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Sabbath School Lessons on Proverbs
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 11: Living By Faith *
Introduction: Two topics we discuss this week are the law and
transparency. You might guess this means, "Those who live behind
glass windows should not throw stones." But, you would be wrong.
Instead, "transparency," means letting people see all of what you do.
No secrets. This helps you to live by your standards. If God's law is
your standard, then if you believe that something should be secret,
that is a clue that what you want to keep secret is something you
should not be doing. Let's dive into our study of the Proverbs!
- Government and Law
- Read Proverbs 28:2. Would you like to live in a country
with "many rulers?"
- If not, why? (It seems that with many rulers comes
many rules - and they might well conflict.)
- What is the best way to govern a country? (To live by
the rule of law. "A man of understanding and
knowledge maintains order.")
- Does this principle also apply to our personal
lives? (God's law should be the "rule" in our
- Read Proverbs 29:4. How do bribes fit with the rule of
law? (They don't. The king who takes a bribe subverts the
rule of law for personal gain.)
- What is the result to the country?(It destroys
stability and tears the country down.)
- Read Proverbs 28:3. Note that the NIV translates this
differently than most other translations. The NIV says "A
ruler who oppresses...." Other translations say, "A poor
man who oppresses...." What is driving rain with no crops?
(A missed opportunity! If a ruler is unfair to the poor,
the result is terrible. If the poor are unfair to the
poor, they, too, have squandered an opportunity.)
- Read Proverbs 28:4. What two classes of people do we find
in this proverb? (Those who keep the law and those who do
- What characterizes those who do not keep the law?
(They praise the wicked.)
- What characterizes those who keep the law? (They
resist the wicked.)
- There is a debate in the United States about the role
of religious belief in politics. What does this text
suggest? (The righteous are obligated to resist the
- What law are we talking about here? God's law
or the law of the state? (God's law, but there
should be a relationship between God's law and
human law. Read Romans 13:1-2.)
- Read Proverbs 28:5. We have seen that wicked people do not
support the law. Why? (They do not understand justice.)
- Read Proverbs 28:15-16. How do you explain that God
sometimes has wicked and tyrannical rulers in charge? (God
is in charge, but He gives humans free will. Sometimes
humans put wicked leaders and tyrants in power - or fail
to resist them.)
- Read Proverbs 28:12. What does it mean to "go into
hiding?" (Everyone wants to avoid dealing with a wicked
ruler. But, it can also mean that wickedness is allowed
to continue by those who are afraid to raise their voices.
On this we must be careful. Recall in Romans 13:2 the
warning against rebellion.)
- The Poor
- Read Proverbs 28:6-7. We have read many proverbs which
tell us that there is a positive connection between being
righteous and having success. What does this proverb say
about that connection? (It is not always true. Sometimes
the rich are perverse and the poor are blameless.)
- What does this suggest to us as a motive for
obedience to God? Should we do it for the money?
(Obedience is its own reward. Whether we have money
or not, an obedient person lives a better life - a
life that reflects well on his or her parents.)
- Read Proverbs 28:9. Does God hear the prayers of the
wicked? (Read Matthew 9:10-12. When Jesus was on earth He
made a point of spending time with sinners. It is hard to
imagine that has changed.)
- If Jesus listens to the prayers of sinners, then what
does it mean that those who do not pay attention to
the law have detestable prayers? (What is the point
of praying? To have God help you or others, right?
The point of the law is to help us. Therefore, if we
pay no attention to the law, why would God look
kindly on our requests for help?)
- Read Proverbs 28:10. Have you seen good people mislead by
bad people? If so, how does the Bible say that will work
out? (The bad people will fall into the trap they have
made, but the good people will come out alright in the
- Read Proverbs 28:11. What does this teach us about wisdom
and wealth? (This rich man does not have wisdom, but the
poor man does.)
- Why do you think this is true? (The pride of the rich
can blind them to truth.)
- Why does the poor man have discernment? (He is not
blinded by pride. Plus, we often have a better
ability to see the sins of others than we have of
seeing our own sins.)
- Read Proverbs 28:27. Why is our relationship with the poor
counterintuitive? (The rules are reversed because giving
means we get more. Refusing to give means we end up
- Read Proverbs 29:7. Why are wicked people unconcerned
about justice for the poor? (It does nothing to help them.
On the other hand, the righteous understand God's love for
all. Note that the poor require both justice and aid.)
- Read Proverbs 29:13. This seems to be an odd statement.
What does it mean to "give sight to the eyes?" (Both the
oppressed and the oppressor understand what is going on.)
- So what? (God's final judgment is justified. No one
can claim ignorance.)
- Read Proverbs 28:13. Why would you want to conceal your
sins? (Pride - you don't want others to know about your
sins. It might also be a matter of trying to keep out of
- What does confessing your sins do for you? (It gets
them out in the open in the sense that you admit the
- How open are these sins? (We've discussed in
the lessons before the idea that we confess sin
to God, not to other humans, unless we have
harmed them and the confession could make
- What about the idea of living a transparent
life; how does that relate to confessing sins?
(If you let others see how you live, and if you
have shared with others your standards, it is
unlikely that you will do something that is at
odds with your standards.)
- Scan Romans 14 and read Romans 14:22-23. This suggests
that some secrets are fine. How can you know what aspects
of your life should be transparent and what is best left a
secret? (The general rule should be transparency. However,
if you are absolutely confident that what you are doing is
not sin, and you know that others wrongly think it is a
sin, then for the benefit of the others - not your benefit
- you should keep it between you and God.)
- Read Proverbs 28:14. What does it mean to "harden" your
heart? (To determine that you will do what you want,
without regard to God's laws.)
- Read Proverbs 28:25. What is the source of the problem
with a "greedy man?" (Selfishness. He wants more.)
- What is the logical link between being greedy and
creating dissension? (You are kicking and shoving to
get to the top. You want people to notice you.)
- What, in contrast, does the wise person do? (Trusts
- What does this have to do with transparency? (We now
know that those creating a commotion in life are not
those who trust in God.)
- Friend, our study shows that integrity, transparency,
obedience to established rules, and concern and justice
for the poor are the path to a better life and a better
country. Why not make these things your goal?
- Next week: The Humility of the Wise.
* 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.