Introduction: This week our lesson turns to the topic of money. This
is where “the rubber meets the road” when it comes to our
relationship with God. We certainly are not saved by works or by
giving money, but I think our attitude towards God and money gives a
pretty good read on our spiritual condition. So let’s jump into the
lesson and find out what God has in mind for our wallets!

  1. “Firstfruits”

    1. Read Proverbs 3:9-10. What would you guess is a
      “firstfruit?” (Nelson’s Bible Dictionary says “the
      firstborn of the flocks and grains to be gathered at
      harvest time.”)

      1. No one in our congregation is a farmer. Does this
        text apply to us? If so, how?

        1. Most of us earn money. Money is fungible (the
          first dollar is exactly the same as the last
          dollar). Would “firstfruits” for us refer to the
          order in which we paid our bills? Should we pay
          God first?

          1. Or, should we wait to see how paying our
            bills comes out?

      2. Is this a reference ( Proverbs 3:9) to tithe paying
        (giving 10% of our income to the Lord)? (Read 2
        Chronicles 31:5. The concept of giving God our first
        fruits is tied up with the concept of tithe paying.)

        1. Is tithe paying a part of the Mosiac law that
          was done away with at the cross? (It doesn’t
          seem that is true. If you look at Genesis 28:20-22 you will see that long before Moses’ time
          Jacob was familiar with the concept of tithe
          paying and paid a tithe. In Matthew 23:23 Jesus
          tells the Jewish leaders that they should
          practice justice, mercy and faithfulness along
          with paying a tithe. Thus, Jesus also endorsed
          the practice.)

          1. What do you think of Jacob’s attitude
            revealed in Genesis 28?

      3. For many years I have heard people ask (or debate)
        about whether we should pay tithe on our money before
        or after taxes. Does “firstfruits” have an
        application here?

        1. Or is the money taken out of our income for
          taxes simply not “income?”

          1. Do we get something for the taxes that we

    1. Let’s look again at Proverbs 3:9-10. What is the result
      of honoring God with the “firstfruits?”

      1. Our lesson says, “Sometimes [God] gives temporal
        prosperity. Sometimes, for reasons we do not
        understand, He withholds it.” The lesson goes on to
        “spiritualize” God’s blessings. Is this fair? Is
        Proverbs 3:9-10 talking about spiritual blessings? (I
        think it is improper to change God’s words. This
        unambiguously refers to money (increased crops) and I
        think we should hold God to His promise if we are
        faithful in tithe paying.)

        1. Is the idea of “holding God to His promise”
          inconsistent with the idea that we should simply
          trust God’s (vastly) superior judgment, no
          matter what? (I think this is certainly worthy
          of debate. However, I think God exercised His
          judgment when He made the promise. We trust His

      2. Have you ever heard someone say, “I tried tithe-paying and it didn’t work?” Does this prove the truth
        of the lesson’s comments about God withholding
        prosperity in some cases? (Ask them how long they
        tried tithe-paying. You cannot expect, in six months,
        to reverse 20 years of disobedience. Proverbs 3:9
        tells us to honor God will “all” of our crops, not
        just a small sample.)

  1. The Desire for Money

    1. Read Proverbs 28:19-20. We just looked at how God promised
      full barns and filled vats and we decided that we would
      certainly hold God to His promise, right? So why does
      verse 20 tell us that those eager to get rich will be
      punished? Why is it wrong to want what God promises? (Read
      Proverbs 11:27-28. I think our attitude, our goal is
      critical. If we pay tithe to get rich (28:20), then we
      will not. If we pay tithe to obey God (28:20 “faithful
      man” & 11:27 “seek good”), then God says we will prosper.
      Look again at Proverbs 3:9. It starts out “Honor the Lord
      with your wealth.” That sets the tone for our motives.
      Not “Honor yourself with wealth.”)

    2. What does Proverbs 28:19 teach us about “get rich fast”
      schemes? (Work is honorable and helpful. Scheming to get
      rich fast will generally leave us poor.)

    3. Read Proverbs 11:24-28. What attitudes about money do you
      find in these verses? What is the result of having the
      proper attitude towards money?

  2. Savings and Debt

    1. Read Proverbs 14:15. Do you think Solomon is speaking
      about spiritual matters here or does this also include

      1. Would the warning about being simple refer (in the
        U.S.) to promises about the future of Social
        Security? (Sorry, I could not resist.)

      2. Is it appropriate to save for our retirement? Or is
        that the wrongful hoarding of money ( James 5:3) or
        refusing to trust God?

    2. Read Proverbs 22:3-4. Do you think this text refers to
      preparations for retirement? Does this refer to all
      aspects of life?

      1. If we do not prepare will we (v.3) suffer?

    3. Let’s continue on in Proverbs 22. Read Proverbs 22:7. In
      what ways are those who borrow servant to those who lend?

      1. Does this mean we should not borrow money?

      2. How should we view debt?

        1. Does your debt create a problem for your tithe-paying?

        2. Does your debt create a problem for providing
          Christian education for your children?

        3. Does debt create a problem in general for your

    4. Should we co-sign for a loan for someone else? Should we
      put up security for someone else? (Read Proverbs 11:15 and

      1. Why not help others with getting a loan? Isn’t this
        just being kind to the other person? Aren’t we called
        ( Proverbs 14:21) to be kind to the needy ?

      2. How should we help others who need money? (It seems
        the better way is to lend the other person money. If
        you don’t have it to lend, you shouldn’t guarantee
        the debt.)

    5. Friend, God is concerned about how you handle your money.
      Frankly, I think He is concerned for OUR benefit, not His.
      He calls on us to pay a faithful tithe, plan for the
      future, be content, avoid troublesome debt and avoid
      foolish financial adventures. Are your finances in line
      with God’s advice? Would your life be better if you
      followed His guidelines?

  3. Next Week: As the Needle to the Pole.