Proverbs- Session 8- 15:33-16:11

Session 8- Pleasing God

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Proverbs Session 8

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Proverbs Handout Session 8

Subject:  Pleasing God

Central Theme:  Pleasing God through Wisdom

Objective Sentence:  We can know we are living wisely when we seek to please God by embracing 3 realities.

Keyword:

Reality #1.-  God’s Sovereignty (16:1, 2, 9)

Reality #2.- Our Accountability (15:33, 16:2, 4-6)

Reality #3.- Integrity’s Benefits. (16:3, 7-8, 10-11)

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • Discussion Question 1: When you were a kid what is something you knew you could do to please your parents?
  • Discussion Question 2: What is something you can give as a gift to your wife or husband that you know will make them really happy?

Tension:

  • When it comes to those we love most, we desire to please them.
  • As a dad, one of the most enjoyable things I get to do is to give gifts to my kids.
  • I love surprising them and seeing their faces light up when they are surprised.
  • As disciples of Jesus Christ, we ought to have a strong and passionate desire to please or Heavenly Father.
  • With God, you can not live foolishly and please Him.
  • Living wisely is living according to His commands, principles and desires.
  • This is one reason the book of Proverbs is so helpful.
  • In today’s verses we learn how to please God by living wisely.

We can know we are living wisely when we seek to please God by embracing 3 realities.

Reality #1.-  God’s Sovereignty (16:1, 2, 9)

Explanation:

  • As we have been studying the book of Proverbs, all of the passages before this week had some kind of structure that connected each of the verses.
  • These verses come in one verse format.
  • Even though each verse isn’t necessarily connected to the verse before and after in terms of flow of thought, there is a thematic connection  in this passage.
  • In these two verses we learn about the sovereignty of God.

(1) The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.  Proverbs 16:1

  • Verse 1 could be interpreted in a deterministic way.
    • One could interpret it to mean that everything that happens in a man’s heart and everything a man says was determined by God.
    • I do not believe that this is the proper interpretation of the passage.
    • The idea here is that a man can plan and prepare, a man can give an answer, and in the end trust God to guide our actions.
  • Verse 2 tells us that God sovereignty means He can see the heart.  He knows our thoughts and our motives.

(2)  All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.  Proverbs 16:2

  • We may think that what we are doing is right, but ultimately God is the judge of our actions and our motives.

Application:

  • On the one hand it is good to rest in God’s sovereignty.
    • We have the responsibility to think wisely about how we ought to live.
    • When we make plans and devise a way, we must do so wisely, looking to God for direction and trusting that He will intervene and guide our paths.
  • On the other hand it is important for us to understand that God’s sovereignty means we cannot outwit, hide from, out-maneuver God.
    • He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.  This truth should cause us to fear him.

A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Explanation:

  • Ultimately the best laid plans are subject to the direction of God. Nothing happens in our lives that he does not allow.
  • This does not make God the author of our sin. We cannot accuse Him of being responsible for the sin that we do.
  • On the contrary, we have the responsibility to make wise choices. We must choose to do the right thing.

Application:

  • There is comfort in these verses.
  • It is my responsibility to make the wisest decisions I can make.
  • I can trust the Almighty God who is in control. He loves me. He gave His Son to die for me. I can trust Him no matter what is going on.

We can know we are living wisely when we seek to please God by embracing 3 realities.

Reality #1- God’s Sovereignty

Reality #2.- Our Accountability (15:33, 16:2, 4-6)

Explanation:

  • All these last set of verses speak to the kind of relationship that we have to our sovereign God.
  • These next verses we learn that since God is sovereign, our relationship with God is marked by accountability.
  • From these verses we can learn some fundamental principles about our accountability.

1. Fear of the Lord comes from an understanding that we answer to Him. (15:33)

Pro 15:33

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

  • I am not afraid of the police when I am keeping the law.  I fear the police when I am breaking the law.
    • Why?
    • I understand that they have authority and that I am accountable to them when I break the law.
  • The same is true with God.
    • The truth is that we have all broken the law.
    • The God that is sovereign and created us has a law that we have broken.  He has a will to which we must submit.
    • We are accountable to him for what we have done and will do.

2. God will punish sin. (16:5)

Proverbs 16:5

Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

 

  • It has been stated in scripture time and time again that God hates pride.
  • In verse 5 it says, “though hand join in hand”, a reference to the shaking of hands at the end of a negotiation.
  • You can be assured that the prideful person will not go unpunished. God does not make a promise that He does not fulfill.
  • Jesus Christ died for the sin of the whole world.  He punished Christ on our behalf.  If a person does not accept Him as Savior, then they will be punished for their sin for all eternity.

3. An understanding of who God is and our accountability to Him will help us avoid wrongdoing. (16:6)

Proverbs 16:6

By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

  • When we understand this accountability, we fear God.  When we properly fear God, we will depart from evil.

Application:

  • A right perspective on God’s sovereignty helps us to recognize our accountability.  You and I answer ultimately to the God of the universe.
  • The good news is that He knew we could not perfectly keep His law, so He sent His Son to become one of us.  Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a sinless life, and then died on the cross so that we can have our sins forgiven.  God punished Christ for us.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.  2 Corinthians 5:21

  • Repent of your sin and trust in Christ as your only shot for salvation.  You and I are accountable to God.  He wants to forgive us.

We can know we are living wisely when we seek to please God by embracing 3 realities.

Reality #1- God’s Sovereignty

Reality #2.- Our Accountability (15:33, 16:2, 4-6)

Reality #3.- Integrity’s Benefits. (16:3, 7-8, 10-11)

Explanation:

  • In studying this passage the last few days we have begun to recognize God’s sovereignty.
  • Once we acknowledge God’s sovereignty it naturally follows that we are accountable to him.
  • When we live as people who believe that we are accountable to God the outcome is a life lived with integrity.
  • Living with integrity is a theme in this week’s passage.

The passage references 5 benefits of living with integrity.

1. Foundation for right thinking. v. 3

Pro 16:3  Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

  • The writer pleads with the reader to “commit” their “works unto the Lord”.
  • To do this we must have a mindset that everything we do is “unto the Lord”.
  • Every task, big or small, ought to be done knowing that God is watching and that God will be either honored or dishonored by what is done.
  • At our camp the theme verse is 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says,

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31”

  • A similar mindset was expressed by Paul in Ephesians 6 as he instructed servants on how to serve their masters.

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;  (6)  Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;  (7)  With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men…” Ephesians 6:5-7

  • This proverbs states that when we commit our works unto the Lord, our thoughts shall be established.
    • This means that our plans, ideas and actions will work out the way they ought to when our motivation is to honor the Lord with our actions.
    • If we have the right motivation our planning will be “established.”
      • Again, remember this is a probability and not a promise. It doesn’t mean that if we have the right heart that we will always be 100% effective and accurate.
      • It does not mean we can’t make mistakes in our thinking.
      • The probability that we will be thinking right goes way up when we are doing what we are doing as unto the Lord.

2. Peace with God and others. v.7

Pro 16:7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.

  • Another benefit of integrity is the possibility of peace with God and those around us.
  • Verse 7 says that when we are doing what pleases God it creates peace with even our enemies. This makes sense.
  • When we live with integrity we are honest, kind, self-less, honoring to God and to others. Even our enemies love being treated this way.
  • Again, do not take this as a promise but as a probability.
    • People with integrity still can be at odds with their enemies.
    • The probability is that people who aim at pleasing God are way more likely to be at peace with those around them.
  • We need a move of God in our hearts to be able to have these commitments, but when we do we will live in the benefits of a life lived with integrity.

3. Peace of mind. v.8

Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right. Proverbs 16:8

  • According to the Word of God it is better to do worse financially that to give away your integrity for a price. In what ways is it better?
  • People who do business without integrity
    • …must deal with the guilt of what they have done.
    • …constantly look over their shoulder thinking they may get caught.
    • …eventually pay for what they have done.
  • Those who do business with integrity are the kind of people who do better in business long term.
  • People want to deal with those who are honest and work hard.
  • When you deal with people honestly and with integrity you can

4. Wisdom for leading. v.10

A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment. Proverbs 16:10

  • In the context of Solomon’s day the King was to speak what was righteous, and was to seek God for direction to lead.
    • The king that sought God spoke on God’s behalf.
    • In our context, when a leader needs wisdom from God, God is inclined to give it to Him.
    • In the book of James, God promises to give wisdom to those who confidently ask for it.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  (7)  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. James 1:5-7

  • A leader who has the integrity to look for wisdom from God for leading will be given the wisdom that is needed.

5. God’s favor on our work. v.11

A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work. Proverbs 16:11

  • When a person sold goods in ancient times, much like today, they sold some goods by its weight.
  • Dishonest merchants would manipulate their scales to their benefit either to get more goods for less money if they were buying, or to give less money for more goods as they sold.
  • The businessman that had integrity made sure that the scales that were used were as accurate as possible. This kind of businessman was looking for fairness in their dealings.
  • What verse 11 tells us is that God’s will is always for business to be done with integrity. If fair scales are the Lords then you know that the business that uses this philosophy will be blessed.

Application:

  • The application is fairly straightforward:
    • Integrity is incredibly valuable. It is not something that we should give away.
    • God is inclined towards those who live with and practice integrity.
    • Conversely, to live without integrity is to sacrifice peace of mind, lead without wisdom, and to lose the blessing of God on what we do.

Response:

  • What can you do today to live with greater integrity?
  • Are you using any “unjust scales” in your life and work?
  • Are you living out of man’s wisdom or God’s?

Conclusion:

We can know we are living wisely when we seek to please God by embracing 3 realities.

Keyword:  Realities

Reality #1.-  God’s Sovereignty (16:1, 2, 9)

Reality #2.- Our Accountability (15:33, 16:2, 4-6)

Reality #3.- Integrity’s Benefits. (16:3, 7-8, 10-11)

Proverbs- Session 8- Structural Outline

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