Lesson 8

Words of wisdom 08

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Page 1: Words of wisdom 08

Lesson 8

Page 2: Words of wisdom 08

Key Text:

“Most men

will proclaim

each his own

goodness, but

who can find a

faithful man?”

Proverbs 20:6



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To some degree (a great degree,

actually), we are all products of

our environment. Though

heredity plays a big role, the

values we hold come to us from

what is around us—our home,

our education, our culture. From

infancy we are impacted by what

we see and hear.

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Unfortunately, what we see

and hear isn’t always the

best for us; the world around

us is fallen in every way, and

it cannot help impacting us


Nevertheless, we have been

given the promise of the Holy

Spirit, and we have God’s

Word, which points us to

something higher and better

than the world does.

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This lesson we will look at various

proverbs and the practical truths they

express, truths that, if taken to heart

and followed, can, indeed, help us to

overcome the negativity of this fallen

world and prepare us for a better one.

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The equality of all humans (Proverbs 20:9, 12)

Being perseverant (Proverbs 20:6)

Waiting for the Lord (Proverbs 20:17, 20-22; 21:5-6)

Compassion (Proverbs 21:13; 22:16)

Proper education (Proverbs 22:6, 8, 15)

The words of wisdom in Proverbs 20, 21 and 22:1-16 set the parameters that should guide our daily life.

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Why should we all be considered equal?

“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both.” (Proverbs 20:12)

“All men are created equal.” (Thomas Jefferson, U.S.

Declaration of Independence, July 4 1776).

There may be differences in race, size or genre, but we all are equal because we have been created by God (Acts 17:26).

Are we equal in any other aspect?

“Who can say, ‘I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my

sin’?” (Proverbs 20:9)

We all are infected by a cancer called sin (Romans 3:23)

We all are equal because we all need a Savior to redeem our sin.

This is what makes us different: only those who accept Jesus as their Savior will be created again to live forever (2Co. 5:17)

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Now, though we all

have the same Maker,

this doesn’t mean we

are all the same.

Even identical twins

don’t wind up beha-

ving exactly alike.

In Corinthians, Paul

talks about our diffe-

rences and stresses that they should not lead to a sense

of superiority but should, instead, help us to see our need

for one another. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have

no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no

need of you’ ” (1 Cor. 12:21).

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Read Proverbs 20:9

What else makes us all equal?

Sin is another universal equalizer. To the rhetorical

question of the proverb, the answer “no one” points to the

tragic and hopeless condition of humankind. Humans are

all weak and

mortal, and all the

money and power

in the world will

not change that.

Yet, in the context

of the Scriptures,

this reference to human sinfulness should not lead to

despair, because Jesus’ death on the cross and His

resurrection have paved the way for anyone, no matter

how sinful, to have the promise of eternal life. And this life comes solely through faith in Him—not by our works.

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Do you ever find yourself feeling

superior (or inferior) to other


(You shouldn’t be comparing

yourself to others anyway.)

If so, what should the Cross tell

you about the equality of us all?


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“Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?” (Proverbs 20:6)

It is OK to be praised for a good deed. Nevertheless, what about the other deeds you do? Should you be praised for them?

It is not the single sensational act of love or sacrifice that will demonstrate the high quality of our relationships, but the long and regular series of small actions that we perform day by day, patiently and surely.

Should I tell others how good I am? Quite the opposite! “Let

another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)

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“Oh, how many are waiting for

opportunity to do some great work of

self-sacrifice, and are overlooking the

little daily test which God gives to

prove them. It is the little things of life

that develop the spirit in men and

women and determine that character.

These trifles cannot be neglected and

yet the man be prepared to endure the

severe tests, when they are brought to

bear upon him.”

E.G.W. (This day with God, May 15)

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“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of

gravel.” (Proverbs 20:17 NIV)

Contemporary society sometimes considers that breaking the Law of God to obtain something we want may be advantageous. It may seem that way if we only think in this short life.

But if we long for everlasting life, we must fully trust God. We must obey Him and wait. Just put the things we cannot handle in His hands.

We can find two examples in verses 20-22.

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“If you insult your father or mother, your light will be snuffed out in total darkness. An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in

the end.”(Proverbs 20:20-21)

Are you waiting for your rich parents to die so you finally get your inheritance? That’s just an example. Solomon wanted us to think on the foolishness of trying to get goods in a fraudulent and quick way. God cannot bless them.

Just trust God. He will give us everything we need at the right moment.


“Don’t say, ‘I will get even for this wrong.’ Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.”

(Proverbs 20:22)

Let’s trust God if we are done wrong and we deserve justice. He will avenge us.

We are told to be merciful as we trust God. That way, we will “heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” (Pr. 25:22). Maybe we could bring salvation to that person; conquering evil by doing good (Rom. 12:21).


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“Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.”

(Proverbs 21:13)

“A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.”

(Proverbs 22:16)

1. Because of God. Because God receives every act of kindness to the poor as if it was done to Him (Pr. 19:17; Mt. 25:35-40).

Our character is measured by the compassion we show in our relationships (Luke 10:26-37)

2. Because of the poor. Because both the poor and the rich were created by God (Pr. 22:2). Therefore, the poor deserve all the care the rich do (and they need it more).

Why must we be merciful?

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For God’s sake: The first reason to make this a priority

lies in God Himself, who prefers human compassion for

the poor over our religious zeal (Prov. 19:17, 21:13). Your

sensitivity to the poor

and your concrete

deeds on their behalf

will count more with

God than will any of

your pious acts.

In fact, God is perso-

nally invested in that

work, so much so that

when we give to the

poor, it is as if we are

giving to God Himself

(Matt. 25:35–40).

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Read Matthew 25:35–40. What does this tell us about how

Jesus identifies so closely with those in need? How

should this truth impact how we relate to such people?

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For the sake of the poor: The second reason lies within the

poor person, whom God has created just as He has created the

rich person (Prov. 22:2). The equality between humans, based

on the fact that God has created them all, makes the poor as

worthy of attention as the rich person. We should love our

neighbors for who they are: beings made in the image of God.

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At the same time, think about how much good it does you

to help those in need. Our basic natures are selfish; by

default we tend to look out for ourselves over and above

others. By giving of ourselves, we learn to die to self

and to better reflect Christ’s character, and what is of

more value to us than that?

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In what ways do you

get a greater sense of

personal satisfaction

from helping others in

need than only doing

things for yourself?


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“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

“By your manner of dealing with the

little ones you can by the grace of Christ

mold their characters for everlasting

life.” (E.G.W., The Adventist Home, sec. 12, cp. 52, pg. 305)

“Those who plant injustice will harvest disaster, and their reign of terror will come to an end.” (Proverbs 22:8)

We must be aware of the heritage we leave for posterity. That thought should also lead our daily life.

Solomon compared the education to sowing. Whatever we sow our children, our friends and our neighbors with, will grow in due course for either good or evil.

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“As the seed sown produces a

harvest, and this in turn is sown,

the harvest is multiplied. In our

relation to others, this law holds

true. Every act, every word, is a

seed that will bear fruit. Every

deed of thoughtful kindness, of

obedience, or of self-denial, will

reproduce itself in others, and

through them in still others…

Thus the sowing of good and evil

goes on for time and for eternity.”

E.G.W. (Christ’s Object Lessons, cp.6, pg. 85)

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PROVERBS * The Call of Wisdom




We invite you to download and study each one of the 13

lessons about this serie