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Proverbs 3:5-7 1
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 8 This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

clip_image015Background

The Book of Proverbs is one of the books of the Ketuvim of the Tanakh, and thus also one of the books of the Old Testament. The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is “Míshlê Shlomoh” (“Proverbs of Solomon”). When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint (LXX) the title became “paroimai paroimiae” (“Proverbs”). In the Latin vulgate the title was “proverbial”, from which the English title of Proverbs is derived.

Biblical Truths

The word בְּטַח (bÿtakh, “trust”) is used in the OT in

  1. literal physical sense: to physically lean upon something for support and
  2. figurative sense: to rely upon someone or something for help or protection. The verb is often used with false securities, people trusting in things that prove to be worthless. But here the object of the secure trust is the Lord who is a reliable object of confidence.

The “heart” functions as a metonymy 2 of subject encompassing mind, emotions and will.

Heb “do not lean.” The verb שָׁעַן (sha’an, “to lean; to rely”) is used in (1) literal physical sense of leaning upon something for support and (2) figurative sense of relying upon someone or something for help or protection. Here it functions figuratively (hypocatastasis: implied comparison); relying on one’s own understanding is compared to leaning on something that is unreliable for support (e.g., Isa 10:20).

Heb “your understanding.” The term בִּינָה (binah, “understanding”) is used elsewhere in this book of insight given by God from the instructions in Proverbs (Prov 2:3; 7:4; 8:14; 9:6, 10; 23:23). Here it refers to inherent human understanding that functions in relative ignorance unless supplemented by divine wisdom (Job 28:12-28; 39:26). The reflexive pronoun “own” is supplied in the translation to clarify this point. It is dangerous for a person to rely upon mere human wisdom (Prov 14:12; 16:25).

Items for Discussion

  • Why do we trust? It is apparent that humans would be much safer if they did not trust so why is it that trust is a human trait?
  • Can society exist without trust?
  • Can you describe any modern societies that have no trust?
  • What is the difference between trusting in someone who is strong versus someone who is weak?
  • What is wrong with the human heart that God says it is not reliable?
  • God says that “He will make your paths straight.” That is a proactive statement. How do you interpret this?
  • Why do you think that God has tied shunning evil with a healthy body?

 

Acts 2
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. 5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” 14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Background

The traditional title of this book is, in some respects, a misnomer: it primarily deals with the “acts” of Peter (Chapters 1-12) and Paul (Chapters 13-28). It really should be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus had indicated that the next phase of God’s program would be “The Comforter’s.” Certainly He, the Holy Spirit, is the principal mover behind the scenes in the Book of Acts.

Biblical Truths

As the Father had promised (see note on 1:4), the church was constituted and empowered for its world-wide task (see 1:8) on the Day of Pentecost (50 days after the first Easter Sunday). God often uses symbols which are signs that have a special meaning for particular occasions. We use the symbol of a wedding ring, the firing of canons for royal occasions, the use of flags, fireworks, and the Olympic flame. And there is rich meaning in the wind (see note on 2:2) and the fire (see note on 2:3) and the tongues understood by people of different nations (2:4).

This filling of the Spirit according to Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28-29) was not an individual experience. It was the church being brought into existence and animated by the Spirit to form a body (Romans 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 4:16) through which the Messiah would be able to express himself in every city of the world (see notes on 1:5 and 1:8). This church would become a temple of living stones (Ephesians 2:21-22, 1 Peter 2:5) to replace the dead stones of the Jerusalem temple (which would soon be thrown down, Matthew 24:2). And this temple would move and grow where it was needed in every city of the world.

Items for Discussion

  • Why is it important for you to be separated from the world by your faith in Christ?
  • By selling all of their possessions, the early Christians became dependent upon each other. Why is dependence upon each other important to a strong faith?
  • Why is it important for Christians to meet in their homes and break bread with each other?
  • Why did the early Church grow? See 2:47
  • Peter used the Old Testament. Why is it important to you that our church still uses the Old Testament?

Discussion Challenge

  • How do we keep the Spirit alive and well in our lives and in our church?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. a figure of speech in which an attribute of something is used to stand for the thing itself, e.g. “laurels” when it stands for “glory” or “brass” when it stands for “military officers”
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