Lesson 5

Your Choices Determine Your Destiny

(Proverbs 10 and 13)
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Introduction: "Outcome determinative."If you are over 40 years old you can see that certain of the choices you made as a young person determined the course of your life. I call those choices "outcome determinative." King Solomon tells us that when it comes to God's law, our choices are outcome determinative. Let's jump into our study and find out more about Solomon's inspired counsel!

  1. The Right Steps

    1. Read Proverbs 13:1. Where does a good life start?

      1. Does this continue in life? Do we still have "fathers" even though our earthly father is dead? (Our Heavenly Father gives us advice in the Bible. We have spiritual "fathers" and we have people at work who are "fathers." Proverbs 12:15 says, "the way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." The key is looking to the right source for advice and then listening.)

    2. Read Proverbs 13:2-3. After taking good advice, what is the next step to a good life? (To watch how we speak.)

      1. Why do you think the way we speak is so important?

      2. Towards the end of our lesson we will discuss how much we should speak.

    3. Read Proverbs 13:4-6. After taking good advice and then watching how we speak, what comes next? (Doing right.)

      1. Have you heard it said that God provides our needs, but not our desires. After looking at verse 4 is that true?

        1. Does verse 4 tell us that we (the diligent) provide our own desires - and not God? (Who told us to be diligent? Solomon is not talking about salvation, as such, he is talking about how we should live. We are co-laborers with God to do what He says - including being diligent.)

  2. The Right Stuff

    1. Read Proverbs 13:7-8. When we were discussing obtaining what we desire were we talking about money? Do you desire more money? What is the message of verses 7 and 8?

      1. Let's break it down. What do you think it means to "pretend to be rich?" How do you "pretend to be poor?"

      1. What does it mean in verse 8 to say, "A man's riches may ransom his life?"

        1. My brand is not Nike or Dior, it is "second" or "reject." I do not like to buy anything unless it is on sale. Much of the "stuff" I have purchased over the years is expensive looking, but has some flaw in it which I either fix or live with. I drive an old Mercedes which I keep very shiny. Am I what King Solomon is talking about? (If verse 7 stood alone, I would say, "yes." But verse 8 puts verse 7 in an entirely new light. Solomon is saying that real money is not wealth. Your wealth holds you "ransom.")

        2. Have you experienced the "ransom" of wealth?

          1. When you buy a new car, what is your worst fear (other than how to pay for it)? (Someone will run into you or open their door into your side and dent it.)

            1. Does this fear ransom you?

          2. If you buy a boat, motorcycle, second home, motorhome, etc. do you have to spend more time working on these things? Does that ransom you?

    1. Read Proverbs 13:11-13. Why does money gathered "little by little" grow as opposed to that won through the lottery? (I'm not saying legal lottery winnings are "dishonest" - we can leave the resolution of that issue to another day. But someone who earns and saves money little by little had a higher appreciation for it.)

      1. Does God fulfill the longings of our heart?

        1. On what does this depend? (I think that verses 12 and 13 are related. Our actions have consequences -- either for good or ill.)

  1. Understanding Right

    1. As you consider the idea that the path you choose in life largely determines your destiny, tell me how you think God fits into this? Is He more like an umpire calling out the nature of your actions or is He more like a coach telling you how to play correctly?

    2. Are God's laws arbitrary? If not, on what are they based?

    3. Let's read Psalms 19:1-3. How do the heavens speak about God? (I must ask this question about these verses six times a year in my lessons! They show God's great power and order. The stars and planets don't (generally) bump into each other. Man has discovered the universe is slowly expanding - at just the perfect rate so that it does not (through the weakening forces of gravity) explode or (through the strengthening forces of gravity) implode!)

    4. Let's read Psalms 19:7-9. Why does Solomon jump from the heavens to the law of God? (The "point" is that God's laws for us are as natural and ordered as are the laws of the universe. These are not arbitrary commands, they are counsel on the way the world works and we ignore them at our peril. We are right, for example, to fight against the tide of the culture trying to teach our children that homosexuality is normal and acceptable. However, this is not a "fight" that we have to win. Homosexuality, like every other sin and deviance from the law of God, is going to come crashing down because it is contrary to the natural order that God has created. These matters are not in our hands, but God's hands. Our assignment is to understand God's natural laws and comply.)

  2. A Fool's Choice

    1. Our lesson (Tuesday) mentions that 9% of the book of Proverbs is devoted to a discussion of fools and foolishness! Let's see what comes of dealing with fools.

    2. Read Proverbs 23:9 and 26:4-5. Should we talk to fools or not?

      1. Does this mean that we should not share the gospel with fools?

      2. Don't Proverbs 26:4&5 directly contradict each other? (The SDA Bible Commentary on these verses says these verses only seem to contradict each other. Verse 4 tells us we should not answer a fool on his own terms. We should not accept his assumptions in our answer. On the other hand, verse 5 tells us to answer a fool so that his foolishness is revealed.)

      3. Can you put all three verses together and come up with a summary of what they teach? ( Proverbs 23:9 tells us that we should not waste our time in fruitless arguments with fools. Proverbs 26:4 tells us we should not answer a fool using his foolish assumptions. But Proverbs 26:5 tells us that at the same time, wisdom should tell us how we can give Godly answers which will reveal fools to be fools.)

  3. The Final End

    1. Read Proverbs 10:8-9. Why does this text mention that the fool is talking? (The wise man is listening to commands so that he can accept them, the fool is talking and not paying attention.)

      1. Not paying attention leads to what? (Ruin)

      2. Why is the man of integrity secure, and the "crooked path" fellow not? (You don't have to worry if you are a "straight arrow.")

    2. Let's continue with Proverbs 10 by slipping down to verse 19. Read verse 19. This is no good for the class! I like it when you talk - as opposed to sitting there silently! Why do many words equate with sin? Why is it wise to hold your tongue? (I think the idea is pride. If we just like to hear ourselves talk, then we are guilty of pride.)

      1. Why is it a virtue to hold your tongue? (Read Proverbs 10:20-21. This helps to clarify the matter. The righteous man should speak because it is a blessing to others. However, when you are a fool, or have nothing to add, you are wise to hold your tongue.)

      2. Read Proverbs 17:27-28 which continues this concept. We have a fellow in my office who is constantly upset by matters and is screaming about others. Do you know someone like that? Is such a person wise?

    3. Read Proverbs 10:24-25. Why does the righteous person stand? Is it because God intervenes and destroys the fool? Or is it because the fool destroys himself? (Someone who understands God's will and makes right decisions can weather the "storms" of life. This idea of weathering storms is part of the "steps" that we discussed earlier, beginning with taking godly advice, watching how we speak, and finally doing what is right.)

    4. Read Proverbs 24:19-20. Does this say that evil people will not prosper?

      1. What is the hope of the righteous? (Friend, God promises His children a future with Him! That is the long term benefit of trusting and obeying God.)

  4. Next Week: Live Within Your Means.

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