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Lesson 5: Wise Words for Families *

Introduction: Families are under attack. The definition of marriage and family is changing in the popular culture. The pressure of culture has both spouses working hard so that "family time" is limited. Even when the family is all together, they are often looking at screens and not talking with each other. The idea is to pass Biblical principles down to your children. How much time is spent on that? Culture also promotes marital unfaithfulness. Let's explore what wise words the Bible has to protect families against the popular culture!

  1. Faithfulness

    1. Read Proverbs 5:1. Who is speaking? (This is written like a father speaking to his son.)

    2. Read Proverbs 5:2. What will listening to these words and putting them into practice do for us? (It will help us with discretion and preserve knowledge.)

      1. What does it mean to "maintain discretion?" (I think it means you will choose wisely.)

      2. What does it mean for "your lips" to "preserve knowledge?" (Your children will listen to what you have to say on the topic.)

      3. Do you think that this advice is gender specific? (The language is, but I think the advice is not.)

    3. Read Proverbs 5:3. Will you be attracted to an adulteress? (Yes!)

    4. Read Proverbs 5:4. Will the end of your relationship be as pleasant as the beginning? (No, it will be bitter.)

      1. What does the "double edged sword" reference tell us? (We will get badly hurt.)

    5. Read Proverbs 5:5-6. Does the person who desires to have an affair with you think that she (or he) are doing the wrong thing? (They don't think about it. They look at the excitement of the moment, and not the "way of life.")

      1. If the person seeking the affair thought about the way of life, what would that person conclude? (It leads to bitterness and death.)

    6. Read Proverbs 5:7-8. What is the best approach to avoiding problems? (Stay far away.)

      1. Is that what the natural heart desires? (When someone who is not your spouse says that you look great or sexy, it is a great boost to your ego. These are things most people love to hear. You want to spend time with the person who praises you.)

        1. What is the obvious conclusion for those who are married? (Compliment your spouse! Compliments from others will mean less.)

    7. Read Proverbs 5:9-11. What starts out as a great ego boost ends how? (You lose your wealth. Your life ends in a groan. You ego sinks.)

      1. Why does your life end in a groan? ("Your flesh and body are spent." The affair is focused on your "flesh and body." You no longer are attractive.")

    8. Read Proverbs 5:12-14. What is the main failure? (To follow advice. To accept correction.)

    9. Read Proverbs 5:15-19. Where should we direct our attention? (Our spouse!)

      1. Re-read Proverbs 5:19. What does this say indirectly to the spouse? (Don't "let yourself go." Don't say, "I'm married. It no longer matters how I look, dress, or act.")

      2. How many times have you seen an affair involving someone who is worse looking than the spurned spouse? (This happens because the appeal to ego is blinding. But, you should still try to remain attractive.)

      3. How important is selfishness in marital unfaithfulness? (Proverbs points to a failure to take advice. A major theme of the Bible is self-denial. The unfaithful spouse says, "I prefer myself over my spouse and family." As we age, self-denial is involved in exercise and proper diet.)

    10. Read Proverbs 5:21-23. God affirms that He sees all. How does He view marital unfaithfulness? (He calls it "great folly.")

      1. It is hard for us to realistically evaluate our actions. Can you see why God calls it not simply "folly," but "great folly?" (From the point of view of wealth it is folly. From the point of view of your relationship with your children it is folly. From the point of view of living a peaceful life it is folly. It can also create peril for your job. God is right!)

  2. Parents and Children

    1. Read Proverbs 13:22. Is this saying that if you are a good person you will leave an inheritance for your children and grandchildren? This is a goal if you want to be called "good?" Or, is this saying that a natural result of obedience to God is accumulating enough money to help your family for two generations? (I think it is the second meaning. God blesses the good person. The sinner will lose his wealth to those who are righteous.)

      1. Recall that we just discussed the financial downside of marital unfaithfulness? Is that part of the reason why the "good" will have more money to leave?

    2. Read Proverbs 13:25. How can you make sure that your children are properly fed? (God will look out for those who are faithful!)

      1. What does it mean to be "faithful?" (Read Proverbs 27:23-27. (Proverbs links faithfulness with attention to duty. It teaches that we should pay careful attention to our business, because wealth is not guaranteed to continue. For the farmer, each year is new.)

    3. Read Proverbs 13:24. Notice that two forms of guidance are mentioned: the "rod" and "discipline." They have two meanings. One can literally mean a "stick" and the other means to "chasten." Why do you think two terms were used?

      1. Read Proverbs 29:1. It is unpopular in some circles to spank a child. My wife, a retired elementary teacher and an expert in discipline, points out that there are many creative ways to discipline without striking a child. What should we be concerned about if we do not properly discipline our children? (When they get out in the world, they will be destroyed. In the debate over spanking, this is an important consideration.)

      2. Let's go back and look at Proverbs 13:24 again. What is the motive for disciplining your children? (Love. If you are striking your child because you are angry, you have completely missed the point. Proper discipline is motivated by love, not anger.)

  3. Wife

    1. Read Proverbs 31:10-12. Earlier we studied texts that specifically referred to the husband being faithful. We looked at them as being applicable to both spouses. What does this tell us about a faithful wife? (She brings her husband good and not harm. Her husband has "full confidence" in her.)

    2. Read Proverbs 31:13-15. How would you label a wife like this? (Hard-working! Industrious. This is certainly not a lazy person.)

    3. Read Proverbs 31:16-18. Equal opportunity for women was not part of the culture when this was written. What lesson does this teach us about women working outside of "traditional" jobs? (I'm not an expert on the culture of that time, but I believe that owning property, purchasing property, planting a vineyard, and trading goods were all activities generally reserved to men. The Bible, once again, is counter to the popular culture!)

    4. Read Proverbs 31:21-22. We discussed earlier how diligence in work results in having enough food for your children. How does this say a mother can contribute to security for the children? (A diligent mother results in properly clothed children.)

      1. For those of you who think the Bible promotes plain dressing, what kind of clothing is praised here? ("Fine linen," "scarlet," and "purple" all signal expensive clothing. There is some debate about whether "scarlet" should be understood as "double"(warm clothing). But, the entire sense of this cannot be missed: the mother and children are well dressed.)

      2. How should we understand 1 Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-4? (Peter tells us that your character, and not what you wear, should be your true beauty. If we assume that there is no conflict among the texts of the Bible, that would mean that wearing beautiful clothes is fine, but should not be considered the basis for evaluating your worth as a person.)

    5. Friend, do you see a theme in what the Bible has to say about families? I think that theme is faithfulness to God, self-denial, diligence in our work, and love for each other. These create a great family atmosphere. If you find that your family is not meeting these standards, why not pray that God will help you to come closer to these ideals?

  4. Next week: The Royal Love Song.
* Copr. 2019, 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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