International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday September 4, 2011
Purpose: To discover the kind of happiness wisdom provides
Scripture Text: Proverbs 3:1-12
Proverbs 3:1-12 (NRSV)
(1) My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; (2)for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare they will give you. (3)Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. (4)So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people. (5)Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. (6)In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (7)Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. (8)It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body. (9)Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; (10) then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (11)My child, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, (12)for the LORD reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
For the next three months our bible lesson will be about tradition and wisdom. The lessons will come from parts of the bible referred to as “Wisdom Literature” as well as Jesus' teaching from Matthew and the “Sermon on the Mount.”
Our first lessons come from the Book of Proverbs, then we will look at Ecclesiastes and later the Book of Matthew. Other “Wisdom Books,” are the Book of Job and Song of Solomon, as well as some of the Psalms. Some of the characteristics of “Wisdom Literature” are; these writings do not necessarily talk about the history of the Jewish nation nor do they offer ceremonial guidance or instruction, some scholars even doubt they belong in our bible.
Most scholars agree that a majority of the Book of Proverbs was written by Solomon, who has always been considered one of the wisest men to have ever lived.
It is hard to approach the Book of Proverbs without first defining the difference between
knowledge and wisdom. Many think “knowledge” comes from books, while “wisdom” comes from experience. How would you define the difference?
The Book of Proverbs begins with and important statement found in chapter 1 verse 7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Our lesson is written as an instruction issued by a parent to a child. The heart is almost always considered the place where our true feelings abide, even Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander."
The writer/parent teaches things like “loyalty”, “faithfulness”, and “trust in God”. These are all important qualities to have, and they will provide us with a good reputation and keep us humble. Trusting in what we know about God, rather than on our own understanding, means knowing God in such a way that our thoughts and actions are guided by what we know about God through the precepts taught and the environment around us we witness. Fleeing or turning away from evil is important if we want a sense of peace and stability in our life.
The last part of our lesson deals with our responsibility to share what God has provided for us with those that are called to be the teachers and prophets. Lastly we should not be upset or discouraged when we find ourselves the subject of God's discipline. The writer of Hebrews says in 12:6 “for the Lord disciplines those whom he loves, and chastises every child whom he accepts.”
Chastisement from God should be considered a “teaching moment” and hopefully we will have learned our lesson. As parents, that should be an easy lesson for us to accept.