A Father’s Instruction
Over the next month, Time With God will be studying the book of Proverbs. Although we will read an entire chapter each day, the study questions in Digging Deeper will focus on select verses addressing a specific topic.
I’m not sure where he got it, but he handed it down to me. They have been words of wisdom that have been super helpful in my life. My father always said, “Consider every man your teacher.” I took that to mean be humble and listen. Listen to the younger. Listen to the older. Listen to the less experienced. Listen to the more experienced. Listen to the harsh words and listen to the gentle ones. You’d be surprised the strife that you can save yourself from if you listen first.
- Do you remember a time that you responded poorly to constructive criticism? How would you handle that situation now?
Read the Word
Proverbs 13 (ESV)
13:1 A wise son hears his father's instruction,
but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
2 From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good,
but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.
3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
5 The righteous hates falsehood,
but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.
6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
but sin overthrows the wicked.
7 One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8 The ransom of a man's life is his wealth,
but a poor man hears no threat.
9 The light of the righteous rejoices,
but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
10 By insolence comes nothing but strife,
but with those who take advice is wisdom.
11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,
but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
15 Good sense wins favor,
but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.
16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a faithful envoy brings healing.
18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is honored.
19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
21 Disaster pursues sinners,
but the righteous are rewarded with good.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,
but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous.
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food,
but it is swept away through injustice.
24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
but the belly of the wicked suffers want.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 1, 10, 13-14, 18, and 20.)
- What verb is associated with a wise son (vs. 1)? What opposite action is associated with the scoffer?
- How is insolence contrasted with taking advice (vs. 10)? The verse states that there is only one thing that can come of insolence. What is that one thing?
- What becomes of the person who despises the word (vs. 13)? What awaits the one who reveres the commandment? In contrast to the phrase “despises the word,” what would you infer “revering the commandment” to entail? From verse 14, what helps one make choices to turn away from alternate choices that are really snares leading to death?
- What will come to those who ignore instruction (vs. 18)? What is the opposite of ignoring instruction?
- From verse 20, whom should we spend our time with? What is the guarantee if we walk with wise people? What will happen if we make fools our companions?
Respond to God
The Message paraphrase of verse 20 reads, “Become wise by walking with the wise; hang out with fools and watch your life fall to pieces.” Wisdom really is the better way to go. Yet so many times we all, like fools, choose differently. The grace we find in Christ gives us freedom from past mistakes and freedom to make better choices in the future. Titus 2:11-12 says that grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness. Insolence, not heeding rebuke, despising the word, or ignoring instruction will bring great harm to us and those around us. Walk with people who are characterized by the opposite, those who follow the Father’s instructions, and you will become wise.
- Ask the Father how his gracious commands are instructing you today, to keep you from harm.
- Pray for grace to say no to ungodliness!