Study Theme: Extraordinary Wisdom for Everyday Living
Date: Week of June 15, 2008
Title: How to Storm-Proof Your Home
Background Passage(s): Proverbs 22:17–24:22
Focal Passage(s): Proverbs 23:22–24:4
Today’s lesson is indeed fitting for Father’s Day weekend, as your learners will most likely be thinking about family life. While no home or family is invulnerable to the storms of life, the principles from today’s lessons will help fathers, mothers, and children in the home to build a home that is more resistant to life’s storms. Some of those storms are external to the home and some are internal, but both kinds can disrupt and destroy a family’s stability. Today’s look at Proverbs 23.22-22.4 will provide strength for shelter from the storms.
1. Stay True (Prov. 23:22-25)
In this opening passage the son is being advised to listen to and treasure the upbringing his parents provided him. Parents always rejoice when their children turn out well in life, and parents all do the best they can to raise children well. The greatest credit a child can pay to his or her parents is to hold onto the truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding passed on to them, and to build on those great gifts.
This passage is part of a collection of thirty sayings known as “Words of the Wise.” These are practical pieces of advice that would have been part of a Jewish child’s instruction. This is the wisdom of a father to his son.
Ask your learners to consider the advantages of life they experience because of such gifts from their parents. Certain values that are acquired in childhood make all the difference in later life. A strong work ethic, a love for education and knowledge, an appreciation of the fine arts are all examples of values that we receive as children. Much of secular society endorses the transmission of these values, but the Christian home that passes along godly wisdom and faith add more. This home provides a spiritual worldview that pursues justice, lives faithfully, and also in the long run a happier, more peaceful life.
Christians, then, are called to be true to the godly teachings of their childhood, to honor their parents with right-living, as well as with deeds of respect and kindness. You may also want to acknowledge that not everyone has experienced a Christian upbringing. This is something to be lamented, but also provides a framework for contrast of adult living to the childhood ways that should be left behind.
• We show wisdom and demonstrate that we are committed to live right when we respect our parents throughout their lives and stay true to a godly heritage they passed on to us. Ask your learners to identify values they gained from their home life as a child. Ask them to consider what values they have passed on to their children/grandchildren, and how they can continue to pass along these values.
• We not only please God but also delight our Christian parents when they see us living in accordance with God’s wisdom, instruction, and understanding. Ask your learners to consider what values they learned but have lost or failed to live out. A good cultural reference is the country song Where’d You Learn to Talk Like That? by Rodney Atkins. Consider this: Obtain a recording of this song and play it for your learners as they gather.
Here are the lyrics:
Drivin’ through town just my boy and meWith a Happy Meal in his booster seatKnowin’ that he couldn’t have the toy ‘til his nuggets were gone.A green traffic light turned straight to redI hit my brakes and mumbled under my breath.His fries went a flyin’, and his orange drink covered his lapWell, then my four year old said a four letter wordIt started with “S” and I was concernedSo I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to talk like that?”Chorus:He said, "I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you.And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.We got cowboy boots and camo pantsYeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?I want to do everything you do.So I’ve been watching you."We got back home and I went to the barnI bowed my head and I prayed real hardSaid, “Lord, please help me help my stupid self.”Just this side of bedtime later that nightTurnin’ on my son’s Scooby-Doo nightlight.He crawled out of bed and he got down on his knees.He closed his little eyes, folded his little handsSpoke to God like he was talkin’ to a friend.And I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to pray like that?”Chorus:He said, "I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?I’m your buckaroo; I want to be like you.And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.We like fixin’ things and holding moma’s handYeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?I want to do everything you do; so I’ve been watching you"With tears in my eyes I wrapped him in a hug.Said, “My little man is growin’ up.”And he said, “But when I’m big I’ll still know what to do.”"‘Cause I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?I’m your buckaroo; I want to be like you.And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.By then I’ll be strong as supermanWe’ll be just alike, hey, won’t we dadWhen I can do everything you do.‘cause I’ve been watchin’ you."hey yeahuh huh
2. Stay Pure (Prov. 23:26-28)
In this section of scripture the son is urged to follow his father’s example and to avoid being lured into sexual impurity. There is hardly a more culturally relevant passage of scripture for today than this one. We know that sexual temptation is available virtually everywhere we turn, and the proliferation of pornography via the internet has pushed things to an extreme level. The internet is not the only vehicle, however. Just a few weeks ago I had to explain the purpose of Viagra to my 10 year old son after he’d been watching television at seven in the evening.
The effects of media on human sexuality can be corrosive and ultimately damaging. Media supplants the home and church in providing good sexual shaping of young people, and pathetic is the church or home that doesn’t address these matters openly and from a Biblically based perspective. The adulterous woman of this passage of scripture provides a lure and a trap for the abuse of the God-given gift of sexuality. Unless men and women are equipped by the teachings of Scripture on how to properly celebrate their sexuality, sexual impurity in an form will diminish lives and steal something precious from family relationships.
So then, storm proofing your home with Godly wisdom will include many things. Here are a few practical ideas to offer your learners.
• We can better resist sexual temptation in today’s immoral climate by discovering and emulating role models of sexual purity and marital faithfulness. Ask your learners to make a commitment to model sexual purity and marital faithfulness in their own lives.
• Christian parents should never underestimate the influence they have on their children’s futures by being role models of sexual purity and marital faithfulness. Ask your learners to think about how their home and church life can be more open to discuss human sexuality in meaningful ways that will provide young adults, teens, and children with answer to their natural questions, as well as the consequences of wrong sexual activity.
• Both men and women can be lured into sexual temptation – note to your learners that the old-school notions about a woman’s disinterest in sex are false ones. Discussion about sexually temptation cannot be simply limited to a “boys will be boys” framework.
3. Stay Clear (Prov. 23:29-35)
Scripture warns of the seductive yet devastating effects of beverage alcohol—effects that include a variety of sorrows and troubles as well as one’s loss of control resulting from drunkenness and the potential of one’s becoming tragically addicted. Seemingly everyone has been touched by the troubles of alcoholism or drug addiction. We can avoid many personal troubles and damage to our family by simply refusing to drink alcohol. This is not a condemnation of all drinking, but it is a good way to avoid problems of addiction in your family.
While one may argue the Bible’s view on the use of alcohol, the dangers of its abuse are clear – addiction of all types can be damaging to families.
Ask your learners to discuss their experiences with alcoholism or drug addiction. Ask whether they say positive or negative outcomes.
4. Stay Wise (Prov. 24:1-4)
This passage scripture takes turn to talk now about envy. This passage teaches God’s people never to envy those who do evil; instead God’s people are to build their homes with godly wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. This is a difficult challenge when we see families that seem more prosperous or have more “toys” and possessions. By outward standards, homes that gain material goods but live lives of evil may seem to be happy. But the writer of Proverbs reminds that the opposite is actually true. What they do is wrong and hurtful to others and to God.
• We are wise to build our lives and homes not on things acquired by evil means but on enduring qualities we gain from knowing and understanding God’s ways. Ask your learners to consider the parable of the houses built on shifting sand versus the stone. A good song to go with this point is Gordon Lightfoot’s The House You Live In (sung recently by Kate Campbell, well worth a listen). Here are the lyrics:
• Go first in the world, go forth with your fearsRemember a price must be paidBe always too soon, be never too fastAt the time when all bets must be laidBeware of the darkness, be kind to your childrenRemember the woman who waitsAnd the house you live in will never fall downIf you pity the stranger who stands at your gate
• When you're caught by the gale and you're full under sailBeware of the dangers belowAnd the song that you sing should not be too sadAnd be sure not to sing it too slowBe calm in the face of all common disgracesAnd know what they're doin' it forAnd the house you live in will never fall downIf you pity the stranger who stands at your door
• When you're out on the road and feelin' quite lostConsider the burden of fameAnd he who is wise will not criticizeWhen other men fail at the gameBeware of strange faces and dark dingy placesBe careful while bending the lawAnd the house you live in will never fall downIf you pity the stranger who stands at your door
• When you're down in the dumps and not ready to dealDecide what it is that you needIs it money or love, is it learnin' to liveOr is it the mouth you must feedBe known as a man who will always be candidOn questions that do not relateAnd the house you live in will never fall downIf you pity the stranger who stands at your gateAnd the house you live in will never fall downIf you pity the stranger who stands at your gate