WORDS OF TRUTH.
Words of Truth
Read for This
Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and
knowledge, that I may make you know the certainty of the words of
truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?
Some of this week’s proverbs show parallels
with Egyptian texts. Under inspiration, Solomon might have shaped
these texts according to a specifically Hebrew perspective. Here,
the words of the Egyptians meet the Spirit of Israel’s God, and thus
they became divine revelation.
This observation is important, for it reminds us of the universal
truth. What is true for the Israelite should
also be true for the Egyptian; otherwise it would not be the
truth. Some truths apply universally, to everyone.
The domain of these admonitions is common to both communities.
That is, whoever you are, whether a believer or not, and wherever
you live, there are some things that you should not do.
*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath,
The Knowledge of Truth
Proverbs 22:17-18. What are we being told about how truth should
impact our lives?
The first duty of the student is to listen and pay attention:
Incline your ear and hear (Prov.
22:17, NKJV). In other words:
crucial point is that the seeker of truth must be earnest, must
truly want to learn what is right and then do it.
But it is not enough for the student to listen or even to
understand, intellectually, what is being taught. Some people who
have a lot of biblical facts in their heads have no real knowledge
or experience with the Truth (John
Instead, truth should reach the innermost part of the human
being. The Hebrew phrase in
within you (NKJV)
refers to the
stomach. The lesson should not stay on the
surface; it has to be digested, assimilated, and become an inner
part of our beings. Once the message has gone deep into our system
and becomes rooted within us, it will then rise to our lips, and we
can have a powerful testimony.
Proverbs 22:19–21. What should an experience in truth do for us?
1. Faith (Proverbs
22:19). The first goal of the teaching of wisdom is not
wisdom per se. Proverbs does not aim at making more
intelligent and more skillful disciples. The teacher’s objective is
to strengthen the disciple’s trust in the Lord.
2. Conviction (Proverbs
22:21). Students should know why these
words of truth
(NKJV) are certain; they should know why
they believe what they do. Faith by definition is belief in what we
don’t fully understand. Nevertheless, we still should have good
reasons for that faith.
3. Responsibility (Proverbs
22:21). The last step of education is to share with others
words of truth (NKJV) we have
received. This is central to our whole calling as a people.
Think about all the powerfully logical
reasons we have for our Seventh-day Adventist faith. What are these
reasons, and why should we never hesitate in keeping them ever
before us and sharing them with others? Bring your answer to class
Robbing the Poor
Proverbs 23:10. What are we warned about here?
Though it’s always wrong to steal, this prohibition concerns
stealing from the poor and the oppressed, who are the most
vulnerable. They are truly helpless, and therefore they qualify for
God’s special concern (Exod.
22:21–27). The case of David, who killed Uriah in order
to steal his wife, and Nathan’s parable of the ewe lamb
Sam. 12:1–4), come to mind. Robbing from the poor is not
just a criminal act: it is a sin
against the LORD
Sam. 12:13). To take from someone who has less than what
you have is worse than stealing; it is also an act of cowardice.
Do these thieves think that God doesn’t see their actions?
Proverbs 22:23 implies that even if the thief gets away with no
human punishment, God will repay. The reference to the Redeemer, the
23:11), may even allude to the divine scenario of end-time
So, this warning, along with others in the Bible, speaks against
those who are interested only in the immediate
gains of their
actions, and not the long-term results. They take possession and
enlarge their properties at the expense of others, and they are
willing to cheat and kill for that purpose. They may enjoy it now,
but they will pay later. This reasoning should not only discourage
the thief; it should show that our ethical values are intricately
tied to the Sovereignty of God.
In England some atheists had the following
slogan placed on city buses:
There’s probably no God. Now stop
worrying and enjoy your life. Though there are many retorts one
could give in response, think about this one: if there were no
God, then those who steal from the poor, and are getting away with
it now, really have nothing to worry about. Indeed, all those who
have done great evil and seem to have gotten away with it will, in
fact, have really gotten away with it. How should faith in God
and in His promises of judgment help give us some peace of
mind regarding all the injustice we see in the world now?
Being Jealous of the Wicked
Proverbs 24:1-2; and
Proverbs 24:19-20 warn us about?
Why would someone envy the wicked? Most likely it’s not because
of the actual sins that they might be committing. Rather, it’s
usually because of the immediate gain (wealth, success, power) that
they achieve through their wickedness — that’s what people often
covet for themselves.
Though, of course, not every successful or rich person is wicked,
some are — and they are probably the kind of people we are being
warned about in these verses. We see their
good life and,
from our perspective, especially if we are struggling ourselves,
it’s easy to envy what they have.
This, though, is a very narrow and shortsighted view of things.
After all, the temptation of sin is that its reward is immediate: we
enjoy the present gratification. A perspective beyond the present
can protect us from temptation; that is, we need to look beyond the
gains of our sin and think through the long-term
Besides, who hasn’t seen just how destructive sin is? We never
get away with it. We might be able to hide it from others so that no
one, even those closest to us, has a clue about what we are doing
(though sooner or later they catch on, don’t they?); or we might be
able to delude ourselves into thinking that our sins are not that
bad. (After all, look at how many people do worse things!)
But sooner or later, one way or another, sin catches up with us.
We should hate sin because it is sin. We should hate it because
of what it has done to us, to our world, and to our Lord. If we want
to see the real cost of sin, look at Jesus on the cross. This is
what our sin has cost. That realization alone should be enough
(though so often it isn’t) to make us want to avoid sin and to keep
away as much as possible from those who would lead us into it.
Have you ever struggled with envy over
someone’s success? What’s the best remedy for this spiritually
deadly problem? (See
What We Put in Our Mouths
It is no accident that the first human temptation concerned food
3:3). It was by being disobedient and eating of the wrong
thing that brought sin and death into the world (Gen.
Rom. 5:12). We shouldn’t miss the hard fact, too, that
the first mention of wine drinking in the Bible is presented in a
terribly negative and degrading story (Gen.
Proverbs 23:29–35. How is the use of alcohol presented in these
Who hasn’t seen personally just how devastating alcohol can be?
Sure, not everyone who drinks becomes a drunk in the gutter. But
most likely drunks in the gutter never imagined, the first time they
took a drink, that they would eventually wind up in the gutter.
The man who has formed the habit of drinking intoxicating
liquor, is in a desperate situation. He cannot be reasoned with, or
persuaded to deny himself the indulgence. His stomach and brain are
diseased, his will power is weakened, and his appetite
uncontrollable. The prince of the powers of darkness holds him in
bondage that he has no power to break. — Ellen G. White
The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 3, p. 1162.
Proverbs 23:1–8. Why should we control our appetites?
This admonition is about more than table manners. The biblical
text is a warning to those who like to eat and who have great
23:2). The metaphor of putting a knife to one’s throat is
particularly strong: it not only means curbing the appetite, but
also suggests the risk to your health and even your life that could
be caused by overeating. The Hebrew word (bin), translated
consider carefully, expresses the idea of carefully deciding
between eating various kinds of food. The same word is used by
Solomon when he asks for wisdom to help him
between good and evil (1 Kings
3:9, NKJV). The inspired writer has more in mind than
just the issue of appetite control. His counsel may also concern
banquets and social drinking, when we are pressured and tempted to
desire his delicacies (Prov.
Think about someone you know whose life has
been destroyed by alcohol. Why should that example alone be enough
to help us understand why we should never put that poison in our
When I say to the wicked,
33:8, NKJV). What basic spiritual principle is revealed
here? How do we take this concept and apply it to our everyday
wicked man, you shall surely die! and you do not speak to warn
the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity;
but his blood I will require at your hand
Years ago, in a big Western city, a woman was being attacked at
night on a street. She cried out for help; dozens heard her, yet not
one person even bothered to call the police. Most people looked out
the window and then went back to whatever they were doing. Soon the
woman’s cries stopped. Later, she was found dead, stabbed numerous
Were the people who heard her cries but did nothing responsible
for her death? Though they hadn’t attacked her themselves, did their
inaction kill her?
23–28. What important messages are here for us?
The law of Moses clearly warns that those who fail to report what
they witness will bear guilt (Lev.
5:1). We may not be able to act against crime, but if we
keep silent about what we see, we then share the guilt with the
criminal. By our silence, we become accomplices.
On the other hand, if we report the truth in our testimony,
right answer (Prov.
24:26), we respond appropriately and behave as
responsible people. This act is compared to a kiss on the lips,
meaning that the person cares about the other one.
It’s tragic enough to remain silent and do
nothing as a woman is being murdered on your street. But what about
many of the other evils in the world: hunger, war, injustice,
racism, economic oppression? What are our responsibilities here as
Souls around us must be aroused and saved, or they perish. Not a
moment have we to lose. We all have an influence that tells
for the truth or against it. I desire to carry with me unmistakable
evidences that I am one of Christ’s disciples. We want something
besides Sabbath religion. We need the living principle, and to daily
feel individual responsibility. This is shunned by many, and the
fruit is carelessness, indifference, a lack of watchfulness and
spirituality. — Ellen G. White,
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 99.
Talk faith, live faith, cultivate love to God; evidence to the
world all that Jesus is to you. Magnify His holy name. Tell of His
goodness; talk of His mercy, and tell of His power. — Ellen G.
Our High Calling, p. 20.
- In class, go over your answer to Sunday’s final
question. What can we learn from each other’s answers? What
are ways that we can learn to build up our faith in what we
- Someone wrote:
Remember two things: Christ died for
you, and you will one day die. In the context of
Tuesday’s study, which talked about how we will have to
answer for sin one way or another, what crucial lesson
should we take away from this thought?
- Here again is the quote put on the buses in London:
There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your
life. Besides what the lesson talked about, what other
problems do you find with that sentiment? Why would God’s
existence be something that would make people worry to begin
with? What does this sentiment tell us about how well Satan
has distorted the character of God in the minds of many
people? In class, come up with different ways in which you
could respond to that slogan. What are some short, pithy
slogans that could help people see the hope that we can have
NAD: West Virginia
Helping Mission Succeed
When Dan Jacko isn’t busy helping people learn to walk again,
he’s assisting his church members with their spiritual walk. Pastor
Dan, a professional physical therapist, is also serving as lay
pastor for the Mountain View Conference in the two church district
of Elkins and Parsons, West Virginia. He also teaches biology and
chemistry to the academy level students at the Highland Adventist
School in Elkins. His wife, Cheryl, is an educator and registered
nurse, and serves as the principal of the K-12 school. Their son,
Jeremy, teaches Bible, math, and history.
Believing mission is important, every other year, Pastor Dan
leads the students and church members on a mission trip. So far,
they’ve been to Mexico, Panama, Honduras, and in 2014, Costa Rica.
While in Costa Rica they built a church during the day, and
presented evangelistic meetings and Vacation Bible Schools in four
different churches in the evenings. In spite of his own full
schedule, Pastor Dan was impressed with the dedication of the pastor
in Costa Rica, who shepherds six churches, and doesn’t have a car.
Not only does Pastor Dan and his members build churches
abroad–they also build them at home, where they recently completed
their own church and school, located on five and a half acres (2.2
hectares), and are completely debt-free.
The most recent challenge for Pastor Dan and the 80-member Elkins
church is keeping up with the many Bible study requests coming from
their community. Over the course of three mailings in 2013 and 2014,
everyone in the state of West Virginia received an invitation for
the Voice of Prophecy’s Discover Bible course. The response was
overwhelming–with 10,000 people indicating that they would like to
have Bible studies. Of that number, more than 200 came from the
Some are face-to-face Bible studies, explains Pastor Dan,
and others prefer to take them by correspondence, which are then
graded by our local church members. The local churches are
responsible for purchasing the lessons and providing postage for
What makes this area even more of a mission field, says
is that you’ll get a lot of people who say, I believe
this, but if their family isn’t in favor of it, a lot of them just
won’t make the commitment.
Nevertheless, Pastor Dan and the small churches he leads see
reaching people for Jesus in their territory as an important mission
and are willing to give the time, effort, and funds needed to help