What will happen when one refuses to live by the fear of the Lord and heed His wisdom? “You will reap what you sow,” (Gal 6:7). There is no room for laying the blame anywhere else; note where responsibility lay in 1:24-25. “Wisdom” here stands for God, and remember it is founded on flows from the fear of the Lord (1:7). To reject wisdom is to reject God—always a dangerous thing with definite consequences. Those who reject God (vv. 26-27) will make a mess out of life and reap accordingly. Once the true nature of the terrible consequences begin to be seen there then may be the desire to do right to avoid those consequences, but that kind of “repentance” is sorrowful only for the consequences, not their root cause (vv. 28-30). They are getting what they deserve, harvesting what they cultivated, reaping what they’ve sown (v. 31; cf. 5:22-23; 22:8; Gal 6:7). Verses 33-33 sum up this first “talk” about living by the fear or the Lord.
- Where does sin always lead? Note also James 1:14-15.
- What is the fear of the Lord? What is wisdom?
- What path are you on? You can see the character of your path not only by your character but the character of your fellow travelers. What grace the Lord has shown by detailing the end of the fool—the one who despises rather than fears the Lord. God thus warns the simple so they will gain prudence, knowledge, and discretion (1:4).
- Usually it takes time for a harvest to come; that seeming delay from initial planting and cultivation can lull you into a state of false security. Once the crops finally start to appear you may then become fearful and regretful, but it is too late—the harvest has arrived and you will reap what you have sown. Who are you listening to? (v. 33; note vv. 2, 5, 6, 8, 20-21, 23-25)
Fear the Lord by Turning from Foolishness to the Lord’s Reproofs
God graciously calls sinners (vv. 20-21) to repent of their foolish character, desires, and direction in life (v. 22). When there is genuine repentance, there is a God-given love and acceptance of His truth and the ability to rightly apply it to life (v. 23). Right living is only possible with right repentance. Every aspect of life should be lived for God and according to God’s character and commands. That is the aim of salvation in Christ (Rom 8:29) and the work of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:1-17).
- Do you evaluate the character of your life by your standards or God’s?
- God graciously and mercifully invites us to follow him. How are you responding? How should this affect your prayers and efforts toward those who don’t know the Lord Jesus?
- Your spiritual “temperature” is evidenced by your attitude and response to sin and foolishness (v. 22) and the things of the Lord (v. 23). What are your attitudes and responses to these?
- Why do we have the tendency to stubbornly resist the Lord’s reproofs and keep going our own way?
The first “talk” says that wisdom involves Fearing the Lord by Staying Away from Sinners.
The path of wisdom is to stay away from sinners first by resisting their temptations (vv. 10-14) that entice by “everybody’s doing it,” (v. 11a), excitement (v. 11), ease (v. 12), and extravagance (vv. 13-14). Second, by running from their lifestyle (vv. 15-16), resisting temptation and staying far away (v. 15), seeing their true character and end (v.16). Third, the path of wisdom is to stay away from sinners by avoiding the ruin that will surely fall upon them as a result of their own doings (vv. 17-19). Those who are wise see past glitzy externals and live by the fear of the Lord, for eternity rather than the passing pleasures of sin.
- What is the specific kind of sinful person here?
- How can the basic principles of fearing the Lord with regard to this sin be applied to other instances of temptation?
- Also note Matt 26:41; Gal 5:16-26
Proverbs’ motto (1:7) is developed from this point on to the end of the book. Chapters 1-9 are a series of “talks” that a father gave to his son about biblical wisdom (each begins with “my son”). He begins by urging him to not only hear what he has to say but heed and do it (v. 8). Hearing and heeding godly, biblical wisdom gives true beauty and blessing to life (v. 9). The emphasis here is on the response to biblical wisdom (v. 8) and the result of such a response (v. 9). You won’t enjoy the result without the response.
- How did Jesus describe the difference between just hearing God’s truth and hearing and obeying (Matt 7:24-27)?
- In contrast to v. 9, what does the world look to for life’s “beauty and blessing”?
- What is beautiful and attractive to the Lord is viewed as ugly and out of style by the world.
- How can this help you to pray for parents? For children and young people?
- Everyone is teaching and everyone is learning. What are you teaching and learning?
- What kind of “curriculum” do we have?
This is the guiding principle, or motto, of the book of Proverbs. Proverbs aims to teach wisdom—the correct, skillful application of the fear of the Lord to daily life. To have this wisdom you must “fear the Lord”: a reverent belief in the God of the Bible, exclusively loving, obeying, and worshiping the One you will give an account to. This is the OT way of describing repentant, saving faith, and it is the “beginning” in the sense of being both the foundation and fountain of wisdom (cp. Matt 7:24-27). The one who rejects God and regards Him and His Word as worthless is a “fool”—one who is morally twisted, ignoring God in life. The fool is an unbeliever.
- If you haven’t already, memorize this verse!
- Memorize the definition of the fear of the Lord.
- It is impossible to correctly live life apart from God.
- It is impossible to correctly understand and apply the Bible (“wisdom”) without the fear of the Lord.
- Ask God to help you grow in your fear of Him and to live every moment of your day fearing Him.
This book was written when the Mosaic Law was in force during the OT theocracy, the historical kingdom of God (v. 1). A proverb is a compact statement giving biblical wisdom, and is based on and from the perspective of the Mosaic Law. Proverbs gives believers guidance and direction on how to live life skillfully before God (vv. 2-4). Proverbs—and the wisdom the give—are always needed and essential. Every believer must grow in his faith and ability to handle the Word (v. 5). The greater skill you have with God’s Word, the better you will be able to profit from challenging passages (v. 6).
- Do you welcome God’s Word? V. 1
- Be sure to work hard at accurately handling God’s Word, v.n1 (2 Tim 2:15)
- Diligently learn and apply, be shaped and directed by God’s word, VV. 2-4
- Always be learning! VV. 5-6
- Always have a desire to learn! VV. 4-6. Ignorance is never a good thing.
Today’s afternoon lesson on OT Survey Pastor Greenfield detailed the basic, key chapters of Israel’s history, providing a framework to understand where the various biblical books, events, and people fit in. Here are the Power Point slides, followed by a PDF of the full notes.
PDF Notes: OT Survey Lesson 2