Sabbath School Lesson for March 7-13, 2015

Living by faith was just that to the ancient Hebrews. Faith wasn’t just about thoughts and emotions. It encompassed the way they lived. It influenced the choices they made for right or wrong. And to the devout follower of God even today, living by faith means living by the law of God, the express image of His will.

This idea of trusting and following God as our first priority stands out in our study of Proverbs 28 and 29 this week. Both the rich and the poor are given counsel and receive the mandate to love the truth of God. Since Jesus is Truth, our focus in life should be on Him. Love for Jesus Christ should be the motivation for everything we do or say. Our trust in Him enables us to live by faith.

Key Text: “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” Proverbs 28:25 NKJV

Here we have it. You either put your trust in man or you trust God. But relying on human philosophies and the intelligence of man is a trap, a snare, it says.

Jesus Himself has told us to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33). Only by living a life that puts God first, leaving the consequences to Him, will we be able to enjoy the blessings of heaven, either now or in the eternal hereafter.

Sunday: Keep the Law

To many people any mention of the word “law” evokes a feeling of confinement, perhaps even like wearing a straitjacket, with no freedom for us to move on our own whatsoever.

But keeping the law is not meant to be restrictive. As a matter of fact, sin is what actually restricts us. The purpose of the law is to free us from the consequences of sin. Would we really want to live in a community or country that had no laws?

Therefore we should welcome the law into our lives. The boundaries it provides, the guidance for our decision-making, and the way it can change our lives for the better should attract us to the law, instead of turning us away.

Proverbs 28:18 supports this by saying, “Whoever walks blamelessly [who obeys the law] will be saved, But he who is perverse in his ways [those who don’t obey the law] will suddenly fall.” NKJV

Here are two other verses in chapter 28 that speak of the law:

“Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, But a companion of gluttons shames his father.” v. 7 NKJV

“One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.” v. 9 NKJV

A word on gluttony… Strong’s Concordance defines it as excessive appetite. This might describe any kind of appetite for sin or lawlessness. The Living Bible calls this companion of gluttons a member of a lawless gang, in other words, a gang member. We can certainly picture that situation. Most parents are anything but proud of their youth who join gangs.

About our prayers being an abomination… that just means they are detestable to the hearer. Why should we expect God to hear us when we refuse to hear His law? This isn’t saying He doesn’t hear them, but that our prayers are unpleasant for Him to hear. And understandably so.

Discussion Questions: Read Romans 1:16, 17. Is this passage saying that living by faith doesn’t include keeping the law? In what way is keeping the law an act of faith?

Read Proverbs 29:18. How does revelation (or prophetic vision) impact our keeping the law? Consider the times in ancient Israel when they had no prophet. Were the people more or less obedient to God during those times? And why?

How different as a whole is one’s life when he is keeping God’s law? How different would YOUR life be without God’s law? What benefits do you receive by keeping it?

Monday: Seek the Lord

Examine Proverbs 28:4, 5 in two or more Bible versions and notice if there might be a connection between keeping the law and seeking the Lord. For example:

“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But such as keep the law contend with them. Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand all.” NKJV

“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” NIV

The New International Version is a bit easier to understand here. But in both versions we find the word “law”, or “torah”, twice in verse 4, and the word “understand” is found twice in verse 5.

Keeping the law and seeking to understand the Lord are definitely related in the mind of Solomon. Both activities belong together.

  • Keeping the law without seeking the Lord is legalism.
  • Seeking the Lord without keeping the law is hypocrisy.

Paul also recognized this connection in Galatians 3:24, which says, “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” NKJV The law and faith belong together. You cannot separate God from His law.

The torah does not replace God. It’s just a tutor, or teacher, that leads us to God.

Discussion Questions: How would you explain or define the expression “justified by faith” in Galatians 3:24? What does it have to do with keeping the law or seeking God?

Is having faith in God a rational position? Is it more illogical or irrational to reject God than to believe in Him? Why or why not?

Tuesday: Words for the Rich

Several “words of wisdom” are given to wealthy individuals in Proverbs 28:

  1. Earn your wealth by hard work. “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows frivolity [plays around, chases fantasies, pursues worthless pursuits] will have poverty enough!” Proverbs 28:19 NKJV
  2. Don’t try to get rich fast. “A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished… A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.” Proverbs 28:20, 22 NKJV
  3. Don’t get rich at the expense of the poor. “One who increases his possessions by usury [by loaning money at excessive interest rates] and extortion, Gathers for him who will pity the poor.” Proverbs 28:8 NKJV
  4. Be generous to the poor. “He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.” Proverbs 28:27 NKJV

As we see in these verses, it’s not only important how we get our riches (#1, 2 and 3), but how we use them (#4).

Discussion Questions: How might Solomon’s advice apply to gambling and lotteries? In what ways?

Read Mark 4:19. How are riches deceitful?

Read I John 2:15-17. Although this is talking about the love of the world, how does it relate to riches and wealth?

Wednesday: Handbook for the Poor

The poor are also addressed in this chapter:

  1. The rich and poor are equal in God’s eyes. “The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives light to the eyes of both [they are created equal See ch. 22:2].” Proverbs 29:13 NKJV
  2. It’s important how we treat both the rich AND the poor. “A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food [instead of being a blessing, he turns out to be a source of destruction].” Proverbs 28:3 NKJV
  3. Being poor does not entitle one to be dishonest. “Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” Proverbs 28:6 NKJV

As we have seen, Solomon recognizes that even the poor can be oppressive, dishonest, and less than generous. He reminds us that these traits are dangerous for anyone who displays them.

Class warfare seen today is compounded by the fact that so little of God’s wisdom is displayed in the marketplace, or the economies of the world.

haves have nots

Discussion Questions: Although it’s easy to imagine the rich oppressing the poor, how is it possible for the poor to oppress the rich? In what ways does oppression, jealousy, and covetousness affect all of us?

Read Matthew 5:44, 45. Why does God expect us to love those who are our avowed enemies? How are we told to do this in these verses?

Thursday: Loving the Truth

II Thessalonians 2:10 says, “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” NKJV

Isn’t the whole purpose of childrearing (and witnessing) to teach people to love the truth? Only by loving the truth will they be armed to fight Satan’s deceptions and temptations. KNOWING the truth is only part of our goal of interacting with others. They must be encouraged to LOVE the truth.

Proverbs once again addresses how to raise a child in Proverbs 29:15:

“The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” NKJV

We’ve all witnessed what happens to a child who is left on his own. The results are not pretty. But Solomon also reminds us that mere words are not what is needed. See Proverbs 29:19:

“A servant [employee, or anyone in our charge] will not be corrected by mere words; For though he understands he will not respond.” NKJV

Leadership of any kind takes firm and consistent policies, faithful instruction, and being a good role model, in order to be successful.

Discussion Questions: Why do you think loving the truth is so important?

Think about our modern media outlets, television and the internet. How do they contribute to a lack of morality in our society today? Are they partly responsible for people not loving the truth?


Living by faith is accomplished by a full understanding of:

  • what it means to keep the law (faith is more than just thoughts and emotions)
  • the importance of seeking the Lord (must go hand in hand with keeping the law)
  • loving your enemies, both rich and poor (jealousy and selfishness must be overcome with love)
  • loving the truth (knowing the truth should lead to loving the truth)

“The laws of God have their foundation in the most immutable rectitude, and are so framed that they will promote the happiness of those who keep them…Religion brings man into personal relation with God, but not exclusively; for the principles of heaven are to be lived out, that they may help and bless humanity.” ~Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 325- 326


Although people may believe that the Second Coming hasn’t happened yet because the gospel hasn’t been preached to all the world, there is another factor to consider:

“If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tenderhearted and pitiful, there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one.” ~Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9: 189

Determine to be more courteous and tenderhearted toward others this week, by visible acts and expressions of kindness.

Practice this love in action specifically for:

  1. a family member,
  2. a church member, and
  3. a neighbor or co-worker, not from your church.

Next Week: The Humility of the Wise

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