Sabbath School Lesson for April 27-May 3, 2019
The book of Proverbs holds many fine goals for maintaining a happy family. Among the questions examined this week are…
- What should we look for in a husband or wife? (Sunday)
- What qualities should good parents have? (Monday)
- What is the best way to discipline children? (Tuesday)
- What can humor do to improve the stresses of family life? (Wednesday)
- What makes a husband or wife so valuable to the entire family? (Thursday)
People are naturally drawn to King Solomon’s advice in the book of Proverbs. Solomon was considered the wisest and wealthiest ruler of his time (1 Kings 10:23).
Down through the ages, his writings have been recognized for imparting profound wisdom when it comes to the management of family life. Solomon instructs us to depend on God for sustenance. God alone can provide the foundation we need to encourage others to remain faithful.
Families play a significant part in vindicating His name before the universe. And, of course, this is why Satan has done everything possible to offset, downplay, disrupt, and corrupt the influence and existence of families.
King Solomon was highly aware of this situation, and by writing Proverbs, he hoped to impart to his own sons and daughters the necessity of following God in some very real and practical ways. The messages included in the poems, sayings, and instructions of this highly-acclaimed monarch should be motivation for us to also leave a legacy of wise counsel to our children.
Memory Text: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6 NKJV
This verse expresses the heart of the matter by reminding us that the Lord is the One who imparts wisdom. Trusting in God, and not our own understanding, creates in us a truly humble, teachable spirit. We can be guided into safe life paths, when we rely on His wisdom.
Sunday: Love the Right Woman
Chapter 5 of Proverbs addresses the dangers of adultery. Its advice pertains to both men and women and should be heeded by those who are married or unmarried. Premarital sex and unfaithfulness to a marriage partner are both dangerous activities that take away from the sacredness and commitment God intended for the marriage relationship.
The bottom line is that sexual intimacy is intended for marriage, and anytime we engage in casual, promiscuous sex we must answer to God for that choice.
In chapter 5, Solomon strongly cautions his sons not to fall under the influence of an immoral woman. He basically reminds them that “one thing leads to another”, as parents of every generation have tried to convey to their sons AND daughters.
Read Proverbs 5:3-6. How does Solomon describe an immoral woman? Why is instability sometimes a difficult trait to identify, especially for young people? Why would daughters be equally in danger of an immoral man?
Read Matthew 19:5, 1 Corinthians 7:3, 4, and Hebrews 13:4. For what reasons do you suppose God insists on monogamous relationships, marriage to one person at a time?
Read Proverbs 5:18. How does this verse indicate that marriage can be of value even as we get older? What are some of the benefits of marriage in our senior years?
Monday: A Call to Fathers
Throughout Proverbs, Solomon gives counsel to fathers, which might also apply to parenthood in general. Fathers are to have these traits and characteristics:
- Be a hard worker, providing well for your offspring (Proverbs 13:22; 27:23, 24).
- Be a place of refuge, calling on God to keep family members as safe as possible (Proverbs 14:26).
- Be gentle and soft-spoken with young ones, not scaring them into obedience (Proverbs 15:1, 18; 16:32).
- Be an honest role model, one who will not be considered a hypocrite (saying one thing and doing another) (Proverbs 17:27).
- Be a conscientious and sensitive disciplinarian, correcting family members in appropriate ways (Proverbs 29:17).
Read Proverbs 13:22 and 27:23, 24. For what purpose should parents strive to gain wealth? How can too much wealth also be a hindrance to families? Although being a hard worker sets a good role model, when can too much work not be beneficial to children under our care?
Read Proverbs 14:26, Psalm 91:2, and Deuteronomy 4:9. What is the best way to protect our children? How are children taught to trust in God?
Read Proverbs 15:5. Why is it up to the son or daughter to heed the advice of a parent? How does this affect our discipline when they are young?
Tuesday: Correction With Love
Many parents have seen the “rod of correction” as a spanking device only, but the shepherd’s main use of a rod was for the purpose of guiding the sheep, keeping them all together–correcting their direction, when they started to stray from the flock.
Loving parents will use this tool for the same purpose. Discipline is not to be seen as punishment, but as a method to teach children values, communicate their love, and build close relationships within the family.
Making children feel loved conveys to them the love of God. The whole purpose of discipline/correction–it is to guide them to Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who can be their lifelong Guide.
Parents are merely stand-ins for Christ. The family is one of the most important mission fields we are called to enter. With loving discipline, children can be led to follow God. What an opportunity for parents!
Read Proverbs 29:15 and Ephesians 6:4. What is the purpose of appropriate discipline? What are the results of being too strict, too lenient, and not providing any discipline at all? How does one keep a proper balance of methods that prove redemptive to a child?
Read Deuteronomy 11:18, 19. What do these verses tell us about the importance of communication between parents and children? Why is what and how we teach children so important?
Read Proverbs 13:24 and 19:18. Why is timing important to parenting?
Wednesday: Is Life Better on a Rooftop?
Besides keeping love as a top priority in family operations, humor is also seen as an essential ingredient to reduce stress and make home a pleasant place to be. King Solomon sprinkled humor in his sometimes heavy counsel to lighten the tone and bond himself with his readers.
One can’t help but smile when he states, “Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house with a contentious woman.” See Proverbs 21:9 (And, of course, wives could show you many a contentious man as well!)
There is also talk of someone who “blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning.” See Proverbs 27:14. Yes, “night owls”, as they are called, do not appreciate their early-morning-riser friends, “blessing” them with their loud, cheery, “alarm clock” greetings.
Solomon endorsed laughter and having a positive outlook on life as good medicine. A broken spirit was said to dry the bones (Proverbs 17:22). Our physical health is closely related to our mental health.
Keeping a cheerful attitude, joining others for a good laugh, can be a very healthy activity. Every family should be seen as a place that encourages humor, hope, and real joy.
Read Proverbs 21:9. Describe a contentious man or woman. How can humor help both the contentious and the one enduring another’s contentious behavior?
Read Proverbs 25:20, and 27:14. How do you deal with someone who is innocently insensitive to others, such as the friends of Job? How does humor help in these situations?
Read Proverbs 17:22, 12:25, and 15:13, 15. What is at least one remedy for depression and anxiety? What is the responsibility of those around a depressed person to help him/her deal with it?
Thursday: A Truly Wealthy Wife
The last chapter in Proverbs contains a glowing description of a good wife. Even though man is thought to be the “provider” of the family, we must not forget the contribution that a godly woman brings to her household.
To help the Israelites remember a wife’s virtues, each verse (beginning with verse 10 of chapter 31) starts with one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. See Psalm 119 for a similar alphabetic acrostic.
Any man or woman who fears the Lord will be…
A truly wealthy person is one who has good character, who worships God with humility and joy. A woman of true worth cares passionately for her family and her God. And her offspring and husband love and praise her for it.
Read Proverbs 31:10, 11. Why is trust an important factor in the life of a family? How is trust related to love?
Read Proverbs 31:30. What makes any person truly beautiful?
Read Proverbs 12:4 and 1 Corinthians 11:7-12. Why is woman considered either a curse (his shame) or a blessing (his crown) to her husband? And why is the man either a curse or a blessing to his wife? In what ways are men and women equal, and yet different, according to this Corinthian passage?
The greatest message Solomon’s book of Proverbs (called “Book of Wisdom” in Rabbinical writings) may have left us is the need for parents and grandparents to communicate their values and faith in God to their offspring. Families for generations now have benefited from the wise counsel in this book.
The book’s sometimes witty, but always practical, comments have been treasured by those seeking a solid foundation in building a Christian life. Young and old find the common sense approach in Proverbs valuable for understanding the divine perspective and handling the many stresses of everyday life.
It’s 31 chapters lend itself easily to a one-chapter-a-day Bible study for a month. In such a study, you will find guidance for every aspect of our human relationships. The principles found there apply in some way to all times and cultures.
Here is a rough division of what you find in Proverbs:
- ch. 1:1-7–the purpose of Proverbs
- ch. 1:8-ch. 9–proverbs to youth
- ch. 10-24–proverbs of Solomon
- ch. 25-29–proverbs of Solomon recorded by King Hezekiah 230 years later
- ch. 30–words of Agur
- ch. 31–words of King Lemuel
The final chapter 31, about the virtues of a good woman, wife, mother, and neighbor, is unique in ancient literature. It presents a very high and noble view of women that was not common for its time. We see the woman here in sharp contrast to the woman of chapter 7.
The description of wisdom (a key theme throughout the book) found in chapter 8 is another interesting topic to explore. The perfect wisdom in this chapter contains all the qualities we find in Christ. Wisdom became visible to us in the life of Christ. Colossians 2:3 mentions Christ “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.
Look for Christ in every book of the Bible. He, who is said to be the Word (John 1), is found in almost every page.
Next Week’s Lesson: The Royal Love Song
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