Introduction: Two topics we discuss this week are the law and
transparency. You might guess this means, “Those who live behind
glass windows should not throw stones.” But, you would be wrong.
Instead, “transparency,” means letting people see all of what you do.
No secrets. This helps you to live by your standards. If God’s law is
your standard, then if you believe that something should be secret,
that is a clue that what you want to keep secret is something you
should not be doing. Let’s dive into our study of the Proverbs!

  1. Government and Law

    1. Read Proverbs 28:2. Would you like to live in a country
      with “many rulers?”

      1. If not, why? (It seems that with many rulers comes
        many rules – and they might well conflict.)

      2. What is the best way to govern a country? (To live by
        the rule of law. “A man of understanding and
        knowledge maintains order.”)

        1. Does this principle also apply to our personal
          lives? (God’s law should be the “rule” in our

    2. Read Proverbs 29:4. How do bribes fit with the rule of
      law? (They don’t. The king who takes a bribe subverts the
      rule of law for personal gain.)

      1. What is the result to the country?(It destroys
        stability and tears the country down.)

    3. Read Proverbs 28:3. Note that the NIV translates this
      differently than most other translations. The NIV says “A
      ruler who oppresses….” Other translations say, “A poor
      man who oppresses….” What is driving rain with no crops?
      (A missed opportunity! If a ruler is unfair to the poor,
      the result is terrible. If the poor are unfair to the
      poor, they, too, have squandered an opportunity.)

    4. Read Proverbs 28:4. What two classes of people do we find
      in this proverb? (Those who keep the law and those who do

      1. What characterizes those who do not keep the law?
        (They praise the wicked.)

      2. What characterizes those who keep the law? (They
        resist the wicked.)

      3. There is a debate in the United States about the role
        of religious belief in politics. What does this text
        suggest? (The righteous are obligated to resist the

        1. What law are we talking about here? God’s law
          or the law of the state? (God’s law, but there
          should be a relationship between God’s law and
          human law. Read Romans 13:1-2.)

    5. Read Proverbs 28:5. We have seen that wicked people do not
      support the law. Why? (They do not understand justice.)

    6. Read Proverbs 28:15-16. How do you explain that God
      sometimes has wicked and tyrannical rulers in charge? (God
      is in charge, but He gives humans free will. Sometimes
      humans put wicked leaders and tyrants in power – or fail
      to resist them.)

    7. Read Proverbs 28:12. What does it mean to “go into
      hiding?” (Everyone wants to avoid dealing with a wicked
      ruler. But, it can also mean that wickedness is allowed
      to continue by those who are afraid to raise their voices.
      On this we must be careful. Recall in Romans 13:2 the
      warning against rebellion.)

  2. The Poor

    1. Read Proverbs 28:6-7. We have read many proverbs which
      tell us that there is a positive connection between being
      righteous and having success. What does this proverb say
      about that connection? (It is not always true. Sometimes
      the rich are perverse and the poor are blameless.)

      1. What does this suggest to us as a motive for
        obedience to God? Should we do it for the money?
        (Obedience is its own reward. Whether we have money
        or not, an obedient person lives a better life – a
        life that reflects well on his or her parents.)

    2. Read Proverbs 28:9. Does God hear the prayers of the
      wicked? (Read Matthew 9:10-12. When Jesus was on earth He
      made a point of spending time with sinners. It is hard to
      imagine that has changed.)

      1. If Jesus listens to the prayers of sinners, then what
        does it mean that those who do not pay attention to
        the law have detestable prayers? (What is the point
        of praying? To have God help you or others, right?
        The point of the law is to help us. Therefore, if we
        pay no attention to the law, why would God look
        kindly on our requests for help?)

    3. Read Proverbs 28:10. Have you seen good people mislead by
      bad people? If so, how does the Bible say that will work
      out? (The bad people will fall into the trap they have
      made, but the good people will come out alright in the

    4. Read Proverbs 28:11. What does this teach us about wisdom
      and wealth? (This rich man does not have wisdom, but the
      poor man does.)

      1. Why do you think this is true? (The pride of the rich
        can blind them to truth.)

      2. Why does the poor man have discernment? (He is not
        blinded by pride. Plus, we often have a better
        ability to see the sins of others than we have of
        seeing our own sins.)

    5. Read Proverbs 28:27. Why is our relationship with the poor
      counterintuitive? (The rules are reversed because giving
      means we get more. Refusing to give means we end up

    6. Read Proverbs 29:7. Why are wicked people unconcerned
      about justice for the poor? (It does nothing to help them.
      On the other hand, the righteous understand God’s love for
      all. Note that the poor require both justice and aid.)

    7. Read Proverbs 29:13. This seems to be an odd statement.
      What does it mean to “give sight to the eyes?” (Both the
      oppressed and the oppressor understand what is going on.)

      1. So what? (God’s final judgment is justified. No one
        can claim ignorance.)

  3. Transparency

    1. Read Proverbs 28:13. Why would you want to conceal your
      sins? (Pride – you don’t want others to know about your
      sins. It might also be a matter of trying to keep out of

      1. What does confessing your sins do for you? (It gets
        them out in the open in the sense that you admit the

        1. How open are these sins? (We’ve discussed in
          the lessons before the idea that we confess sin
          to God, not to other humans, unless we have
          harmed them and the confession could make
          things better.)

        2. What about the idea of living a transparent
          life; how does that relate to confessing sins?
          (If you let others see how you live, and if you
          have shared with others your standards, it is
          unlikely that you will do something that is at
          odds with your standards.)

    2. Scan Romans 14 and read Romans 14:22-23. This suggests
      that some secrets are fine. How can you know what aspects
      of your life should be transparent and what is best left a
      secret? (The general rule should be transparency. However,
      if you are absolutely confident that what you are doing is
      not sin, and you know that others wrongly think it is a
      sin, then for the benefit of the others – not your benefit
      – you should keep it between you and God.)

    3. Read Proverbs 28:14. What does it mean to “harden” your
      heart? (To determine that you will do what you want,
      without regard to God’s laws.)

    4. Read Proverbs 28:25. What is the source of the problem
      with a “greedy man?” (Selfishness. He wants more.)

      1. What is the logical link between being greedy and
        creating dissension? (You are kicking and shoving to
        get to the top. You want people to notice you.)

      2. What, in contrast, does the wise person do? (Trusts

      3. What does this have to do with transparency? (We now
        know that those creating a commotion in life are not
        those who trust in God.)

    5. Friend, our study shows that integrity, transparency,
      obedience to established rules, and concern and justice
      for the poor are the path to a better life and a better
      country. Why not make these things your goal?

  4. Next week: The Humility of the Wise.