PROVERBS 2: A call to Become Passionate About the Pursuit of Wisdom
Question: Terry began his sermon by talking about Cognitive Reframing (CR). He gave several examples; do you remember what they were? Now in your own words, describe Cognitive Reframing?
Answer: It’s a fancy word that means to change your thinking about something. It’s not making something up that’s not true or real, it’s seeing what is real or true about a situation by looking at it differently, more accurately, and more holistically. Sometimes what we are thinking or believing is just not right, sometimes it’s only partially true, and the part that is missing is crucial to healthy thinking and living.
Discuss: Now that we’ve defined Cognitive Reframing, give an example of how you’ve used it in the past to think differently about a situation you encountered. Note: We all have used CR at different times in our lives, we just may not have been aware of it.
Note: As you think about CR, it might be helpful to think of Terry’s example of the sick person, the teacher, the student, and the politician. Think of the shifts in there thinking and how those shifts can change perspective.
Today we want to know and understand that the book of Proverbs is Cognitive Reframing in epic form. However, its purpose is not merely cognitive (mental shifts); its purpose is worship and life shifts. The purpose of wisdom is that we become people who lead God-honoring and God enjoying lives. Wisdom is to reframe or to frame our thinking to align with the reality of God.
Read: Proverbs 2.
Note: Have one of your members read out loud, and the others follow along in their own Bibles. Remember that Proverbs 2 is a father passionately writing to a son—he’s calling him to, “Stay alive…enjoy life…live a life that matters…steer clear of disaster…become passionate about the pursuit of wisdom!”
DISCUSSION 1: Changing Our Thinking Takes Work
Q1: Look back over verses 1-4. Notice the word “if”! What are the words following “if” urging us to do? Pay attention to the verbs list them out.
Answer: If you accept my words, If you store up my commands within you, If you turn your ear to wisdom, If you apply your heart to understanding, If you call out for insight, If you cry aloud for understanding, If you look for it as looking for silver, If you search for it as searching for treasure.
Q2: What are these verbs telling us we must do?
Answer: We must put effort into our pursuit of wisdom if we want to gain wisdom!
Q3: Now, here’s a personal question, how much effort do you put into learning wisdom or drawing close to God? Be honest.
Q4: Now read verses 5 & 9. What happens if we put the verbs identified earlier into action within our own lives?
Answer: (vs. 5) Then…you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. (vs. 9) Then…you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path.
Q4: Remember that we said earlier Proverbs is trying to change our thinking. What thinking is this particular section of the Proverb trying to change?
Answer: Lots of possible answers, but one might be: we can’t just be casual in our pursuit of wisdom; we need to chase after it.
DISCUSSION 2: What God Gives Us / Does for Us.
Q1 God has so much that He wants to give us or do for us! Look at verses 6-12 and list what those things are.
Answer: Vs. 6 – He wants to give us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Vs. 7 – He wants us to succeed and to be a shield for us. Vs. 8 – He wants to guard and protect us. Vs. 12 – He wants to save us from the ways of wicked people.
Q2: What “thinking” might this section of Proverbs be trying to change in our thinking?
Answer: God wants to give us good things, but we also need to do the work. Remember that God is not distant, but wants to interact in our lives.
Q3: Read verses 12-15. God wants to save us from wicked people. How are the wicked described?
Answer: People with perverse words, People who have left the straight path of God, People who have delight in doing wrong, People who rejoice in the perverseness of evil, People whose paths are crooked, and devious People.
Q4: In your own words, describe what it looks like for us to avoid fellowship with these wicked people and yet be a light to them.
Answer: Remember that we are in the same house, job, and classrooms with them, but we walk a different path from them. We work to influence them instead of allowing them to influence us. Jesus set the pace for us… he was the light of the world.
Discussion 3: Two Paths Two Destinations.
Q1: Read the last 3 verses, 20-22. The chapter ends with two destinations in view. What are they?
Q2: Are these paths walked in isolation, or are they communal?
Answer: They are never traveled alone; people walk them in community with others. “He who walks with the wise grows wise, a companion of fools suffers harm,” Proverbs 13:20. A key point to remember: We are going to be influenced, it’s arrogance to think otherwise, so we are to pursue the influence of the godly on the good path. Living connected… it’s often inconvenient…but it is a crucial part of walking the good path.
Q3: Why does it matter which path we choose?
Answer: Because only one leads to a relationship with God. A place where your life is full of meaning and impact.
Ask God to give you a passionate drive for wisdom, ask him to give you his wisdom, tell God you will pursue wisdom…if you dare… Say this to Him… “God your wisdom is supreme, I want it…I want you. Though it cost me all I have, I want understanding.” Proverbs 4:7