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Proverbs 22:1-23 1
1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. 2 Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all. 3 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. 4 Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life. 5 In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls, but those who would preserve their life stay far from them. 6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. 7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. 8 Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken. 9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. 10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended. 11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. 12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge, but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful. 13 The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! I’ll be killed in the public square!” 14 The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit; a man who is under the Lord’s wrath falls into it. 15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. 16 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

Sayings of the Wise

First of the Thirty – Saying 1: 17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, 18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you. 20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and  knowledge, 21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve?

Second of the Thirty – Saying 2: 22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, 23 for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.

Background

Proverbs 22 seems to wonder across many topic but actually, it can be summarized as follows:  Having a good name is better than being rich. Train a child and they will not go astray. Listen to the wise and apply your heart to their teaching. Unlike many places in the Bible where we are given commands, Proverbs are all about wisdom and advice. Following wise instruction will bring us a more peaceful, productive life.

The second major section in the Book of Proverbs is Proverbs 10:1, to Proverbs 22:16, containing 375 short poems. Most poems have two lines, and each poem is one verse long. We call each poem a ‘proverb’. Solomon uses a conversational style . For example, one proverb might explain the previous one. Another proverb might contrast with the previous one. Imagine that a group of wise people talking about wisdom. Each person in the group speaks briefly. They all listen to each other. Then, each person tells his thoughts or ideas to the other people. The conversation would be similar to this section of the Book of Proverbs.

The proverbs describe  living. Often, they describe good things in our lives but also contrast bad things. They do not always explain whether something is good or bad. Here, you need to use your own wisdom to decide. For example, Proverbs 10:15 says, “Great wealth protects a rich man. Lack of wealth ruins a poor man.’”This does not mean that we should try to get great wealth. Proverbs 8:10 tells us that wisdom is better than wealth. We should want wisdom more than we want wealth.There are 30 wise lessons in Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 24:22. The number ‘30’ was important to Solomon. It meant that there were many lessons. these were the great lessons.

Items for Discussion

  • What are your good sources for advice?  Why do you choose to believe those sources?
  • How does experience help someone with providing advice to others?
  • Why does experience not necessarily assure the advice you will receive is good?
  • When you read the above Proverb and examine the advice,  pick one example and discuss why it is logical and to be followed?

Mark 7:24-30
24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” 28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Background

Before we begin our attempt to understanding this story, we need to understand the meaning of the word Jesus uses for “dogs “. He uses a word that really means “puppies” (kunariois – a little dog). The woman is a mother and Jesus is saying to her, “You know how families eat: First the children eat at the table, and afterward their pets eat too. It is not right to violate that order. The puppies must not eat food from the table before the children do.” If we go to Matthew’s account of this incident, he gives us a slightly longer version of Jesus’s answer in which Jesus explains his meaning: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” Jesus  has concentrated his ministry on Israel, to show Israel that He was the fulfillment of all Scripture’s promises, the fulfillment of all the prophets, priests, and kings, the fulfillment of the temple. It would be after His resurrection, Jesus would say to the disciples, “Go to all the nations.” His words, then, are not the insult they appear to be. What he’s saying to the Syrophoenician woman is, “Please understand, there’s an order here. I’m going to Israel first, then the Gentiles (the other nations) later.”

However, this mother comes back at him with an astounding reply.  She says, Yes, Lord, but the puppies eat from that table too, and I’m here for mine. Jesus has told her a parable in which he has given her both a combination of challenge and offer, and she gets it. She responds to the challenge: “Okay, I understand. I am not from Israel, I do not worship the God that the Israelites worship. Therefore, I don’t have a place at the table. I accept that.” What is amazing is that she doesn’t take offense; she doesn’t stand on her rights. She says, “All right. I may not have a place at the table—but there’s more than enough on that table for everyone in the world, and I need mine now.” She is wrestling with Jesus in the most respectful way and she will not take no for an answer.

Jesus understood the blockage of sin between humanity and God as the root cause behind all personal, political, ethical, religious, social, and familial strife. That was His purpose on earth. His mission was not about fixing the apparent problems of human culture as much as it was about redeeming the inherent problem with the human heart. In our society today, people assert their rights. People claim, “This is what I’m owed.” But this woman is not doing that at all. She’s not saying, “Lord, give me what I deserve on the basis of my goodness.” She’s saying, “Give me what I don’t deserve on the basis of your goodness—and I need it now.” Because she was humble, she was persistent in bringing her needs to Jesus, and she had faith that Jesus had ample power and good will to meet her needs, her child was healed.

Items for Discussion

  • Jesus was trying to go incognito and get some rest. He couldn’t do it because He was found out and and asked to heal a young girl, What might we conclude about our Lord and Savior from this need for rest? Why should it matter to us?
  • Jesus has a plan. What is it?
  • How did the mother with the ill daughter defend her needs before Jesus?
  • What can we conclude about Jesus by His healing of the young girl?

Discussion Challenge

  • How should the body of Christ (the Church) then deal with people of need that seem to disrupt our plans?

 

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
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