Scripture: 2 Chronicles 10:1–19; Proverbs 3:11–12, 6:23, 10:17, 12:15, 13:1, 15:32
Memory verse: Proverbs 12:15
"The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice."
You will need paper, scissors, and tape. Make three loops. Each loop should be two meters long. (If you cannot get adding machine paper, use any paper that is cut to 5c wide.) Connect the ends of the loops with tape. Loop 1: Tape into a loop without any twists. Loop 2: Twist an end twice and tape together. Loop 3: Twist an end once and tape together.
Begin by asking students what they do when they face a problem or need to make a decision. Then display the loops, explaining that each loop stands for a problem. Hold up the first loop. Tell a volunteer to cut Loop 1 along the middle all the way around the loop. As they are cutting, tell the class that sometimes we try to solve our problems by ourselves. Eventually we find ourselves getting so caught up that we do not seek God’s wisdom and the situation becomes worse. Instead of having one problem, it now becomes two problems. Ask the student to hold up Loop 1, which has been cut into two loops.
Choose another student. Tell them to cut down the middle of Loop 2. Tell the class that sometimes we solve our problems by seeking others’ advice. We may ask others instead of seeking advice from God. This may lead to a good solution, but not the best solution. Have the student hold up Loop 2 that has been cut to make two loops intertwined with each other.
Then choose a third student and tell them to cut down the middle of Loop 3. As he is cutting, explain that the best way to solve our problems is by praying for God’s help and reading His Word. Point out that God may lead us to other people who are filled with wisdom and experience and know how to handle the situations we are facing. These may include Christian parents, teachers, or other godly people. Have the student hold up Loop 3, which comes out as one continuous loop after being cut.
Tell the students they will learn about the wisdom of listening to and following good advice. Your whole life is a learning process. From the time you are born until your life ends you will be learning new things. Learning never ends.
Processes of Learning
Sometimes learning is easy. We can learn by watching a task being performed. Simple chores, such as dusting furniture and taking out the garbage can be learned just by seeing someone do them. Then we are able to do the same thing. Other tasks may require us to listen as a teacher explains the process of solving a problem. As we listen to the teacher and study our assignments, we absorb the necessary facts and remember them for future use.
Sometimes learning is difficult. We learn to ride a bicycle by climbing on and balancing it as we pedal. We may fall and get our knees scraped a few times before we get the hang of riding it. We must get up and get back on the bicycle and keep trying in order to master this skill. It is the same in many other physical sports we may try.
Ask: “Have you ever had a learning experience like this?” (Allow one or two students to respond.)
Hearing God's Word
(Ask a student to read Proverbs 3:11, 12.) This is a common way we are taught when we are small.
Ask: “Do any of you have a baby or toddler in your family? (Allow responses.)
Ask: “Can you give an example of how your parents teach him or her?
Parents often protect their child by keeping harmful objects out of reach. They may buy special plugs to cover electrical outlets so the child cannot get shocked. They cannot always keep danger out of the child’s reach though, so they must teach him to avoid danger in order to grow up safely. Teaching a child to avoid danger often involves discipline. The child must be disciplined if he disobeys warnings. As the warnings are for his safety, the discipline is necessary. A child might get his hands smacked if he reaches for a hot stove or tries to eat the leaves of a plant. This is a parent’s way of teaching a small child to heed warnings and good advice.
Parents who love their children are concerned about their welfare. They know from experience that some things are harmful, and they want their child to learn the difference between what is good and what is bad. Discipline is proof that parents love their child.
Warnings, advice, and correction are parts of life. We never get too old or too smart to listen to good advice. Proverbs 10:17 and 15:32 tell us it is a mistake not to listen to instruction.
Ask: “Can you think of a time when you were given instructions and you did not follow them? What happened?” (Allow responses.)
Learn from Others’ Mistakes
We can also learn by listening to others and using their advice and experiences to improve ourselves.
Solomon’s son Rehoboam did not learn this lesson very well. After Solomon died, Rehoboam became the king of Israel. One day the people came to him. They promised they would be loyal workers for Rehoboam if he would lighten their workload and decrease their taxes.
Rehoboam asked some of the older, more experienced advisers for their opinion. “Do as they ask,” the advisers said, “Then they will serve you faithfully.”
Rehoboam took the matter further. He asked some young men what he should do. They told him to make the people work harder. Then they would know Rehoboam meant business.
Rehoboam decided to do as the young men said. That was a big mistake. Because of this decision, 10 tribes of Israel pulled away from Rehoboam. He lost most of his kingdom because he refused to listen to wise advice.
Proverbs 19:20 says we should accept instruction so we will become wise. Instruction points out areas where we may be uninformed or think wrong. Rehoboam received instruction from the older advisers in the kingdom. However, Rehoboam refused to obey their instructions. The results were disastrous.
Consider someone who is a constant troublemaker.
Ask: “How does he act?” (Allow responses.)
He questions anyone in authority; he makes fun of those who try to instruct him; he is loud, rude, interruptive, and will not accept correction.
(Ask a student to read Proverbs 13:1 and 18 aloud.) The troublemaker we discussed could be called a “mocker.” The description fits well. A wise person accepts teaching and obeys instruction. Those who choose to reject instruction will regret it.
Proverbs 13:18 also promises a reward for those who listen to instruction and accept correction when they are wrong. God’s Word clearly teaches that those who accept advice and instruction will be honoured.
Knowing Good Advice
Some people will try to help you by giving you advice. But some advice is not helpful. In fact, it can be dangerous! You can get all kinds of advice on how to have friends, how to be popular, and how to get your own way. You may be encouraged to act a certain way, wear certain clothes, and develop certain habits so you will fit in. But this advice could cause serious problems to your spiritual health.
Ask: “So how does a person know when to heed advice and when to ignore it?” (Allow responses.)
The best way to test advice is to compare it with God’s Word. Any instruction that is contrary to God’s Word is wrong—no matter how logical or good it may sound. That makes it important for us to know what the Bible says. It is our guide on living wisely. If someone gives you advice that does not follow the Bible’s teaching, do not accept it.
Ask: “To whom should we go for advice? (Allow responses.)
We should look to people who are serving God and who know what His Word says. These people can pray with us and help us discover the best thing to do.
Our memory verse this lesson is Proverbs 12:15. (Have a student read the verse.) This verse says a person who thinks he never needs advice is a fool. Notice the second half of the verse: “But a wise man listens to advice.” It is much better to be considered wise than to be called a fool. (Recite the memory verse together.)
Accepting God’s Word
(Read Proverbs 6:23.) As you prayerfully follow instruction and advice from your Christian family and friends, and as you study God’s Word, God will guide your decisions. God will help you grow wise so you can give sound advice to others. You also will become a strong witness for Jesus. You can influence others by listening to good advice and being teachable. Ask God to help you lead others to Him.
Daughters remain with their mothers until they marry. However, as soon as a son reaches puberty, he leaves the family compound and lives alone in a nearby compound, usually with some cattle. This new compound becomes the home of the son and his future wife.
The first marriage of a man is usually arranged by the man's father. A bride-service of helping the girl's father with his livestock is performed by the man, who usually marries in his early twenties. Polygamy (the practice of having more than one wife) is practiced, up to the Muslim limit of four wives. There is one chief wife, however, who has authority over the other wives.
Children belong to "age-sets" until they marry. An age-set is grouped at three or four year intervals, with every child born in those years belonging to that set. The children in an age-set go to school together and may participate in community labor, or may help someone in their set with bride-service. Each age-set has a leader, a deputy, and a judge.
Fula Jalon Prayer
Almighty God, I humbly approach You today seeking Your favour upon the Fula Jalon people. Their Islamic faith has blinded them to the light of the gospel. Very few have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
They have walked in darkness for centuries and need a deliverer to set them free from Satan's deception. Send messengers of truth to teach them by word, example and a display of Your power.
You promised that if anyone believes in Your Son, Jesus, he would be saved. That promise in John 3:16 applies to the Fula Jalon. Solomon testified in 1 Kings 8:24 "With your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it."
Compassionate and gracious God, stretch forth Your hand to the Fula Jalon today. Amen!
Remember: BE TEACHABLE
Memory verse: Proverbs 12:15
"The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice."
1. I will be a good learner.
2. I will listen and accept the lessons of life learned by others.
3. Life's experiences will be my teacher, God helping me.
Pray for a move of God's Spirit among the Fula Jalon.
Study 16 | Migrants—Proverbs | africaatts.org/go-teach