Introduction. Are you comfortable with the idea that some of the proverbs in the Bible reflect sayings of the heathen? If not, why not? If the truth espoused by the ancient Egyptians corresponds with truth followed by Christians, should we not embrace that truth as well?
[Thought questions for Words of Truth February 24, 2015]
1. Knowledge of truth. How often do you find yourself nodding off to sleep during a sermon? Does staying awake assure you that you will catch the central theme and allow the message to enter your heart? Do you now and then hear people refer to the church as “the truth”? Besides understanding the concepts of your faith, what else is required for a deep heartfelt knowledge of truth from God? What should we watch out for in “belief by definition” or, “preaching by proof text”?
2. Robbing the poor. If it is scandalous and outside all Christian thinking to rob from the poor, are we justified in stealing from the rich when they have so much more wealth than they need? Is it easier to steal from the poor than the rich? Why? Is there some comfort in the prediction that thieves of all kinds will one day be brought to judgment and found guilty? How can your standards of honesty and right living make the Christian life worthwhile?
3. Being jealous of the wicked. Have you ever known or heard about people who were dishonest, scheming individuals who seemed to have everything? Isn’t it natural to be jealous of people who have what you need but can’t afford? Are we ever tempted to find something wrong with the rich in our community or church so that we could stop wishing we could be like them? In God’s sight, what is wealth?
4. What we put in our mouths. Alcoholic beverages are becoming popular in some of our church circles, even though not openly. Why is that? How do church members justify drinking beer, wine, whiskey and other intoxicating drink? What message is contained in the 23rd chapter of Proverbs? Take notice of verse 35. Drunk beyond human reason, what is the first thought of the person awakening from his stupor? Are you amused? Is God?
5. Our responsibilities. When we see someone in tattered clothing who is lying alone by the side of the road, do we have a responsibility? What about the 14-year-old daughter of a church leader who finds herself pregnant? Or the young church member who ends up in prison because he has participated in a major crime? How can we minister to the troubled in our midst without being judgmental or accepting their wrongdoing? How can the words of Proverbs 24:26 help bring healing?
6. The God of love. What an empty life the ungodly lead. Do the proverbs contain tidbits of knowledge and wisdom that lead you to fill your life with God’s way? Share the most meaningful ones with others, in discussion or in the way you live this week. And be glad you’re not an atheist. As Dante Gabriel Rosetti put it, “The worst moment for the atheist is when he is thankful and has nobody to thank.”