The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1.1-7, NIV)
“When we ask: “How does a person follow God?”, the Proverbs are a good place to start!”
What has been the best advice you have ever received on how to live a Christian life?
What are some practical, hands-on ways in which individuals can learn “wisdom?”
In what ways have you seen the “fear of the Lord” be the “beginning of knowledge”?
“It is one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” (Proverbs 20.3, NIV)
Society tells us we need to defend everything we believe, no matter what. This verse tells us that only fools like to pick fights, and it is a mark of good character to not quarrel. To me it means, it matches up with: “We can’t chose what people say to us, but we can chose how we react.” To me, Jesus exemplified this verse throughout his whole life. Its hard for me not to feel like I need to fight for my beliefs, but then I remember this verse and how Jesus reacted in times he could have quarreled. He was a great leader and spread love through living out his beliefs, not defending/quarreling about them.
In our current culture, how important does it seem for people to try to avoid strife? What examples can you give that support your thinking?
What examples have you seen that demonstrate that those who are quick to quarrel look like fools?
What practical tips would you give to someone seeking to find ways to avoid quarrels and strife? How well do you practice these things?
Ezekiel 39.1-40.27; James 2.18-3.18; Psalm 118.1-18; Proverbs 28.2
It slips up on even the best of us … one careless word spoken in haste, without thought. The end result, however, can be disastrous. Perhaps even life-changing. How have you seen a word spoken in haste change lives forever? How do you work to ensure you “tame” your tongue?
How does God’s blessings or punishment show his glory to other people?
In what ways is your faith so strong that good deeds are a result?
What reasons do you have to give thanks to the Lord?
How do wise and knowledgable leaders bring stability?
Ezekiel 35.1-36.38; James 1.1-18; Psalm 116.1-19; Proverbs 27.23-27
One of the biggest challenges any of us who follow Jesus faces is the struggle to reconcile how bad things happen to us, even when we are seeking to follow him as closely as possible. It would seem our lives would get better … and easier when we follow him. James writes when we face troubles, we should consider it joy. Say what!? What we discover is that as with most things, our faith grows when challenged and stretched. Facing troubles? Know you have an opportunity for growth!
Why would it be important for God to give the people of Israel–and us–a new heart and a new spirit?
When was the last time you asked God for wisdom?
How well do you realize that God hears you? Does your life demonstrate love for him as a result?
How well do you care for those you are able to influence and help follow God more?
Ezekiel 29.1-30.26; Hebrews 11.32-12.13; Psalm 112.1-10; Proverbs 27.17
Hebrews 11 and 12 are some of the most encouraging chapters in all of Scripture. Who doesn’t like the idea of the great men and women of faith cheering you on so that you run without any hinderance? The truth is that we have some of those same people in our lives today. While we certainly praise God for heroes of the Bible, we also need to praise him for those who encourage us every single day to follow him better. Who would make your “modern day” list of faith heroes?
Why would God return Egypt to its rightful place and restore it to its land? What does this say about God’s purposes for countries beyond the nation of Israel?
In what ways has your faith in God allowed you to do great things for him?
How has good come to you as a result of you lending money or operating your business in a fair manner?
How have friends sharpened you?
Ezekiel 21.1-22.31; Hebrews 10.1-17; Psalm 108.1-13; Proverbs 27.12
“I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” (Hebrews 10.17, quoting Jeremiah 31.34) How good is this news? For most of us, we are all too aware that while we forgive people, “remembering them no more” is rarely a reality. Take a moment to think what it means that all of the things you have done in the past are forgotten. Forgiveness from God is not in play today, but revisited tomorrow. Why would we NOT seek it?
Have you ever had a time when you tried to cover your sins, but they were so obvious, there was really no way of avoiding them being known? Knowing this, how does our passage from Hebrews mean even that much more to you?
Where would you be if Christ had not come to take away your sin, good for all time?
How do you demonstrate the confidence you have in God?
What dangers and precautions do you think the Proverb writer is referring to in today’s passage?
Jeremiah 23.21-25.38; 2 Thessalonians 2.1-17; Psalm 84.1-12; Proverbs 25.15
For 23 years God sent his prophets to show Israel the ways they were traveling down the wrong path. 23 years. That seems like a long, long time. Why do you think the people could not understand what God was saying to them after 23 years? Why couldn’t they understand sooner?
Which group of people might one expect to be represented by the bad figs? The ones punished and sent into exile or the ones who remained and continued to live in Jerusalem? Why do you think this is the case?
Stand firm. Why can this be so difficult for us to do?
How have you seen a single day with God better than anything else you could experience?
In what ways can soft speech break bones?