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ProverbsWisdom for Everyday Life
By Walter C. Kaiser Jr.
ZondervanCopyright © 1995 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneStudy 1
If you could ask for only one thing in this world, what would it be? Solomon was given the amazing opportunity to make such a choice at a turning point in his life. His response was shocking. Rather than asking for the gift of riches, long life, success, or power, Solomon requested that God grant him wisdom "to distinguish between right and wrong" (1 Kings 3:9).
As a result of his request for wisdom, Solomon received what he asked for and much, much more! His wisdom surpassed anyone who lived in his day. Moreover, his riches were beyond imagination, and his fame spread across the face of the earth.
The wisdom God gave Solomon has been preserved in the book of Proverbs. This collection of God's practical wisdom continues to inspire believers as much today as it has for thousands of years.
Biblical wisdom is not so much philosophical and theoretical truth as it is practical advice on how to live successfully in this world. Those who follow the principles of wisdom will find success in many areas of life including their family relationships, community experiences, the worship of the Lord, personal relationships, and business dealings.
Our first study investigates some of the goals and aims of wisdom. If individuals and nations would listen to what wisdom teaches, life would be very different for us all. If we would learn to seek to follow the counsel of wisdom, the direction of human history could be changed and many more people would come to know the Lord.
1. What are some things that cause people to be fearful?
What are things that cause us to be in awe and reverence?
What is the difference between being scared of something (filled with fear) and being in awe and amazement (filled with fear)?
2. Read Proverbs 1:1-19. Wisdom's motto in Proverbs is "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge." How does this motto function as the foundational principle of Proverbs?
What does it mean to walk in the "fear of the Lord"?
3. What is the opposite of fearing the Lord?
How does this kind of lifestyle function as a dramatic contrast to the life of wisdom?
4. What is the purpose of the book of Proverbs, according to verse 5?
What can we do to attain this goal?
5. What benefits can we derive from studying wisdom in the book of Proverbs, according to verses 2-4 and 6?
6. The fifth commandment says, "Honor your father and mother" (Exodus 20:12). This command is very similar to verses 8-9. How far should we take the command to honor our parents?
Should we obey our parents if they call us to do something that opposes what God teaches in Scripture? Explain your answer.
7. In verses 10-14, What is the "bait" dangled before those who are enticed to go with the wrong crowd?
How has the allurement of the "easy life" led many to fall into self-destructive crime?
8. How is falling into peer pressure similar to the image of trapped birds in verses 17-19?
Discuss the modern problem of gangs in the cities and what the Bible would counsel us to do about this problem.
9. Read Proverbs 1:20-33. At the heart of wisdom's appeal in these verses is the pronouncement of judgment on those who do not listen to her. What are some of the possible consequences for those who ignore the counsel of wisdom in the following areas of life?
-Business and the market place
-Government and community leadership
-Our lives and homes
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. -Proverbs 1:7
Take time to meditate on "the fear of the Lord." Do you live with an awesome reverence of the God who made you? Take time to read Isaiah 6:1-7. Ask God to help you have a deep sense of his holiness and absolute purity. Take time to physically prostrate yourself before the Lord and kneel before him as you praise him for his holiness, majesty, and sovereign power.
Excerpted from Proverbs by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. Copyright © 1995 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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