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Be Attentive

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BE ATTENTIVE 

Scripture: Exodus 20:12; 1 Kings 4:29-32; Proverbs 1:1–7, 3:1–12, 22:17

Memory verse: Proverbs 22:17
"Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise."

Lead—In

As a person matures and begins taking responsibility for more choices in their lives, they may try to make decisions without paying attention to God’s instructions. That path will lead to frustration, and eventually destruction. If we choose to ignore wise counsel, we will learn the hard way that it is impossible to live a fulfilled life without Christ. We can save ourselves some time and trouble if we hear the specific instructions in God’s Word and apply them to our lives. The wise thing to do is to read God’s instruction book, the Bible, and save ourselves a life of heartache as we find guidance and direction from God.

Hearing God’s Word

Life can be confusing at times. We may wonder whom to be friends with, what to spend our money on, or what to do when we grow up. God knew that we would have choices to make throughout our lives. Although He may not give specific answers to all our questions, He does give guidelines to help us make right choices for a happy life. These guidelines are in His instruction book, the Bible.

Who Wrote Proverbs?

Ask: “Besides Jesus, who was the wisest man who ever lived?” (Allow time for responses, then choose a volunteer to read 1 Kings 4:29–32.)

Solomon was the son of King David. When King David died, Solomon became the new king of Israel. Solomon ruled over Israel for 40 years. As he gained insight and wisdom during his reign as king, he wrote proverbs about wise living until finally he had recorded 3,000 proverbs. Some of these are in the Book of Proverbs in our Bible. The Book of Proverbs is full of gems to help us live joyful lives.

What is a proverb?

Proverbs are statements, usually short, that teach a lesson. Some of the Proverbs in the Bible give direct instructions, such as “Do not accuse a man for no reason—when he has done you no harm.” Others are similar to Jesus’ parables because they teach lessons by comparing or contrasting two different thoughts.

Ask: “What does it mean to compare and contrast?” (Allow responses.)

To compare means to show how two things are alike; to contrast is to show how two things are different. (Give an example of each, such as comparing students who are tall and contrasting them with students who are short.) Solomon often used this style of writing to teach about the right way to live.

Many of the Proverbs that are comparing two things will have two parts joined by a semicolon or the words like, as, or and—“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” This means that a cheerful look and good news both make a person feel better.

Proverbs that contrast two kinds of people or ideas often have two phrases separated only by a semicolon. They also may use key words and phrases-- not so, better than, or the word but—“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” This proverb means that a man who is careful with his words is much wiser than the one who speaks without thinking about what he should say.

The Purpose of Proverbs

Ask: “What do you think Solomon’s purpose was in recording his proverbs?” (Allow two or three students to each read a few verses of Proverbs 1:1–7.)

Solomon knew that making right decisions is sometimes confusing, especially for young people. He was in that situation when he became king. As a youth, problems you face now might be things you have never faced before. You need help to make the right choices.

Many youth in Bible times took political leadership, even became kings, at a very early age. Although they had people to give them advice, they were responsible for making the final decision.

Ask: “How would you feel about having to decide laws that affect the whole country?  What are some changes you would make?” (Allow responses.)

If you became the president today, you would have to decide on laws about issues like abortion, drugs, and crime. You would need wisdom in making decisions so the country would be at peace and blessed by God. Solomon wrote Proverbs to give wisdom to young people as they made decisions. They show people what their responsibility is for living a godly life. Some of the things we can learn from paying attention to Proverbs, listed in Proverbs 1:1–7, are wisdom, discipline, insight, prudence, justice, fairness, knowledge, discretion, and guidance.

Even if you never become king or ruler over a country, you will always need wisdom to live as God wants you to. If you pay attention to the wisdom given in Proverbs, you will learn characteristics and guidelines to become better students, better sons or daughters, better citizens, and better Christians. The same qualities will help you when you become employees, parents and leaders.

Rewards for Attentiveness

Besides knowing that we are pleasing God by using the wisdom from Proverbs, God gives other blessings if we pay attention to the Proverbs. (Have three or four students each read a few verses of Proverbs 3:1–12.) The reward for keeping God’s commands is a long and healthy life.

Ask: “Can you think of one specific command God gave that can lengthen our lives? “ (Let a student look up Exodus 20:12.)

Many proverbs talk about listening to the wisdom of parents. God has given you parents to teach and protect you. This does not mean you will never have sickness or accidents if you obey your parents. Sometimes God allows things to happen to build our faith or to teach us to rely on Him. However, God often teaches us wisdom through the advice of parents and counsellors.

Another reward for learning loyalty and faithfulness from Proverbs is favour with God and man. That means you will have a closer relationship with God and get along better with other people when you learn how to be a loyal friend, a faithful Christian, and someday a faithful husband or wife. As we learn to trust in the Lord, God will give us guidance and protection.

God also rewards obedience to His commands by His faithfulness to provide everything we need. We may not ever be rich, but when we live close to God and trust Him to provide, we will always have something to wear and food to eat. Sometimes His provisions come through unexpected miracles; other times He gives us guidance in everyday things, like finding a job. Whatever the source of the money, we can thank God for His blessings and faithfulness.

Words to Live By

Ask: “How would your parents feel if you wrote down and memorized everything they told you to do, but never obeyed their instructions?” (Allow responses.)

It is wonderful to memorize God’s Word. The Holy Spirit will often remind us of Scriptures we have memorized. It will not do us any good to only memorize God’s instructions; we must also apply them to our lives. The wisdom and insight from Proverbs will help us in every area of our lives. We can avoid mistakes and frustration if we seek God’s guidance before making decisions—rather than making our own decisions first and then asking God to help us get out of the mess we are in.

God loves each of us and wants us to enjoy a godly life with the peace and love only He can give. This is possible when we have a relationship with His Son, Jesus. To begin this relationship, we must accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.

Accepting God’s Word

Choose one verse from Proverbs to read to the students, such as Proverbs 3:5: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding.” Let the students tell what they think the verse means and ways they could apply it to their lives. Make a list on the chalkboard as they give suggestions.

Displaced People

The Tigre number about 1.1 million and is the second-largest tribe in Eritrea. I was privileged to personally visit four Tigre areas: Massawa, Sh’eb, Agordat and the Dige sub-region at Algheden.

A Tigre settlement of approximately 5,000 people is located at the edge of Massawa. This settlement generates the largest market in the area, serving all the inhabitants to the north. Two mosques are located here to serve the Islamic community. The new one is located on the Massawa-Gurgusom Beach road.

During Eritrea’s 30-year war for independence, Ethiopian soldiers killed many people with machetes. The military battles fought on this site destroyed most of the housing. Stick and straw houses are now being replaced with permanent buildings. 

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
God has a Plan

1. Thank the Lord for bringing the Tigre into settlements near the roads,
2. Believers from other tribes who now have access to the Tigre develop a plan for presenting the gospel to them,
3. The Lord has a plan for the Tigre's salvation. May every detail be fulfilled. 

Prayer Promise

"In perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago" (Isaiah 25:1).

Remember: BE ATTENTIVE

Memory verse: Proverbs 22:17
"Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise."

1. God's guidelines help me make good choices.
2. A student of God's Word gains wisdom.
3. I want to learn from the Bible, my parents, and life's experiences.

Pray for the Tigre tribe's salvation.

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Study 2 | Migrants—Proverbs | africaatts.org/go-teach

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