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Lesson 5: The Blessings of Righteousness *

Introduction: Do you know someone whose life is out of control? To be truthful, does your life seem to be on the edge of losing control sometimes? We could all use a little help. Normally, we pray that God will help us with our problems. But, did you ever consider that God has already helped us? In Proverbs God gives us His advice for living a better life. What do you think about people who are too lazy to read instructions, and instead call to be told what to do? Let's plunge into our study of God's instructions for living a better life!

  1. Children and Parents

    1. Read Proverbs 10:1. Why would Solomon mention the mother with the foolish son and the father with the wise son? (The father is proud of his successful son. The mother is the one who especially suffers when her child makes bad decisions.)

    2. Read Proverbs 10:2-6. We have a series of sayings about the connection between money and righteousness. What virtues do we find associated with having wealth? (A connection with God, diligence, and working while the opportunity presents itself.)

      1. Which one seems the most important, if you just look at context? ("Righteous," the religious aspect of things, is mentioned more often than the other virtues.)

    3. Look at Proverbs 10:2-6 again. What defects in character are associated with poverty? (Theft, covetousness, laziness, sleeping when you should be working and violence.)

      1. Which seems the most important defect in character, if you just look at context? (It mentions being "wicked" twice, but it mentions a form of laziness twice and illegal behavior twice. Even when being wicked is mentioned, it is generally defined as some specific failure in the person's actions. Thus, it seems that the most important factors leading to poverty are specific actions (or lack of action).)

    4. What does this teach us as parents? If we (fathers) want to be proud of our children and we (mothers) want to avoid grieving over our children, what should we teach them? (We need to teach them about the love of God, and we need to teach them to be diligent.)

  2. Chattering Fools

    1. Read Proverbs 10:8-10. Has anyone ever said that you talk too much? Did they say it because they wanted you to be silent so they could talk more?

      1. Our texts refer to "chattering fools" twice. What is the problem with talking in these verses? (In verse 8 the problem is the fool is talking when he should be listening to instruction. In verse 10, the fool is talking when he should be paying closer attention to the person who is signaling that he intends to cause harm.)

    2. Let's slip down to Proverbs 10:19. Is doing a lot of talking a problem in itself? Why would the Bible suggest that many words indicate a problem with character? (If you always want to be the center of attention, it demonstrates a character flaw - vanity.)

    3. Read Proverbs 10:11-14. We have several statements about the use of our mouths, both good and bad. Why is the mouth of the righteous "a fountain of life?" (Have you ever been blessed by the words of someone else? If you have, you understand how words can give life.)

      1. Do words only give life to the listener? (Notice that speaking loving words "covers" wrong actions. This tells us that those who speak uplifting words also benefit from those words.)

      2. What happens to the "chattering fool" who speaks wicked things? (They suffer violence and ruin, they create dissensions and they are punished for it.)

    4. Read Proverbs 10:21. Are good words like food? (They must be. The idea is that positive words, positive advice, lead to a better life for those who listen. This is similar to the prior statement that the right words are a "fountain of life." "Fools" do not listen, and they die because of it.)

    5. Read Proverbs 11:12. What about making fun of our neighbor, or bullying him? (You don't do that if you are a person who has good judgment and understanding.)

    6. Read Proverbs 11:22. Beauty is a great advantage in life. What can spoil beauty? (A lack of discretion in your words. It destroys your beauty because the "pig" part of you is what others mostly see.)

  3. Integrity

    1. Read Proverbs 11:1-4. Notice that of the four statements, three have to do with integrity. Is Proverbs 11:2 out of place? Or, does it also have something to do with integrity? (Pride is generally a false way of looking at yourself. If everyone knew everything about you, perhaps you would be less proud and more humble.)

    2. Read Proverbs 11:6-7. What are the two problems with ill-gotten wealth? (Your evil desires end up trapping you. Worse, death ends all hope and pleasure for the wicked. For the wicked, things did not end up as they planned.)

    3. Read Proverbs 11:13. Does this mean that secrets are good? That people of integrity keep secrets? (Apparently, there are situations in which keeping something confidential is the right thing to do.)

    4. Read Proverbs 11:16-17. What other kind of integrity can we show with our words? (Being kind to others in what we say. Being kind results in blessings coming our way. Our kindness is returned with increased respect. On the other hand, being cruel and ruthless brings trouble and only temporary, if any, wealth.)

    5. Read Proverbs 12:20-22. Do you know people who lie to create trouble? What is the result of this kind of behavior?

      1. What should you do in the face of this kind of evil behavior? (We should promote peace.)

  4. Generosity

    1. Read Proverbs 11:24-25. The world's view of giving is that when you have given something away, you have lost it. What does the Bible say about us being generous with our time and money? (That we have even more!)

      1. Have you ever tried this? (Recently, I had an unusual situation arise and my wife and I gave money to help. Shortly thereafter, I received money in about the same amount I had given. I recall thinking, "I should keep this up, give this new money away, and see how far this goes." But, I fear selfishness got in the way.)

    2. Read Proverbs 11:27. Have you ever heard someone say, "No one is friendly at that church?" "Everyone is mean to me?" What is the source of the problem, according to this verse? (If you are friendly, people will be friendly to you. If you are searching for unfriendliness, you will find that. I practice this (being friendly)all the time when I'm traveling, and I find that it blesses me in practical ways.)

    3. Read Proverbs 11:31. Where will the righteous find their reward? (We look to heaven, but this teaches that the righteous have a reward here.)

      1. Will the ungodly and the sinner get what they deserve? (Yes. They get it during this life.)

    4. Read Proverbs 12:23. Does this mean that we should be stingy with our knowledge? If we can help others, why would it be prudent to withhold our knowledge?

      1. Read Proverbs 12:15-16 and Proverbs 13:3. Do these verses cast light on the idea of keeping knowledge to our self? (I don't think God suggests that we refrain from helping others with our knowledge. He recommends generosity in other contexts. I think the counsel is against bragging about what we know rather than listening. It is counsel against speaking before thinking. Sometimes what we know will harm others.)

    5. Friend, did you notice how much of the advice for better living that we studied this week has to do with what we say? Why not ask the Holy Spirit to bring this advice in Proverbs to your mind at the right time?

  5. Next week: What You See Is Not What You Get.
* Copr. 2015, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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