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Oct 14

Wisdom Literature #2 Proverbs

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Read through the book of Proverbs in a week collecting the sayings that stand out for you.

Bring them to your group the next week and talk through each other's sayings. Also keep the context of Proverbs in mind which is explained in the bottom video.

 

 

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  • ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless’ It is interesting to note that the writer of Proverbs is the same writer we find in Ecclesiastes. The book of Proverbs and the book of Ecclesiastes almost act like an antithesis to each other. GotQuestions writes: When Solomon says, “Everything is meaningless,” he did not mean that everything in the world is of zero value. Rather, his point is that all human efforts apart from God’s will are meaningless. Solomon had it all, and he had tried everything, but when he left God out of the equation, nothing satisfied him. There is purpose in life, and it is found in knowing God and keeping His commands. Solomon in his life, had it all. And in each of these things, he found no meaning. Without God, human wisdom is meaningless (2:14–16); labor (2:18–23); amassing things (2:26); life itself (3:18–22); competition (4:4); selfish overwork (4:7–8); power and authority (4:16); greed (5:10); wealth and accolades (6:1–2); and perfunctory religion (8:10–14). The issue is, we all will die one day whether we are rich or poor, righteous or wicked. Everything we build will crumble, nothing is forever. Humanity has spent the best part of the last 6000 years building great castles and empires that spanned the globe. Non of them stood the test of time. The Christian Rock group Citizens sang the following: I am living in a land of death The trees are burnt and grey There's a smouldering smoke overhead And the night looks the same as the day It seems a miracle that I can stand When everyone I've known Drifts up in the air with the ash Every time that the wind starts to blow But I feel alive with a life that's not mine Your law is a stream in this wasteland, my lifeline So much more than precious gold are Your promises my Lord By them is Your servant warned and in keeping them great reward In essence the preceding was drawn from the book of Ecclesiastes, which closes with the following: “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind” In the following week, read through the book of Ecclesiastes and note 5 things that stood out for you. Bring them to your group the next week and discuss through them. Keep to greater context of Ecclesiastes in mind, which is described in this video:
  • From Ligonier ministries, which can also be read here . James 1:5-8 contains the incredible promise that the Lord will give wisdom to all who sincerely ask Him for it in faith. Ultimately, Christ is our wisdom, and He will never cast out anyone who comes to Him by faith alone (1 Cor. 1:30-31). God has given us Christ, the wisdom of His salvation; however, He also gives us wisdom to deal with our daily successes and failures. As we study the Wisdom Literature and seek the Lord’s face, He will make us wise. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1: 5-8 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:30–31 The Bible Project writes the following, and you can read it here as well. There are three books of the Bible that would later come to be called the "wisdom literature." They reveal the collected wisdom of generations of godly people and invite us to consider the complexity and simplicity of living wisely. These three books are the books of Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes. Each of these books explores the same basic theme and tackles the same basic question. The Good Life (Proverbs) In the book of Proverbs, we are given access to a perspective similar to that of a brilliant teacher, offering her insights on a wide range of subjects from relationships to wealth to spirituality. Proverbs shows us that there is an aspect of God, His wisdom, that can guide us through our lives. Proverbs personifies this wisdom as "lady wisdom" and attempts to show us that anyone can access this wisdom and make an incredible life for themselves out of the gifts that it freely offers, so long as they are careful to respect the source of this wisdom—God. Life is Meaningless (Ecclesiastes) In Ecclesiastes, three different, relatively disturbing themes are explored, all of which attempt to show that this life, at least as we know and live it, is meaningless. First, the march of time—the idea that time progresses forward and eventually we are all forgotten. Second, we are all going to die. No matter what, no matter how moral we are, human beings are destined to die. Finally, is that life has a random nature. Sometimes misfortune strikes good, wise people, and sometimes fools are rewarded. However, all these dark themes are meant to portray a much brighter message. Is God Wise & Just? (Job) Throughout the book of Job, we see Job and his friends wrestling with the question of why a God who is wise and just let such horrible things happen to an innocent man . It's a question that God Himself answers, though not in the direct way Job was expecting. Instead, God takes Job on a virtual tour of the universe, giving him a tiny window into all the complexity of which God is in control. In doing this, God is showing Job that his suffering is just one tiny part of an infinitely large cosmic scheme that God is controlling through His wisdom. Even though God's answer was more than satisfactory and even though Job was humbled by it, God still chose to restore all Job's blessings to him. Our problems are still important to God and that we should still trust Him to look over us. Together, all three of these wisdom books show us the meaning of life and what it means to live in the wisdom of God. You can take a look at their videos here. At the beginning of each Bible study related to the book of Job, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, take a look at these again.