Lesson 4

An Ounce of Prevention

(Proverbs 2, 3, 4, 17, 23, 1 Cor. 6)
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Introduction: In recent years our society has taken a new view of medicine. Instead of simply fixing what is "broken," we now try to prevent "breakdowns" by having regular check-ups and addressing potential problems before they become real problems. Is this idea applicable to our spiritual and physical health? Can we engage in "preventive medicine?" Let's see what we can learn from the inspired words of King Solomon this week!

  1. Wisdom, Attitude and Health

    1. Read Proverbs 2:6-10. What will reading the Bible, the Word of God, do for you?

      1. What does verse 10 mean when it tells us that "knowledge will be pleasant to your soul?" (I think it means we will feel good about life.)

    2. Is there a connection between our mental attitude and our physical health? (Read Proverbs 3:7-8)

      1. How do you think fearing God and shunning evil (3:8) brings health to our bodies?

      2. Do you notice that you more easily become ill when you feel under great stress?

      3. What prescription would you issue for stress? ( Matthew 6:33-34 tells us to seek a relationship with God and do not worry about tomorrow.)

    3. Read Proverbs 15:30. Can the way you look influence the way you feel? What do you think is a "cheerful look?"

      1. If you started looking more cheerful on Monday, would your life be better? If you say, "yes," tell me why?

      2. Have you ever experienced the healthy effect of "good news?"

    4. Let's go back and continue with Proverbs 2:11. Is this "preventive medicine" for our life?

      1. Have you had a time in your life that allows you to affirm that discretion or understanding protected you from harm?

    5. Read Proverbs 17:19-22. What kind of person is described in verse 19? What is a "high gate" in verse 19? (This is an illusion to a walled city. Someone who says I'm stronger, smarter, better looking, superior to you so that I can better you in any situation is a "high gate" person.)

      1. Why do you think such people invite destruction?

      2. Do verses 19 and 20 describe sinful attitudes? Does a sinful attitude create trouble in our life according to King Solomon?

      3. What does verse 21 say can also create trouble for us?

      4. What relationship do you see between verse 22 and verses 19-21? Are verses 19-21 a guide to a cheerful heart? Or, is verse 22 "stand alone" advice? (Sin has an impact on our attitude which has an impact on our health. However, I think verse 22 goes beyond that and tells us that a cheerful attitude has a positive impact on health.)

        1. What is a "crushed spirit?"

      5. Can we crush the spirit of our:

        1. Children?

        2. Co-workers?

        3. Spouse?

        4. Parents?

      6. Can your attitude make your family members sick?

        1. Can you help them, through your attitude, to be more healthy?

    1. What is the route to true health reform: diet and exercise or a right relationship to God?

      1. Are these mutually exclusive ideas?

      2. Which route is most strongly urged by the Bible?

  1. The Temple

    1. Let's read a New Testament text about sin and health that is generally misunderstood because it is taken out of context. Read 1 Corinthians 6:16-20.

      1. What does it mean (v.17) to unite ourselves with the Lord? (God often speaks of Himself as the "husband" of His people. Two helpful texts on this are Hosea 2:19-20 and Ephesians 5:29-32.)

      2. Why does 1 Corinthians 6:16-20 say that sexual immorality is wrong? (We "unite," we have this closest of relationships, with an inappropriate person.)

      3. Is sexual immorality worse than other sins?

        1. What is the "cure" for sexual immorality? (Verse 18: "flee.")

          1. How would you recommend we flee?

          1. Do you flee in your life? Or do you like to come close?

      1. When verse 19 refers to us protecting our "temple," is it talking about sexual purity or proper diet? (It is not talking about diet, the context clearly shows it is talking about sexual immorality.)

      2. Even if the context of verse 19 is sexual immorality, would it still be proper to cite it for proper diet?

        1. Let's read some more context for verse 19. Read 1 Corinthians 6:12-14. What does this say about eating the wrong things?

        2. Do you think the quotations in verses 12 and 13 reflect Paul's views? (They might. See Romans 14:14. However, Paul is saying "Let's be careful here and (v.12) not be mastered by anything. Not everything is "beneficial" to eat.)

        3. Does Paul teach that concerns about the stomach are concerns about what will be destroyed? (Yes. Our bodies will ultimately be destroyed - in contrast to inappropriate sex - which involves our special relationship with God which will last forever.)

      3. Why do you think that Paul decided in these verses to discuss food and sexual immorality together? How does this make any sense? (Much of the controversy over food dealt with whether you should eat food sacrificed to idols. In Corinth, the temple of Aphrodite involved prostitution as part of the temple service. Do you see now the contrast Paul is making? When it comes to the question of eating meat offered to idols, Paul says we have liberty--but don't be mastered. When it comes to temple prostitution, Paul says this is a terrible sin for we join in the most intimate of relationships with a prostitute to the exclusion of becoming one in spirit with God. Looking at the context shows this text is not about diet, it is about sex and our relationship with God.)

    1. Let's read Proverbs 23:18-21. What does King Solomon say is the problem with excess when it comes to eating and drinking? (You become poor.)

      1. Does this mean fat people are poor? When I was young, my father's friends would look at his generous belly and say, "You must be doing well!" In fact, if you look at Proverbs 11:25 and 28:25 in the KJV it tells us that being good makes us fat! (Now I know why the KJV is so popular among older Americans!)

        1. How do you explain King Solomon's point in Proverbs 23? (We have all felt drowsy after a big meal. If the focus of your life is on eating and drinking, you will lack an alertness to other important things in life.)

    2. Proverbs 5 has counsel that compliments 1 Corinthians 6. Let's read Proverbs 5:1-5. What does Solomon mean when he says an adulteress starts out as sweet as honey, but ends up as bitter as gall?

    3. Let's skip down to Proverbs 5:15-18. The imagery here is striking. Water often represents life in the Bible. Does it have that meaning here?

      1. Does Solomon teach that sexual purity enhances our health? If yes, how?

      2. I love using the term "the wife of my youth," but my wife is not too wild about it!

  1. Friends and Health

    1. Read Proverbs 22:24-25. How can a "hot-tempered man" ensnare us? (It is enlightening to consider all the ways in which our friends influence us. This text says that if we have friends who are quick to get angry, it will influence us to be like that.)

    2. How can a quick temper adversely affect our health? (Read Proverbs 16:29. Someone with a temper can arose an intemperate reaction from you with results that are "not good." It is dangerous to react with a quick temper to those who lack self-control with their temper.)

    3. Read Proverbs 14:7-9. What is the difference between a foolish and a stupid person? Does this text tell us not to be friends with those of low intelligence? (I like the way the Living Bible paraphrases this: "If you are looking for advice, stay away from fools." Lacking average intelligence is not the same as being foolish. There are some very smart fools. Proverbs 1:4 tells us that the Bible studying simple can be wise. We need to be careful about our sources of advice.)

    4. Can accepting bad advice about how to live hurt our health? Have you seen or experienced any examples of that?

      1. Read Proverbs 4:20-22. Does King Solomon teach there is a relationship between the influence of our friends and our health?

    5. Friend, the Bible tells us that our relationship to God has an impact on our health. If you want to be well, you need to cultivate your walk with God and a kind attitude towards those around you.

  2. Next Week: Your Choices Determine Your Destiny

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