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Lesson 9: Words of Truth *

Introduction: Do you want to know the truth? Sometimes fooling ourselves seems more pleasant, but generally we want the truth. The Bible tells us that we can be fooled by what others say. But, if we learn to view the situation through the eyes of wisdom, we would be able to see the truth. Let's dive into our study of Bible-based wisdom and learn more!

  1. Fine Dining

    1. Read Proverbs 23:1-3. With whom are we eating in these verses? (A ruler. Someone in charge.)

      1. Is this a normal dining companion? (No.)

      2. What does this suggest is most important, eating the food or making a good impression on the ruler? (The goal is to favorably impress the ruler, not eat as much as you can.)

      3. Why is the food "deceptive?" (The meal is not about eating, don't focus on the food.)

    2. Read Proverbs 23:6-7. I fear that I am stingy, but not as stingy as some others (well, maybe just one person)I know. Years ago, a couple eating out with us would check the amount of the tip I left for the waiter (I would add an amount to what the couple had left for a tip), and if I left "too much," would announce it was too much and take back part of the tip! How would you know that the person at whose home you are eating is stingy? (When in doubt, assume your host is stingy.)

      1. What is the problem here? (You cannot believe what the host says. He is concerned about you eating all of his food. He is thinking about how much this is costing him.)

    3. Read Proverbs 23:8. How have we wasted our compliments on a stingy person? (You might be saying good things about your host, but all your host is thinking about is how much all of this is costing him!)

      1. What does it mean that you will "vomit up the little you have eaten?" (You are thinking that the food is benefitting you. But, it turns out that your host is thinking about how much he should not be spending on your meal - so the ill-feeling he has towards you negates the good of the food you ate.)

    4. Read Proverbs 24:3-4. We have just had two examples of a situation in which a person is too much focused on food. What does this have to do with house-building? (Wisdom causes you to think about things in their true light. When you understand the truth, you build the "house" of your life and you fill it with treasures.)

      1. Consider the first example: the person is too interested in eating and not paying attention to the circumstances of the meal. What would build this person's house? (Looking beyond the food to your relationship with the ruler gives you wisdom about how to act.)

      2. Consider the second example from the host's point of view: he is too focused on how much the food is costing. What is the cure for that? (The host needs to recognize his selfishness. He should be glad to give good gifts to his friends. If the host will not be cured, you should help pay for the meal.)

    5. Read Proverbs 23:12. How would we apply our heart to wisdom? (By studying these proverbs. If you see yourself in these examples (as I saw myself in the proverb about the stingy man), then you need to learn the lesson. The stingy man is selfish. If you recognize the true nature of the sin and turn away from it, you will build your house!)

  2. Fat and Drunk

    1. Read Proverbs 23:19-21. We just got through discussing fine dining. But, those lessons are not really about eating. Are these verses about eating or not? (They are about keeping our goals straight.)

      1. What is the problem with eating or drinking excessively? (It slows you down. It makes you sleepy. It creates the same problem as sleeping too much.)

      2. No doubt overweight people reading this will say, "Wait a minute! I'm a fast-mover. I'm just fine at doing my work." Others will say, "I know fat people (or drinkers) who are very successful. How would you explain this apparent conflict? (This is like the many texts we studied about how being righteous makes you wealthy. These are general principles. I'll bet that everyone who has lost some "extra" weight will agree that they feel more vigorous after losing the weight.)

    2. Read Proverbs 23:29-30. What does "lingering" over wine do for you? (It gives you bloodshot eyes and a headache in the morning. You find that you have bumped into things and not even realized it. It creates sorrow and strife.)

    3. Read Proverbs 23:33-35. What specific problem is the Bible addressing here? (Strange sights, confused mind, getting hurt but not realizing it, waking up with a hangover and wanting "another drink" are signs of being an alcoholic or a binge drinker. This is evidence your life is not on track to meet your goals.)

  3. The Merits of Wisdom

    1. Read Proverbs 23:22-23. What does it mean to "buy" wisdom and not "sell" it? I am giving away (actually sharing) wisdom in these lessons! Is that a problem? (The text says be a sponge when it comes to wisdom. Always try to acquire more. Never lose sight of the wisdom you have acquired. Writing these studies is teaching me more wisdom!)

      1. From what source can obtain wisdom? (Godly parents.)

    2. Read Proverbs 22:17-18. What other means do we have for obtaining wisdom? (Find a wise person and pay attention to what that person says. Apply the teachings to your life and make them a part of your thinking.)

    3. Read Proverbs 24:1. What should we not do when looking for wisdom? (We should not pay attention to wicked people.)

      1. Why would we even consider looking to the wicked for wisdom? (Because we envy what they own or how they live.)

    4. Read Proverbs 24:21-22. What other source of information should we avoid? (The words of rebels. Rebelling against authority is a serious problem. Having an attitude of rebellion is harmful to your well-being.)

      1. Who are the "two" who will bring "sudden destruction" to the rebellious? (The king and God! I want to be on God's side!)

    5. Read Proverbs 24:5. What does wisdom give you? (Power and strength.)

      1. This seems contrary to our normal view. We don't normally say that thinking gives you muscles. (True power comes from wisdom and learning.)

      2. When I was in school, my classmates were focused on athletics rather than studying. No one grew up to be a professional athlete, but several obtained advanced knowledge in the form of doctorates. How do we balance athletics and scholarship?

    6. Read Proverbs 24:10. What kind of strength are we talking about here? (The wisdom that comes from God. When we face trouble, we should not look to our own puny strength, but we need to turn to God for His strength.)

      1. What, exactly, are you looking for God to do when you face trouble? (Often we are looking for direction. We want to know what to do. In many cases, God has already told us what to do in Proverbs.)

    7. Read Proverbs 24:17-18. I love to gloat when God defeats my enemies! What is the problem with that? (God defeated my enemies, so why am I gloating? This is not the attitude we should have.)

    8. Read Proverbs 24:11-12. What is the attitude that we should have towards those who are on the wrong track? (We should try to rescue them.)

      1. What does the phrase "being led away to death" add to our understanding of the rescue effort? (It means that wicked people are leading those on the wrong track. We may face opposition from the wicked.)

      2. This is a favorite text of those who actively oppose abortion. What excuse is invalid? (Claiming ignorance - when we should have known.)

    9. Friend, the truth is that we need to be more alert. We need to be alert when it comes to eating and drinking, and alert to our circumstances. Gaining wisdom helps us to know the truth. Will you determine today to seek the truth through the effort to gain more wisdom?

  4. Next week: Behind the Mask.
* 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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