[Thought questions for What You Get is Not What You See February 3, 2015]
1. The fool in us. Our lesson this week opens with a stern warning. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” How often have you said something like, “He didn’t know better,” “She thought she was doing the right thing.” “They had the best of intentions?” Doesn’t God judge us by our intentions? If we aim to do right, does anything else matter?
2. The traits of a fool. The wise man loads into his collection of proverbs thirty-five verses describing characteristics of a fool. Be honest. Which of these traits apply to you, maybe not all of the time but at least once in a while? How can we overcome our inner foolishness that makes itself known by proud speaking, making fun of God’s wisdom, swallowing what we hear, making fun of others, and other perilous habits?
3. The traits of the wise. On the other side of things, do you let the Holy Spirit guide you to be wise by speaking humbly rather than proclaiming that your view is the only right one? Do you long for opportunities to learn from the Master Teacher? Have you learned to check the facts and listen to the wisdom of others when you have a strong personal opinion about something involving your life? What about being calm when stormy arguments rage? Showing concern and love to those in need around us? Are these proverbs outdated? Or current to our age and culture?
4. The eyes of the Lord. Are you comforted by the all-seeing, all-knowing presence of God? Why does our almighty and all-loving God look with such diligence on everything that goes on in this world? What does His penetrating vision have to do with my spiritual welfare? Why does God keep this sinful world from falling to its destruction? Or does He?
5. The joy of the Lord. Can you experience joy when things are going sour? What if you learn that your days are numbered to just a few more days or weeks. Can you still be happy? Does a “merry heart” really affect your physical health? How? Is it possible to minister to the spiritual needs of others without experiencing deep joy within? What are some other sources of true, God-given joy that we can absorb into our lives no matter what happens?
6. The Sovereignty of God. If God is so mighty, so wise, and so capable of working miracles, why do terrible things keep happening? Why does God allow terrorists to wipe out the lives of God’s children? Why does He allow terrible storms to kill and injure His created beings and the work they’ve done? Do you see around you evidence not only of the sovereignty of God but of His love that is greater than all the evil sin has caused?