February 13, 2010

Proverbs Study – Chapter One: Applying God’s Word to Your Everyday Life

Welcome to our first week of study!!! We will meet here each Monday (Feb. 15, 22, March 1, 8) with a new lesson and new homework questions. I am so excited to study the book of Proverbs with you. Before we begin, let’s pray together:

Father God, we praise You as Wisdom and Truth. You are the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. You tell us in Your Word that if we lack wisdom, we need only ask, Father, and You will give to us generously without finding fault. So today, as we begin our study for the week, we ask in faith, fully believing You at Your Word that You will reveal Truth and Wisdom to us. We invite You into every step of this journey. Fill us with knowledge of Your will; guide us into all Wisdom and Truth as we seek to know You more. Apply our hearts to understanding what we read through the power of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You, Father, that this is Your promise to us and that not only will You do what we ask, but also You will do abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine! We ask this all in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, AMEN!!

Have you ever said: “I can’t understand the Bible.” “I read the Bible, but I just don’t get anything out of it” I remember repeating those phrases many times early in my journey with God…especially when I joined my first Bible study. What I discovered over the years is that the reason I did not “get” the Bible is because I never really read it the way God intended for it to be read. I picked it up every now and again when it was convenient or I needed something from God.

I had no idea that God sent His Word so that He could speak into my life. As we begin today, friends, we will stand on two powerful Scriptural truths:

My Word that goes out from My mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purposes for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Solomon, the author of Proverbs, was King David’s son. Scripture tells us Solomon began his reign as king with his heart wholly devoted to God. God was so pleased with Solomon that in 1 Kings 3:5-14, He came to him in a dream and offered him one thing, anything he wanted, to reward him for his devotion. Look at Solomon’s words to God:

Now, O Lord my God, You have made me king instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of Your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted Give me a wise and understanding heart so that I can govern Your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours. 1 Kings 3:7-9.

Scripture tells us the Lord was pleased with Solomon’s request. He desired wisdom not for selfish gain but to govern God’s people. In response, God gave Solomon a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have. 1 Kings 3:12.

Solomon penned these God-given words of wisdom into a beautiful book and gave them as a gift to his children. That is the book we are reading today.

Several writers define wisdom as having the knowledge and the ability to make right choices at opportune times. But the key here is, where do we find that knowledge and ability? Where do we begin? Do we look to Oprah, Dr. Laura, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, child psychologists, marriage therapists, self-help books, parenting books, Nanny 911????

As Christians, it is clear that our search for knowledge begins with God. Why is that? Because Proverbs 1:7 tells us:

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Beginning as used here derives from the Hebrew word “resit” which means “the start.” You cannot gain knowledge of spiritual things if you begin at the wrong starting point. Just as you cannot unlock your car without the key or the code, you cannot unlock the wisdom of God without acknowledging and revering God as the source of all Truth.

Reading God’s Word gives us His perspective on what is going on in our lives. We read how He worked in the past to understand what we need to choose today. Romans 15:4a says,

Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 says,

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.

I want to celebrate you today, sweet friend. You have many places you could be today, but you have chosen to be here, to be in God’s Word with us. As we delve into our study time together let us first…

1. Open our ears and our hearts to receive God’s Word. Pray for God to speak into your heart personally; ask Him to make your heart tender and humble to hear His voice. Pray this simple prayer, “Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, to help me see and understand the wonderful things in Your law.”

2. Commit to apply what we learn. Pray for God to show you where you need to live out the truths He reveals and pray for Him to enable you to do it. Pray for opportunities for Him to work in your life through what you have learned.

3. Seek after more. In your homework, don’t just “do” the questions. Ponder His Word. Soak in His Truth. Search for more. When you sense the Lord speaking to you in a certain passage, dig deeper, use the study notes and commentaries.

Friends, Solomon invites us to search for truths and promises in God’s Word as we would search for hidden treasure. Let’s commit together to desire God’s Truth above all else. Let’s wait expectantly to see God at work in our midst. Let’s open our eyes, ears, and hearts fully and completely for God to enter in and do a mighty, mighty work in each of us.

Homework: Read Proverbs Chapters One and Two and answer the following questions. You can do as few or as little as you have time. May God take whatever time you have and use it to speak a fresh Word into your heart.

1. Rank in order of importance the following sources of wisdom in your life.

a. parents b. spiritual mentors c. friends d. spouses e. The Bible

f. self-help/parenting/marriage books g. talk shows

2. Read Proverbs 1:1-7.

List Solomon’s purposes in writing Proverbs.

Refer back to Question Number 1, do your primary sources of wisdom accomplish these purpose in your life?

3. List the action verbs Solomon uses in Proverbs 1:1-7.

4. Read 2 Timothy 3:16.

Share the stated purposes of Scripture.

How do these purposes relate to those stated in Proverbs 1:1-7?

5. Read Proverbs 1:7a.

What is the very first step you need to take to gain wisdom? What does this mean to you?

6. One author defines fear of the Lord as “acknowledging God’s power and sovereignty then offering our obedience in light of that power and sovereignty.” Why is it necessary to acknowledge God as our authority before we can gain wisdom?

7. What areas of your life will benefit the most from studying Proverbs (personal relationships, personal journey, role as wife, role as mother, speech, finances, other)? In which area would you like to see God work most?

8. What wisdom did your parents pass down to you? Did that wisdom involve conversations and/or prayer centered on God’s Word and godly wisdom?

9. To whom has God given the primary responsibility of instructing children regarding wisdom and truth (hint: read Proverbs 1:8-9 and Ephesians 6:1-4)?

10. Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9.

How can you live this out in your own home?

11. Read Proverbs 1:10-19.

Who or what entices you away from the things of God? How do they entice you? How do you respond?

What is Solomon’s advice in these verses?

12. In the Greek, “yoked together” in 2 Corinthians 6:14 means to couple two things together. The example often given is two oxen yoked together plowing a field. There is one yoke connecting the pair to prevent them from going in opposite directions. They are bound together and must travel together.

Why does God warn against being “yoked together” with unbelievers?

How does that apply to what you are reading in Proverbs?

How can you obey the wisdom given in these verses and still live in the world?

13. List the verbs Solomon uses in Proverbs 2:1-5. In your daily life, how can you live out His direction?

14. Read Proverbs 2:20.

The Message reads: “So – join the company of good men and women, keep your feet on the tried and true paths.” According to this verse, what are two ways to keep our steps from sin?

Do you have good men/women in your life? If you do praise the Lord. If you do not, pray and ask the Lord to bring them into your life.

How would you define the “tried and true” path (the path of righteousness)? Do you believe you are on this path? If not, how do you find this path?

Friends, may God richly bless your time with Him in His Word. I will be praying for you. Feel free to invite new friends to join us.

Throughout the week, please share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” at the end of the post. You can comment anonymously if you do not have a blog. Also, if you cannot figure out how to leave a comment, you can e-mail me at spkrcoord@proverbs31.org to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing how God works in each of your hearts!

Blessings to you,

Comments

  1. Oh, wow! Oh, wow! This looks like we are going to be digging deep. I am so excited. I wish I had the time to read it all now, but I don't.

    I look forward to reading and meditating and listening to how God speaks.

    Wendy, thanks so much for having the caring and open hear that you do, sister! I love you dearly.

  2. Sylvia Basham says:

    Wendy, just one question: Will there be a lesson like this every day or is it one lesson per week? Just wanted to know how much time to allow.

  3. Wendy Blight says:

    Ladies to clarify, we will meet here every Monday for the next four Mondays. Sorry for the confusion. I will correct it in the blog post.

    W

  4. I am in…..this is great….I have read the book of Proverbs, studyed the book "Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be", reading the Bible in one year (NLT)which has a verse or two from Proverbs each day, am I devote follower of P31 devotions, but I think this is going to put it all in the right prespective! Thank you for your time and hard work, and I will be following and studying along!

  5. Sharon Sloan says:

    Wendy:

    Thank you!

    These two chapters hold such amazing truths. Obeying His truth, direction and guidance brings life and wonderful blessings. Yielding to Him and receiving/responding to His rebukes….wow!

    A few favorites:

    1:23
    "If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you."

    1:33
    "Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."

    2:6-8
    "For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones."

    Just reading these chapters, we "taste and see that the Lord is good."

    Thanks, Wendy! I am excited about this study!

    This is my prayer for you regarding this study and all you do as unto Him:

    Psalm 90:17
    May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.

  6. Wendy, I am going to forward this to our Bible Study group to do. Since you are coming to our church the end of March, it will be good for them to "get to know you"! as well as the WORD.
    Can't wait to do this study and to see you soon! Sharon

  7. I went home from work on Friday with a prayer list asking for discernment over what Bible studies our Father would want me to partake in for a while. I like the idea of wisdom learning for the new year. Wendy, thank you for letting us join in.

    Blessings,
    sally

  8. Wendy, et al:
    I'm giving this a shot, despite the demands of tax season, kids, etc. I NEED to make time in my life for the Lord! What better way to do it than thru an inviting Bible study?! Thank you for that opportunity!
    -Ann, in Seattle

  9. On Sunday our pastor taught about giving all of ourselves to God. I knew this Bible study was what I needed. That is what having wisdom is about. Having fear (respect) of God. If we listen to what God has to say we will get wisdom and understanding.If we are yoked with believers our lives will grow spiritually.This study has already blessed me. Thank you! God Bless

  10. Sylvia Basham says:

    Gaining wisdom is for the simple and the youth (Prov 1.4) but also for the wise and the one who understands. (Prov 1.5)

    Looks to me like it doesn't matter how much we've studied in the past and how much we've learned, we are to remain teachable. Here I am Lord….

  11. I just "happened upon" your blog. I have often thought it would be a great idea to do a bible study online similar to your format! This looks like fun!

  12. Cindy Bultema says:

    Wow ~ you're not messing around Wendy ~ this is GREAT stuff!! I'm printing off my "homework" now, and can't wait to dig in! Thank you, too, for your emphasis on prayer! I am THRILLED to be along on this journey!!
    Blessings to you!!!
    Cindy :)
    Grand Rapids, MI

  13. Couldn't believe I had not found this website before. Wonderful. My mornings will be well spent now visiting with you wonderful Christian ladies. God Bless You. Thank you Lord for making this available for us online.

  14. Cannot wait to follow your blog. I am celebrating God leading me to a new beginning, a place of healing from losing our precious daughter to cancer and growing closer to Him. I am in awe of how He is working in my life to help me and my family begin the healing process.
    Blessings, Kim

  15. Wendy, thank you so much for your teaching. I am excited to dig in. Much love, Tracy in ATL :)

  16. Sharon Abbott Cowan says:

    Looks very interesting can't wait to get home tonight and dive in.

  17. Wendy, This is just what I have been searching for for years! I will try to follow the blog with you but I've been doing Wendy Pope's Chronological study which is hard enough to keep up with the time commitment involved. So many opportunities to grow in the Lord.
    Thank you for all of your work! And thanks to Proverbs 31 ministries for letting us know what you are all doing.
    Cindy

  18. Theresa Haskins says:

    It dawned on me, recently, that the reason I was "afraid" to read the Bible was because when I was growing up the only version available we King James. I actually realized that NIV wasn't published until 1974 (I think). Anyway, with the Bibles these days, you can understand it (and read tons of information to help understand it). I LOVE it now! Thanks for your study – I'll be posting soon!

  19. Wendy, I have done all my home work for this week and can't wait till next week :) God opened up Proverbs in a new way and spoke to me so much about the company that we keep and about truly seeking God for His wisdom. I can't wait to see what He is going to teach as these weeks go on and what wisdom he will reveal!

  20. Oh my gosh! This is exactly what I've been looking for…thank you Wendy!

  21. poetry4Him says:

    Thank you, Wendy! I have been going through the Proverbs with my children and this is something I can do and pass onto them. God bless you!

  22. I am sooo excited about this Bible Study. Thanks for sharing.

    <><
    Angela T Ramsey

    angela@shelby.net

  23. Wendy Blight says:

    Girls, I love seeing each of your names posted here. This last week as I prayed about this study, I prayed for the women the Lord would bring. Each one of you is an answer to my prayers. Please know that even if you cannot do all the homework, come back and post your thoughts,comments, and/or answers. How we grow together is by sharing what God speaks in and through His living and active Word. Feel free to post throughout the week.

    So thankful for each one of you…praying for you and your time with the Lord.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

  24. wwjdmelissa says:

    I am celebrating the fact that we are fostering a set of twins that are 16 months old today and the birthmom is ready to surrender!! We've had them since they were 5 days old. We love them like they are our own! Thank you Lord for these little blessings of joy!
    Melissa

  25. Have been searching for a bible study and just logged on to your blog after work tonight. I have copied it and will studied it while I have dead time at work. You are still an inspiration to me in my life. Thanks
    Sandy

  26. Hi Wendy,

    My husband and I are celebrating God's Presence in our lives. Things are not what we expected lately – my husband resigned his job without one to go to yet – there have been some tough parenting decision going on – my husband's mom is ill. But despite all that – we see His loving hand in our lives. So we are celebrating the amazing blessing of- His faithfulness and love.

  27. First, let me say again, Wendy, that I am so excited to be doing this study. And to already see the outpouring of God’s work in hearts is such a blessing. God knows what we need and when!!

    There was so much good stuff throughout this that my hand hurts from writing.lol I had to print out the info on paper so I could keep going back when I had a few spare minutes to complete just a little more.

    Wendy, Dearheart! You are fantastic! Praise the LORD for the wisdom and insight He has revealed to you through His word. May this study bless all of our hearts now, but may it also bless the hearts of those who will see and read when it’s published!

    Oops! Have to do in two posts because I typed too much.LOL

  28. 7. What areas of your life will benefit the most from studying Proverbs (personal relationships, personal journey, role as wife, role as mother, speech, finances, other)? In which area would you like to see God work most?

    Can I answer all to this question? I don’t think I can pick any one out of the bunch. I need God’s daily leading on all these areas. I fail at them so often! Praise God He never gives up on us and that He’s so patient when we flounder around and flop on our faces. Although, I guess I should say that my personal journey with God takes precedence over everything else. Because without really being close to Him, how can I truly work on the rest.?

    13. List the verbs Solomon uses in Proverbs 2:1-5. In your daily life, how can you live out His direction?

    I need to daily dig into God’s word, and open my heart to Him. I need to surrender, to yield to what He’s saying. I need to look beyond what I see with my eyes, or hear with my ears; I should tune into God, feel His presence, the power of His Spirit and know intimately His will.

    Do you have good men/women in your life? If you do praise the Lord. If you do not, pray and ask the Lord to bring them into your life.

    For years, I asked the LORD to bring me a woman I could truly have fellowship with. Someone I could share the joys and frustrations of walking with the LORD, of being a wife and mother… and He didn’t just bring me one! He brought me a few. I don’t know what I’d do without my sisters. They are so very precious.

    How would you define the "tried and true" path (the path of righteousness)? Do you believe you are on this path? If not, how do you find this path?

    Tried and True Path

    Tried means—tested and proved good, dependable or trustworthy.

    True means—genuine; real; authentic; sincere; not deceitful. Exact, precise, accurate; correct. Reliable, unfailing or sure. Honest, honorable; upright.

    As I sat and meditated on those words, God brought me to 1 Peter 2:21-24

    21For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

    Christ is our example. We should follow His footsteps… it’s because of Him that the marks left behind are tried, tested and proven to work. Because there was no deceit found in Him, we know that where He stepped, and where we are to follow, that all things will work out. Being in the center of God’s will—walking on the path God has set before me, that should be my main focus.

    The word tried of course has other meanings—subjected to hardship, worry, trouble or the like.

    Did God promise me a life of ease? Did He say the tried and true path would be without hardship? Will I fill the footprints Christ left behind?

    No. Without truly digging into God’s word, I can’t. Christ says in John 16:33 that I should take courage because He overcame the world.

    Seeking God’s face, His wisdom, His knowledge for my life doesn’t give me the assurance that I will always know what’s going to happen next, or that my steps won’t falter. But God did promise to never leave me or forsake me.(Deut. 31:6)

    And we know that what God says in true. For David says in Psalm 12:6 that the words of the LORD are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.

    Do I believe I’m on this path? I do believe so. I pray that I am. I know I’ve taken many detours on my journey, but Praise the LORD, He is always constant, and true, and faithful.

    He has never detoured.

  29. Wendy,
    Just checking in to let you know that I am with you on this journey. I can't wait to hear and see what the Lord has for me in this study!!!

    Blessings

  30. heartafire says:

    Looking forward to it!

  31. I have started this study but my version in chapter one uses the word "prudent"…a prudent life. I am curious if there are others with a different version and what word that would be.

  32. Can't wait to get started. Thanks from MS!

  33. Wendy Blight says:

    Jekka,

    I love the use of the word "prudent." I looked up that word and it means "wise or judicious in practical affairs, discreet or circumspect, sober, careful in providing for the future." All of those are ways of exhibiting wisdom in our walk with God.

  34. I did my homework this week although it has been difficult to find the time. Thanks Wendy for giving me something to be accountable to.

  35. Wendy, I just found out about the Proverbs study and wanted to let you know that I am joining you. I'm a little late starting but hopefully can catch up. By the way, how's Lauren doing? She came to mind when I was reading your blog.

  36. Sylvia Basham says:

    8. What wisdom did your parents pass down to you?

    Answer: To hide the "still" better so as to avoid prison time :-)

    Really, though, my parents became believers after that chapter in their lives and were commited to carving out a better life for their children based on a better foundation (the fear of the Lord!)

    That taught me to seek to train my children even better, with the prayer that, because of their even stronger foundation, my children will be better parents than we are and so on throught the generations.

  37. Lynn - JnL4God says:

    Wendy,
    Thanks this is really good. I still have a couple of questions I am asking God to help me answer, I want to be honest with them and not just give a "good" answer. :) A theme I seem to be running into through Gods word, other studies and this on is God cotinues a theme with me – watch who you hang around. It's almost if he is saying "Hello what do you want a Billboard – Here's your sign!" I work with a couple of people that don't always edify me, and more times than not entice me to grumble, fault find or gossip. I would have not thought of myself as a gossiper because I can be pretty tight lipped, however God is showing me that even listening to it is not good.
    So I feel this is yet another confirmation that I need to walk away more, and quicker, and pray for more Godly friends in my life.

    Not sure if you wanted us to answer the questions here or just comment on nuggets. I really enjoyed this first weeks lesson, and looking forward to the new one.

    Thanks,
    Lynn

  38. Wonderful! I'm joining you ladies this week!!

  39. Wendy Blight says:

    How I love reading your comments and answers to questions. Some of you have e-mailed your answers,and I love how God is speaking the same Truths in different ways as told through the hearts who receive them.

    Danielle, your definition of "tried and true" is so rich. Thank you for taking the time to really break those words apart and share what God taught you with us.

    Lynn, what you said about who we associate with is a much addressed theme in Proverbs. We will study it again in another week's homework. God knows how friends can take us down the "wrong" paths and lead us away from the things of God.

    It is such a blessing to share God's Word with you. Keep the great comments and answers coming. I LOVE IT!!

    Wendy

  40. Wendy, I just happened onto your blog today, I will be joining your bible study. I am so looking forward to growing in the word.
    Blessings to you,

  41. Wendy,
    I just saw the link for this study through the P31 Facebook page. I'll be joining in on this study now. Teresa G in NC

  42. Wendy,

    I happened on this study by chance, but I feel the Lord has lead me here.

    I signed up for the Proverbs 31 daily email awhile back. I have been struggling with my personal faith for awhile now too. I get the email daily, but most days I found I just read quickly over it and deleted.

    I am on facebook and found the link for Proverbs 31 on facebook. There I saw about the Carnival thing and clicked on the link. I saw that Wendy was giving away a book called Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner and that is how I am feeling. From there I found the Proverbs Study and felt lead to do it.

    This study is different than any I have done before. I feel it is very personal just me and God. Other studies have so much to read and they give you the answers sometimes so you don't really have to study. Also, this study is just between me and God and of course all of the wonderful ladies here, but there is no expectations from the people close to me. It has been hard on my christian friends to understand where I am and where I am coming from.

    My desire is to read the bible and let the Holy Spirit show me what I need to get out of it. I am tired of commentaries and all the different interpretations of what people think it means. I have prayed for bible study time just me and God and the Holy Spirit. So far I have found time on 3 different days (today included) to have the time to study. I have really enjoyed it which has been refreshingly new to me.

    I have come to a place where I feel I have been to church all my life (I am 34)(my dad's been a minister since I was young), I have done countless bible studies and yet I have found myself feeling I am missing something.

    I truly believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior and I believe God wants his children to live a joyful, happy life. I have a wonderful husband, a 16 year old stepson, and a 5 year old daughter. I have everything to be joyful about.

    The interesting thing that has happened to me, is for a number of years my husband didn't want to go to church or bible studies with me. I truly believe he is a christian, but he just didn't grow up going to church all the time like I did. Now my husband is going to church and bible studies, and I have no desire to go at all.

    Right now I am begging God to talk to me and show me the way. I just want to find peace and joy and contentment. I want to really enjoy my life and I am not doing that right now. I want to find that truly personal relationship with God, not just what I have been taught all my life. I am very thankful for my christian background, but sometimes it is hard to really hear God without all the preconceived ideas.

    Thanks for this study, I know I am here for a reason.

    CRM in VA

  43. Pajama Mama says:

    HI! I realized today that I hadn't posted any thoughts last week on what we studied. I looked over my notes and thought I'd share this on the last question about the tried and true paths. I jotted down: Tried and true paths/paths of righteousness – This is a path laid down by Father. Lit by the light of His Word. Straight and narrow at times. Wide and obvious at others. Followed by choice.

    Many times, what Father is teaching me spills over into our devo time with the kids. Last week, we were studying the verse "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…" There were several avenues I was able to take with the kids based on what I studied right from Wendy's notes and the scriptures we read, like Prov 1:10-19 when Solomon advises us to not walk the dark paths with those trying to entice us to do evil. I also loved being able to relate Prov 1:8-9 with the Olympics with the kids. Something they are "into" right now…and can relate to. I love it with Father does that.

    Looking forward to this weeks study!

    Many blessings, Jeannie

  44. I’ve come across this bible study by not fluke accident. As I’m picking up the understanding of diving into God’s word daily, this was my Day 1. I’m excited to read through Proverbs and gain a Fear of the Lord and move forward in learning how to walk on the right path. Thank you!

    • You are so welcome!!! It means so much to know you are going through this and that God is a work in your heart.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

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