Introduction: You may have heard the Carribean song that goes, “If
you want to be happy for the rest of your life….” The song
continues with the solution, “Don’t make a pretty woman your wife.”
I’m too smart to take a vote in class about whether husbands think
this is true – I certainly know it is not true in my case. Worse, it
might start a discussion of whether wives are happier with ugly
husbands! King Solomon was inspired to answer the question about how
we can find happiness in Proverbs. Let’s jump in and find out if his
path to happiness has anything to do with the looks of our spouse!
- How many of you want to be happy and cheerful? How many
want heartache, turmoil or oppression?
- Read Proverbs 15:13-17. Do you notice the contrasts in
these verses? “Happy” and “cheerful” versus “heartache,”
“oppression” and “turmoil.” Are these attitudes a choice
or the result of events outside our control?
- Are these verses just a statement that happy is
better than sad? Or do they tell us how to get to
“happy?” (Some of these verses are descriptive, but
some give instruction. The “instruction verses” are
14, 16 and 17.)
- If you agree that verses 14, 16 and 17 are
intended to teach us the path to happiness, what
is that path? What do we need to learn to be
happy? (Verse 14 teaches us to seek to know God
better. Verse 16 tells us that respect and
obedience towards God is better than money.
Verse 17 tells us that love is better than fancy
food. Put together, these three verses say that
knowing and obeying God, and loving those around
us is the path to joy.)
- Read Proverbs 14:27. How will the attitude of obedience
towards God improve your life?
- Read Proverbs 10:28. When the text says our “prospect”
brings joy, what does that mean? (A Christian has
happiness in the hope for the future.)
- Read Proverbs 12:20. What is another way to have joy in
our life? (To try to promote peace among those we know.)
- Is happiness something that comes only from the heart?
Read Proverbs 27:9. How do you explain that perfume and
incense bring joy? How can a friend bring joy?
- Just as Proverbs teaches us the way to happiness and joy,
it also teaches that a number of attitudes create
problems. Let’s look at some of these. Read Proverbs
30:32-33. What will create strife in our life as opposed
- Are we told how not to stir up anger in verse 33?
- Does verse 32 tell us how not to stir up anger?
- Have you observed this verse 32 behavior in
others? Have you witnessed the predicted
result? (Exalting yourself, planning evil for
others, these create anger in others.)
- Read Proverbs 29:11. I thought people say it is good for
our mental health to “vent” from time to time. What does
King Solomon say about this? (If we put this text together
with Proverbs 12:20 (that we just reviewed) we find that
keeping our own anger under control, along with promoting
peace among those around us, promotes happiness.)
- Read Proverbs 26:20-22. What is “gossip” – especially in
the context of verse 20?
- What effect does gossiping have on strife in your
- Why does verse 22 tell us that gossiping is so
harmful to our mental health? (To use a common
expression: “it sticks in our craw!”)
- Read Proverbs 13:10. How does pride breed strife?
- Is King Solomon saying that the proud do not take
- Is Solomon saying that the proud are not wise?
- What difference do you see between this text
( Proverbs 13:10) and the advice in Proverbs 30:33
that you are a fool if you exalt yourself? (Proverbs
30:33 tells us not to act on our attitude of pride.
Proverbs 13:10 suggests even the attitude itself is a
problem because we will not listen to others. I
recently heard someone say something like this:
“Those of us who know we are right are tired of
hearing from those who think they are right.” There
is an attitude!)
- Do you see a relationship between pride and gossip?
- Read Proverbs 14:29-30. What does envy do to us? (Rots the
- What do you understand “rot the bones” to mean?
- How does a quick-temper, as opposed to patience,
create problems in our life? (If we get quickly angry
we will not sufficiently understand the problem. That
will make us appear foolish. Our lesson (Monday) says
“Bad temper is a return to immature ways of
- How is your patience when it comes to driving your
- Read Proverbs 20:22 and 24:29. We sometimes think that
Jesus changed the rule of the Old Testament that said “an
eye for an eye.” (See Matthew 5:38-39.) What does King
Solomon suggest we should do when it is “pay back time?”
- If sin is an attitude instead of mere actions, how do
you explain Proverbs 20:22? Doesn’t this person
still have the “pay back” attitude? To what degree is
it “OK” to cheer someone else on to the pay back our
enemies? (For discussion, read King David’s approach
to this recorded in 1 Kings 2:1, 5-6, 8-10. Then
contrast God’s approach in Exodus 34:5-7.)
- Is there a difference between “payback” and
- Is God alone empowered to judge? Was David’s
deathbed wish sinful? Or was it an appropriate
judgment of the king?
- Does God have a moral obligation to execute
judgment on the wicked?
- How would it affect, as a practical matter, your
happiness to leave judgment and “payback” to
God? (This involves many of the texts we have
studied this morning. If we harbor anger, if we
plan evil for others, it just creates strife in
our life. On the other hand, if we resolve the
issue of unfairness to us by letting God judge
the other person, we can put the matter to rest
in our minds.)
- Friend, God wants us to be happy. (And you don’t have to
marry an ugly spouse to be happy.) He invites us to enter
into His joy by following His practical rules. Will you
make a decision for happiness?
- Next week: A Friend for All Seasons