Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Adult Sunday School Lesson on Proverbs 4:10-15, 20-27 for 9-11-11

This is the Adult Sunday School Lesson for 9-11-11 From Generation to Generation aka Walk the Straight Path on Proverbs 4:10-15, 20-27 for the Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson.  You will find the 9-4-11 lesson beneath this message and/or on the right side.


Proverbs 4:10-15, 20-27
An International Sunday School Lesson
September 11, 2011
Entitled by some
From Generation to Generation
 Walk the Straight Path

Jed Greenough

Last week as we started our foray into Proverbs we looked at trusting in the Lord and I mentioned Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  This week we find that the path, drum roll please, is a straight one.
It should be obvious that God’s path would be a straight and smooth one and so then if followed will our lives be, yet our natural tendency is to stray from that straight path.  This tendency negates for most the benefit of simply reading scripture such as today’s and following it’s extolling of wisdom demonstrated.  As a result much more of God’s word is filled with examples that demonstrate those that fail to follow the path as defined in this wisdom proverb.
I spend a lot of time outdoors and this summer has been no exception.  On one camping trip my family and I were traveling in Yellowstone National Park and my young son asked why they chose where to put the roads that we now use to traverse the park.  I answered that it was mainly due to the lay of the land which dictated that one area was more favorable than the next.  It might mean therefore that the choice was because of a pass between mountain ranges, a relatively level river valley or lake shore.  This is where the elk and deer had traveled; this is where the Shoshoni and Blackfeet had also. When they came, those that built the trails that became roads chose the same paths. 
These were the paths of least resistance but interestingly enough, unlike these paths which offered an easier route that we like animals naturally follow, we don’t naturally follow God’s straight and smooth path for us.  Thus He has given us the scripture such as today’s Proverbs and scriptural examples of those who choose not to follow His guidance.  All of it in hopes that if we are aware of it we will not repeat their folly and therefore spare ourselves or spare our loved ones the pain.
On that same trip before my family arrived I had occasion to read of the earliest white visitors to the area that became Yellowstone National Park.  These explorers learned the hard way that straying off these age old paths to see what was around the bend could mire one down.  They stepped onto thin soil that gave way to scalding springs that could maim and kill.  They wasted muscle and livestock scaling heights that led to little.  They made scant progress when becoming nearly hopelessly entangled when they ventured into pathless, fallen and twisted timber.
But because of their experiences others learned, the best sights are accessible, the easiest routes are cleared and the road paved.  And so it is with all the scriptures.
1 Corinthians 10:1-12
Warnings From Israel’s History
 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.  They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.  They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.  Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.”  We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died.  We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes.  And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.
These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

For Discussion:

1.      Do you sense the almost desperate urgency in the “voice” of the writer?  Go back and read the scripture. 
2.      Discuss the view from the perspective of a parent who didn’t listen and strayed from the path and now wants the ones they care about to listen to this advice.
3.      Discuss the dangers of trying to walk on both paths at the same time.
4.      Discuss the little ways that people may think are okay to step off the path but in reality are not.  Examples might be with their humor or entertainment.
5.      Discuss how guilt can lead to more and more distance between them and God and how easily the wisdom mentioned in our scripture can be attained by just repenting and getting back on track.
6.      Due to the vagaries of the Internet browsers I encourage you to bookmark this page if you find these lessons useful.

9-18-11:  Teaching Values (Instruction in Wisdom), Proverbs 15:21-33
9-25-11:  Wisdom and Discernment (Wisdom and Government), Proverbs 25:1-10
10-2-11:  An Ordered Life (Wisdom in Practice), Proverbs 29:16-27
10-9-11:  The Superiority of Wisdom (Wisdom is Better than Might), Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 or 9:13-10:4

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

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