Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. Have you ever watched the Emmy, Oscar or Tony awards program on TV? What interests you the most?
2. If you were to receive a prestigious award, what would you do? And what would prompt your reaction?
- run to the front
- casually saunter
- delay your move
- walk slowly with dignity
- boycott the program
3. Many of Solomon’s proverbs are but ‘variations on a theme’. What major themes do you see? What variations are significant in this chapter? How do they affect his message?
4. In what ways are kings like (and unlike) God and the silversmith (verses 2 – 5)? What would it be like for you to stand in the presence of each? What does Jesus say about this in His parable (Luke 14:7 – 14)?
5. How do leaders “remove wickedness from their presence” (verses 4, 5, 26)? What does that achieve? Why does that seem so hard to do?
6. Why is it so crucial to settle out of court (verse 8)? To keep a confidence (verses 9 and 10)?
7. What variation do you see here on the power of the spoken word, for good and evil (verses 9 – 15, 20, 23, 25)?
8. When does quiet persistence win out? What other actions speak louder than words (see Romans 12:20)? What does it mean (verse 22) to “heap coals on his head”? What faith in God does this method of revenge presuppose?
9. What variation on the “honey” theme do you see here (verses 16, 27; see also Proverbs 24:13)? What rules of thumb does this suggest for any who wish not to overstay their welcome, or not indulge in too much of a good thing?
10. What do the repeated themes in Proverbs do for you?
- drive home a point I may have missed
- suggest new areas for application
- bore me to tears
- develop a habit from reinforced ideas
11. What things do you think God has concealed from you (verse 2)? What is your attitude toward this? Is finding the answer an obtainable goal, a worthy pursuit, a matter of trust or like eating from the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:17)?
12. If you practiced the principle of humility in verses 6 and 7, what would happen at work? At home? At church? To what would you like to be elevated?
13. From the integrity and humility theme, what hits you like a “club, a sword or a sharp arrow” (verse 18)? Why?
14. What area of your life would you compare to a “broken down wall” (verse 28)? What will you do to regain that missing measure to self-control?
15. What “good news from a distant land (verse 25) would be refreshing to your soul right now?