Lesson 3

What I Am Versus What You Think I Am

(Proverbs 11, 13-15, 21, 22 and 30)
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Introduction: What does it mean to have a "good name?" We had some visitors in our class last week. Their last name was "Carrington." Some would say that is a good name. When I was growing up, the people who owned the garbage service had the last name "Smelling." Some might prefer "Carrington." Let's jump in and find out what the Bible means when it refers to a "good name!"

  1. A Good Name


    1. Read Proverbs 22:1. Does this verse give us two different ideas, or does it repeat the same idea in a slightly different way? (It repeats the same idea. Our lesson points out (Tuesday) this is called "parallelism" in Hebrew poetry.)


      1. If these are parallel ideas, what is meant by a "good name" according to Solomon? (Since this text repeats the idea, a good name is the same as being "esteemed.")


    2. Do you want to be esteemed? In case others fail to esteem you, should you do it yourself? (We will look at that later in our lesson!)


  2. God's Good Name


    1. Is God concerned about His name? (Read Exodus 20:7.)


      1. Can you give me examples of how someone could misuse God's name?


      2. Read Proverbs 30:5-6. Have you ever heard someone add to God's words? Is that a misuse of His name? (Yes! We proclaim our ideas as "truth" in God's name. I think music is an excellent example of this. Some churches are torn apart by disagreement over the type of music or type of instruments used in worship - a topic on which the Bible is virtually silent.)


        1. Should we boldly proclaim that those who go beyond the Bible and create requirements in disputable areas are sinners? (Look again at Proverbs 30:6. The text says God will do the rebuking.)


      3. Read Proverbs 14:31. How else can we misuse God's name?


        1. What does it mean to be "kind" to the needy? (Read Leviticus 19:9-10. Here God commands us to help the poor help themselves. Even in our charity we need to be proper representatives of God so we do not further sin. See 1 Timothy 5:9-13.)


  3. Pride and Our Good Name


    1. We hear a lot from our culture about the need for self-esteem. On the other hand, the Bible speaks strongly against pride. Is self-esteem good or is it just pride?


    2. Can you think of any Bible texts that encourage self-esteem? Let's look at one I think speaks to self-esteem. Read Luke 12:6-9. Does God tell us that we have self-worth?


      1. Is self-worth the same as self-esteem?


      2. On what does our self-worth depend? (Our relationship to God.)


    3. Read Proverbs 11:2. Why does disgrace follow pride? Why do you think wisdom arises out of humility?


      1. How would you go about summarizing the message that arises out of Luke 12:7 and Proverbs 11:2? Or, do you find that impossible?


    4. Read Proverbs 15:25. This makes God the active agent in attacking the proud. Why would God do that?


      1. What do you think is God's opinion of pride? (Read Proverbs 6:16-19. What are "haughty eyes?" (Pride - and letting your pride be known. God detests pride.)


      2. As you think about the stories recorded in the Bible, how serious a sin is pride? Can you give examples?(Read Ezekiel 28:14-17. To whom does this text refer? (This is commonly understood to refer to Lucifer - Satan.)


        1. What part did pride play in his original sin?


      3. Read Genesis 3:2-6. What part did pride play in the fall of man?


    5. Read Proverbs 13:10. What part does pride play in an unhappy marriage? Unhappy working conditions?


      1. Is your opinion better or worse than others? What does the Bible suggest on this?


    6. It is common in business to believe that if you do not explain your accomplishments, no one else will. Is "tooting your own horn" appropriate? (Read Proverbs 27:2.)


      1. What do you think is the basis for this advice?


    7. Is pride an easy sin to recognize? We have learned that pride is detestable to God. Is pride also detestable to man so that those who are proud naturally feel sorry for their sins? (Read Proverbs 26:12. "He who falls into some of the grosser sins may feel a sense of shame and poverty and his need of the grace of Christ; but pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the blessings He came to give. E.G. White, Steps to Christ, p.30.)


    8. How can pride interfere with you having a good name?


    9. How can we understand our self-worth in God's eyes without slipping into pride?


  4. Pride and Life


    1. Read Proverbs 18:10-11. We have a contrast between two places of protection. What is the difference between the "strong tower" and the "fortified city."


      1. Is Solomon saying that money will not protect? (Money does protect - it is not, however, perfect protection, an "unscalable wall.")


      2. What constitutes perfect protection? (The name of the Lord.)


        1. Why does the verse say "the name of the Lord" rather than just "the Lord?" (I think this refers to God's nature.)


    2. Let's continue by reading Proverbs 18:12. Does verse 12 relate to verses 10-11? (I think so. If you run to the name of the Lord (v.10), then you run to the nature of God. Someone who turns to God is not showing a proud and arrogant attitude. On the other hand, if you turn to your wealth for protection (v.11), that encourages a proud heart.)


      1. Why does humility come before honor?


      2. Would you like to be honored? If so, to whom should you turn?


      3. Why do you think pride leads to a downfall?


        1. Let's read Proverbs 21:4. What does it mean when it says pride is the "lamp" of the wicked? (A lamp is how you see life. How you decide what to do. ( Psalms 119:105 says that for the righteous, God's word is a lamp to the feet and a light for our path.) Thus, the proud person makes decisions based on what will lift him up over others.)


          1. Is this why pride leads to failure?


    3. Friend, if you want a better life here and a life eternal, God invites us to walk in the light of His instruction. He invites us to come to Him for protection. If we depend upon ourselves, if our every decision is guided by what will glorify us, then we are destined for a fall.


  5. Next week: An Ounce of Prevention.

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