs 1:7-19.
BOOK: (What does the Bible say?)
PRINCIPLE #1 – FEAR THE LORD! (Prov. 1:7)
- This verse is the foundational principle of the entire Book of Proverbs. The word “fear” has the idea of moral reverence toward God, but it also includes the thought of dread or being scared. If a corrupt person takes honest inventory of their sinful condition before a Holy, Righteous, God, there should be a reverential awe of the Creator, but also a dread of Him because we are so unworthy. The word translated “Lord” is the transliterated name of God, Jehovah. It means “self-Existent or eternal” and is one of the most commonly used names of God; showing up 6,521 times in the Old Testament. People may acknowledge the existence of a Deity because of special revelation, but there can be no fear of Jehovah God, without knowledge of Him specifically. We could not properly understand who God is without His self-disclosure. In His amazing GRACE He has revealed Himself to us. The 2 main reasons God gave us His Word, is to tell us how we can come to God (salvation); and how we can KNOW GOD (sanctification)! Solomon says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” It is a right, reverent, and fearful response to God’s revelation about Himself. In the OT world, “knowledge” bore a striking similarity to “wisdom.” So the wise believers see things God’s way so they can do things His way.
- But as Solomon often does, he offers a contrast to the response of the wise. The wise person respects, reveres, honors, and worships God out of knowledge of who God is. But the “fools despise wisdom and instruction” ( 7b). Fools have no use for God. They don’t value or cherish the “wisdom” He can give. WHAT DOES THE WORD “DESPISE” INDICATE? (Well, it means they hate God’s Word and His wisdom. They mock it and ridicule it. They belittle those who would hold to it. They loathe and scorn God’s instruction. They are so depraved in their behavior and attitude they reject anything or anyone who is associated with the things of God). “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).
PRINCIPLE #2 – LISTEN TO ELDERS! (vs. 8-9)
- Solomon had asked God for wisdom above all else when he first became the King (1 Kings 3:6-9). God granted that request to Solomon ( 10-14). Now, Solomon addressed his own “son” with a desire to pass this wisdom and “instruction” to his child. It could be that Solomon was sharing this knowledge with all of his sons, or perhaps it was to young men in general. He tells his son, “hear the instruction of thy father” (vs. 8). The key word is “hear.” This word means, to physically comprehend with an inclination towards obedience. Listen and obey the instruction of your Father. He was to also give careful attention to the teachings of his mother which were equally valuable (vs. 8b; Prov. 31:1). Solomon then points to the reward for those who take heed to God’s wisdom offered by ones father and mother (vs. 9). We don’t often speak of the two items of clothing used in this verse but in biblical days they signified victory and honor. An “ornament” placed on their heads signified they had accomplished something important. Perhaps they had won a race or a battle. By connecting garland with seeking wisdom, Solomon assured his son that God would show him “grace.” God would be gracious to him as he lived in wisdom. When we display God’s wisdom in our lives today we wear God’s blessings like a crown of victory and honor. Others notice we are people of God. In the biblical days, “chains” likewise signified honor. Remember how Pharaoh gave Joseph a gold pendant around his neck to notify every one of his honorable status (Gen. 41:42). Belshazzar put a gold pendant around Daniel’s neck (Dan. 5:29). By mentioning the “chains about thy neck” Solomon urged his son to rest in the certainty that God’s wisdom would render a life of true honor. There is also an application here for our modern Christian. Although the clear injunction is to listen and obey your father and mother (vs. 8-9; Eph. 6:1-3), there may be other “elders” in your local church or in your life who can also offer you godly insights and wisdom. Heed their advice and glean biblical direction everywhere you can; especially from God’s Word.
PRINCIPLE #3 – AVOID THE SINFUL! (vs. 10-19)
- Solomon’s compassionate concern for his “son” resonated in his instruction to avoid the temptation to join a group of bad influencers ( 10-12). Many young people have made their first steps away from godly behavior by associating with poor friends. There is always an enticement to be accepted and to be part of a group. Solomon’s example is one of ungodly and violent friends who lead people into evil. WHAT DOES THIS KIND OF ACTIVITY REMIND YOU OF IN TODAY’S SOCIETY? It sounds like gang activity doesn’t it? Lurking and killing innocent people and to “swallow them up alive as the grave” (vs. 12). This kind of evil behavior is certainly the actions of a fool, and not someone who is wise. Gang type activity continues to be described in vs. 13-14. Not only would they snuff out life from someone but they would also feed their greed. ‘Join into our activities and we will profit from the spoils we steal’ (vs. 14). These evil actions remind us of the “mob actions” of recent looters and thieves in Minnesota and other places who just justified their own sinful behavior under the guise of social justice for someone unjustly killed. Solomon says, “My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path” (vs. 15). Never, ever, get involved with such evil, wicked, ungodly, sinners such as these! Be Wise! Avoid temptation to join evil doers because they are violent and doomed. The idea of “refrain thy foot from their path” is Solomon instructing his son not to even take the first step on their path to wickedness. Getting on their road would start with one step, so Solomon urged his son never to take that first step. They run in the direction of evil and rush to participate in the shedding of blood (vs. 16). Don’t ever be tempted to join them!
- In verses 17-18, the author introduces the picture of a bird watching those who set a trap in vain. The bird will not be lured into its demise if it watches the trap being set. But people who are lured into a gang to participate in violence are on a path of selfish indulgence that will result in their own lives being destroyed in their own trap. The foolish will find their actions result in their “own lives” being forfeited by their own failed effort to trap others. No wonder Solomon tried to warn his son about the path foolish people would take when greed consumed them ( 19). Greedy for more, the foolish man would stop short of nothing so he can have everything he craves. Solomon says to his son in the most sincere way possible, avoid all such evil doers because they will lead you to destruction. Be Wise!
LOOK: (Why is what it says important?)
- Objective Statement (Repeated): EVERY PERSON CAN START TO LIVE WISELY BY LIVING ACCORDING TO THE THREE PRINCIPLES WE EXAMINED TODAY!
- Ignoring God’s wisdom still puts a person’s life in jeopardy. For that reason, mature Christians eagerly seek His wisdom through His Word. We want to please Him and not ourselves. Therefore, we reject temptation to do evil and practice sinful habits like GREED.
- From our very first lesson in Proverbs we are instructed to seek WISDOM and avoid FOOLISHNESS. We should be prepared for those ungodly people who would seek to draw us away from God and into their sinful paths. We should be quick to listen to the instructions of our fathers and mothers and other godly leaders. We must learn DISCERNMENT when it comes to choosing our friends and associates. Bad influencers will undoubtedly injure our relationship with God and other wise councilors we have in our life.
TOOK: (Why is it important to me? What should I do with it?)
Evaluation: God’s Word warns us of the consequences of foolish choices. True wisdom starts with a right relationship with God. This week do your best to consider the godly instruction of spiritual people in your life. Obedience to godly counsel leads to blessings. Also, be careful to avoid influences in your life that would pressure you to engage in ungodly behavior and wicked activities. Those people don’t care about you or they would not entice you to ignore godly wisdom and practice self-destructive habits. This week seek after God’s Wisdom! You know where to find it; in God’s Word!
In preparation for our next Bible Study please read Proverbs 3:1-12!