Lesson 6

Wise Words for Families

(Proverbs 5, 15, 21, 31 and Ephesians 5:28)
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Introduction: The Bible is filled with all sorts of practical advice. Last week we studied Biblical advice about how to teach our children about God. This week we move on to advice for grown children in their marriage. Having a good family requires a good relationship between husband and wife. Our lesson this week starts with advice for those who are married. After studying those potential problems, we consider how some of these problems can be avoided by being alert when dating. Let's dive into our study!

  1. Honey and Gall


    1. Read Proverbs 5:1-2. Who is being taught in this Bible text?


      1. What does the Bible say is the "payoff" for children paying attention to the Bible-based advice of their parents? ("Maintain discretion" and "your lips preserve knowledge.")


        1. What do you think it means to "maintain discretion?" (It means you are going to save yourself from evil. The result is that you will not be embarrassed. Want to maintain your dignity son? Want to avoid falling in a pit? Then pay attention to this!)


        2. What do you think it means to have "your lips preserve knowledge?" (People will listen to your advice. They will learn important life lessons from seeking and taking your advice - as opposed to learning important life lessons from seeing how your actions wrecked your life.)


    2. Read Proverbs 5:3-4. Oil and honey. No one in my office has oil and honey oozing out of their mouth. Even if they did, it would not be attractive. What does this mean? (It means that when you begin an extra-marital affair it seems like a lot of fun.)


      1. How does it end? (It hurts you (double-edged sword) and it feels terrible (bitter as gall).


        1. Why is that? (Affairs are irrational.)


        2. How many times have you seen someone have an affair with another person who is not as desirable as their spouse? (This happens all the time. What is "fun" about an affair is that it reminds you of when you were dating. The reality of actually living with the "other" person - a person you now know is probably willing to "cheat" on you is a different matter.)


        3. Years ago I needed a new secretary. The (female) office manager came to my office and announced, "I've got the perfect candidate for you. She is beautiful and she married her last boss." It turned out the manager was not joking about either of those facts. (She was joking about my job qualifications.) Not too long after we hired her, guess who came to visit me? Right, her new husband/ex-boss. He wanted to see what I looked like. Guess why?


    3. Read Proverbs 5:7-8. How would you apply the "do not go near the door of her house?" (It obviously means "do not be alone with her in her house." But the "near the door" means a lot more.)


      1. How many of you like to flirt? (I do. It is a wonderful ego boost (especially in my old age) to have a pretty lady flirt with me.)


        1. Is flirting "going near the door?" (This is an area in which you need to be alert. I believe the "near the door" phrase certainly includes our mind. It is critically important to avoid thinking about the "oil and honey" of an affair with someone else. Our words reflect what we think. Therefore, if the "flirting words" cross the line to describe improper conduct, pay attention because the alarm bells are ringing. Turn away. Better, run away.)


    4. Read Proverbs 5:9-10. Why should we run?


      1. Does Proverbs 5:10 describe divorce lawyers? (Toby Keith is probably my favorite Country singer. He sings this sad song about driving by the place where he used to live and seeing his house, his kids, his wife, his truck and his dog - and a stranger who now possesses all of his stuff! His song asks, "Who's that man running my life?" If you have an affair, the likely result is that strangers will "feast on your wealth," they will be "running [what used to be] your life.")


        1. Why would the Bible be talking about the financial side to infidelity? (The Bible is telling us to be rational - not emotional - about marital fidelity.)


    5. We skipped a couple of verses before. Read Proverbs 5:5-6. Is this the spiritual advice side of this?


      1. Notice that verse 6 says, "she knows it not." What does that suggest? (The other person in the adultery is not knowingly trying to cause you loss here and eternally. It is up to you to be careful even when it is a friend who is the potential source of your infidelity.)


  2. Married to Gall


    1. Read Proverbs 21:9 and Proverbs 21:19. Our discussion so far has assumed that marriage with the original spouse was good. We assumed it was excitement that lured one spouse into an affair. Assume you live with a short-tempered and angry spouse. What do these texts say about living with Mr./Mrs. Angry and Twisted? (It is not much fun.)


    2. Read Proverbs 27:15-16. How do you find the constant sound of dripping? (Annoying.)


      1. How do you like rainy days? (A quarrelsome spouse is like an annoying dripping on a rainy day.)


      2. The NIV seems to miss an important point here. Strongs says the Hebrew word "yamiyn" refers specifically to the right hand. What additional meaning does that add? (Your right hand is your strongest hand. All your efforts are insufficient to restrain this kind of spouse.)


      3. What hope does the Bible give us for restraining an angry and twisted spouse? (Not much.)


      4. Read Genesis 2:18. How did Proverbs get so far from the ideal?


    3. If you have a short-tempered and angry spouse, is it okay to dump them for someone else who is more pleasant?


      1. Should you move to the roof? How about the desert?


    4. Let's not just describe the problem, let's look at solutions so you don't have to move to the roof. If you are not married, what should you be looking for in a spouse?


      1. How important is appearance as opposed to personality? (Before I was married, if someone suggested that I should date someone "who had a good personality" I took that as a signal to run because this potential date was going to be ugly.)


        1. Did I have the right attitude? (No. It turned out that God led me to someone who was both beautiful and pleasant - but if I had to choose, an angry and twisted beauty would be no fun. With the passage of time, she would likely not even be beautiful. All you are left with is angry and twisted. See Proverbs 31:30.)


    5. Let's read a text that suggests what an unmarried man should be looking for in a potential wife. Read Proverbs 31:10-11. Is this the goal? To find a spouse that will allow others to say that you "lack nothing of value?"


    6. Read Proverbs 31:12. How can you make a judgment about this while you are dating? (If your date is beating you up and causing problems while you are dating, you can be sure this will not end when you get married.)


    7. Read Proverbs 31:13. What characteristic does this describe? (She is not lazy. A lazy spouse is frustrating.)


    8. Read Proverbs 31:16. What characteristic does this describe? (That she has a business mind. She has a sense of money management.)


    9. Read Proverbs 31:20. What characteristic does this describe? (She has compassion - even for the less fortunate.)


    10. Read Proverbs 31:25-26. What characteristics do we find here? What does it mean to "laugh at the days to come?" (She is wise and prepares for the future.)


    11. Should you expect all of those qualities in your wife-to-be? (Ask yourself how many of those qualities are in you? These texts give you an idea of what to look for in a potential mate.)


    12. What if you are already married? Is there any solution, other than the roof, if you are currently married to "angry and twisted?"(Read Ephesians 5:28. You cannot, as Proverbs 27:16 tells us, "restrain" angry and twisted. You can, however, love "angry and twisted" into something else. I have seen this happen in a couple. Some mistakes impose long-term penalties. God gives us advice to overcome our mistakes.)


    13. Read Proverbs 15:1. What other advice does God give us for living with "angry and twisted?" (It is hard to be unbiased about our own failures. If you are living with a quarrelsome spouse, chances are that you are part of the problem. Gentle answers help to prevent arguments.)


    14. Friend, the best way to have a good marriage is to pay attention to the character of the person you choose to marry. If you are already married, God gives us advice on how to keep our marriage intact. Will you put forth the effort to keep your marriage together and improve your relationship with your spouse?


  3. Next week: The Royal Love Song.

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Lessons on Families in the Family of God

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