Sunday, September 25, 2011

An Ordered Life aka Wisdom in Practice on Proverbs 29:16-27 for 10-2-11

On 10-2-11 Proverbs 29:16-27 will be our Adult Sunday School/Uniform Series/International Sunday School Lesson, herein is my commentary.  This lesson is known by some as An Ordered Life aka Wisdom in Practice.  You will find the 9-25-11 lesson directly beneath this message and/or on the lower right side.


An Ordered Life
 Wisdom in Practice
Proverbs 29:16-27
International Sunday School Lesson
October 2, 2011

Jed Greenough

In today’s scripture we see proverbs that talk about order or if wisdom is not practiced the opposite.  Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 14 that God is not a God of disorder, so then why should we His people be that way?  Paul concluded that chapter of discussion concerning worship by saying that everything should be done in an orderly way.

Yes, as I said he was talking about worship but God is consistent and yes it does apply to all things that we be orderly.  For some of us this is a natural talent for others it takes hard effort but this doesn’t make it any less true and no one should do you any favors by telling you that it isn’t just because that is what your ears want to hear. 

This is what verse 18 means to me.  God’s word is not revealed when people are told what their itching ears want to hear as Paul put it.  This is when the people cast off their restraint and we have chaos.  You can see it in the world today more than ever. 

God’s proverbs give us that order if we choose to follow them, don’t follow them and look out for the eventual chaos.
Verse 16 says that sin will thrive with the wicked?  What do you think of?  I automatically thought of Hitler and yes, the righteous of the world eventually did see his downfall.  But there are times when it seems like the wicked never receive what they should but at the Last Day, believe me, you will see it happen.

Verse 17 says that a disciplined son will give you peace and delight and I think of something as simple as a dinner out and being able to enjoy my time with the family as my children act like the gentlemen they have been raised to be.

Verse 19 and 21 go together for me.  These are harder for us today because of the word servant being used but if we imagine an employee instead it is easier.  Imagine an employee who bit by bit over time realized that they could do little of what they were supposed to do or did bad things with impunity and you get the picture.  But the employee who needs his job and fears the repercussions if they were disobedient will behave totally different.

Verse 20 is a little too general if taken at first glance.  What I mean by that is who has not spoken in haste?  I myself in my enthusiasm have done it more than I care to remember but there was hope for me and I have grown.  This proverb has in sight the one who never learns to measure their words nor when they should share them.

Verse 22 reminds me of so many movies I have seen when I was growing up.  I just loved (still do) westerns including the series like Bonanza, Big Valley, The Rifleman and so on.  I cannot tell you how many episodes that there must have been where an angry man would get the people in the saloon or the street stirred up.  Or there would be the unlucky gambler who claims to be cheated or the man who had his elbow bumped while drinking.  If you’ve seen them you know the resulting sin from these hot-tempered men.  The examples seem a bit trivial perhaps but most of the tales could have a companion in reality even today as anger and hot-temperedness stir up and commit trouble even as we speak.

Verse 23 makes me think of Bernie Madoff when I thought of a prideful man being brought down.  I don’t even know if he has lost that pride but he has certainly lost everything else and been brought low.  And the lowly man what honor will he gain?  Christ said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Verse 24 in speaking of being put under oath is certainly remindful of all the dramas we can see or read of where the prosecutor will get some criminal a plea bargain in order to get them to testify.  The predictability of the defense to attack this witness’s credibility is straight out of this proverb.

Verse 25 brings to mind many scriptures that might be of use to you such as 1 Samuel 15:24, Isaiah 51:12, or John 12:42-43 but none more than Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Verse 26 does not dispute that we sometimes wish to hobnob with the powers that be or that we sometimes must rely on them because that is how things work.  What it is saying is that rulers are men and as men they make both errors and commit injustice.  Only God who is without error or impartiality will without fail be just.

Verse 27 makes me think of light and darkness, they have nothing in common as it is also with the righteous and the unrighteous, and they are by nature enemies.  But we who are in the light cannot hate our brother who is still in the dark but rather how he lives. 

These proverbs that we have been given are short sayings of wisdom.  For the most part they are true consistently but yes, some will argue there are exceptions.

There have been sons who have been disciplined who still disappoint.  There have been congregations who have heard the Word and turned from it.  There have been angry men who have brought about change for good.  Perjury is a fact on the witness stand.  And finally many a person that trusted in God met a horrible fate while on this mortal coil.

But….these are exceptions and why the proverbs remain true and why following them will bring order to our lives, to our children’s lives, to our employees, congregations, courts, to our friendships, to our classes, to everything!

For Discussion:

1.      As a class project have individuals write their own proverbs.
2.      Ask the class if they have any favorite proverbs even non-Biblical sayings such as, “you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet” or “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
3.      Hand out slips of paper with numbers that correspond to today’s verses and ask for thoughts on each verse.
4.      Discuss why God might want us to have order in all facets of our lives.
5.      Share examples in a general way where disorder, perhaps in a church, has brought chaos.
6.      Have people share how they have areas of their lives where they need more order.
7.      Have people share how they have managed to bring order to their lives.
8.      Research and discuss the Proverbs as to their authorship, audience, history etc.

10-9-11:  The Superiority of Wisdom (Wisdom is Better than Might), Ecclesiastes 9:13-18 or 9:13-10:4
10-16-11:  Wisdom for Aging (Remember Your Creator), Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:7, 13
10-23-11:  Tradition and Love (How Sweet is Love), Song of Solomon 4:8-5:1a
10-30-11:  Living as God’s People (Blessed by God), Matthew 5:1-12

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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