Introduction: This morning I was reading an article about an
atheists’ rally. At the rally, they were making fun of Jesus and
comparing the atheist rights movement with the homosexual rights
movement. The writer of the article pointed out that homosexual
rallies do not make fun of heterosexual marriage. Why would atheists
make fun of Christians? I’ve noticed that some former members of my
church do not just leave, they attack the church and make fun of it.
Why is that? I think it has to do with one of the points of our
lesson: our religious instruction as a child stays with us. Those who
leave the path of their instruction feel guilty, and so they have to
make fun of their former beliefs to help “get over” them. Let’s jump
into our study of the Bible and see what new things we can discover
about religious training!

  1. Neck Commands

    1. Read Proverbs 6:20-21 and Proverbs 7:3. What do you think
      it means for you to “fasten … around your neck” and
      “bind … on your fingers” the teachings of your parents?

    2. Read Deuteronomy 6:6-9 and Proverbs 3:3. Let’s take stock.
      We are told to keep right teaching in our heart, around
      our neck, tied to our hands (fingers) and foreheads and on
      our doors and gates. That is a lot of places. Do you see a
      pattern here? (The neck is the entry way to the body, and
      gates and doors are the entry way to your home. Your heart
      and forehead are symbols of what you think and your hands
      a symbol of what you do. I think the message is that what
      we allow in our homes and our minds, and what we think and
      do should all be run through the filter of God’s word.)

      1. What is the lesson if you are a parent trying to
        figure out how to raise your children? (We need to
        talk about God’s will at every opportunity with our
        children. But, we need to be especially careful
        about the “entry points” of their learning.)

      2. Have you ever had to compare two documents to see if
        they were different? Would that idea apply here? (I
        think that is one lesson here. You compare what you
        think and do, what you let in your home and your
        body, with what is written in God’s word and taught
        to you by your parents. If you are not constantly
        comparing, it is easy to get off track.)

      3. Imagine if you had such an upbringing and you were an
        atheist? (It would be constant turmoil.)

    3. Read Proverbs 6:22-23. How will our parents’ instruction,
      if we are willing, help us? (They protect us all the time
      by illuminating the path of life.)

      1. That sounds like a romantic phrase, “illuminating the
        path of life.” What does it mean, as a practical
        matter? (How many times do we fail to think things
        through? How many times do we miss critical facts?
        Our decisions determine the quality of our life, and
        the Proverbs tell us that what our parents taught us
        about God’s word will help us to make fully informed

  2. Life as Bread

    1. Read Proverbs 6:23-24. We now have an illustration of how
      childhood teaching (and discipline) can help us. What does
      a “smooth tongue” suggest? (Easy to listen to her.)

    2. Read Proverbs 6:25. What else is a problem? (Her beauty,
      your lust.)

    3. Read Proverbs 6:26. Bread is good! What is the problem
      with being a loaf of bread? (My version of the NIV says,
      “the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread.” You are
      consumable, you get eaten.)

      1. What do you think this means – comparing you to a
        loaf of bread? (Let’s consider a couple of
        possibilities. First, immorality will consume you. It
        takes a lot away from you. Second, you are just being
        used. You meet a need for the time being, but after
        you are “consumed” the other person moves on.)

    4. Read Proverbs 6:27-28. Would anyone think he could put
      fire in his lap and not be burned? (People who have
      affairs think they will be able to keep it private. It is
      a fun little secret. The Proverbs teach us that idea is
      silly. It will be discovered and you will get burned.)

    5. Read Proverbs 6:30-35. These verses draw a parallel
      between stealing to eat and stealing “love.” How do people
      react to these two different sins? (People understand why
      a person would steal to eat, but they do not understand
      adultery. If you steal food, there is a set penalty. If
      you steal a spouse, you open yourself to unlimited

    6. Let’s take a moment for a reality check here. Compare
      Deuteronomy 17:17 with 1 Kings 11:3-4. Is this the height
      of hypocrisy: a guy with 1,000 women to sleep with
      lectures those of us with one spouse to keep our eyes,
      minds and hands off anyone other than our one spouse? (We
      obviously have a substantial gap between our teacher’s
      instruction and his performance. However, 1 Kings tells us
      that Solomon was led astray by his wives. Solomon knows
      what he is talking about.)

      1. Read Matthew 23:2-3 and Matthew 7:15-18. How do you
        reconcile these two ideas? (I’ve often joked that
        hypocrisy is underrated. There are evil people who do
        evil things – you should avoid their teaching. At the
        same time, there are people whose lives do not match
        their teaching, but they are teaching the right
        thing. Solomon is giving us the right advice.)

  3. The Analogy

    1. Read Proverbs 7:10-14. Why would this woman mention
      “fellowship offerings?” (It suggests a veneer of religious
      practice. This is okay because we are religious.)

    2. Read Proverbs 7:18-20. In our introduction we discussed
      religious training. Now we’ve been mired in adultery and
      prostitution for many verses. Is our 1,000 women King
      Solomon really spending this much space on the issue of
      marital unfaithfulness?

      1. Look at these verses carefully, what argument is this
        woman making? (This will be fun and I can prove that
        it will not be dangerous.)

    3. Read Proverbs 7:22-23. Does sex outside of marriage do
      liver damage? Is it really like committing suicide? (I
      think Solomon is talking about a bigger picture. He tells
      us that sin and false belief have real appeal. There is a
      pseudo logic, pseudo spirituality, and a promise of joy.
      But, it all leads to a painful death.)

    4. Read Zechariah 5:6-8. To what is the iniquity of the
      people compared? (A woman.)

    5. Read Zechariah 5:9-11. Why would you build a house for a
      basket? (This is obviously symbolic. The woman represents
      evil, and Babylon will be the host, the dwelling place,
      for evil.)

    6. Read Proverbs 7:24-27. When you consider Zechariah, do you
      think these verses are addressing the issue of sex sin?
      (“A mighty throng” does not seem to fit our original story
      of a youth walking by the house of a prostitute (Proverbs
      7:7-8). Instead, this sounds like sin in general.)

      1. These verses start out with “pay attention” and end
        up saying this leads to death. Why would you have to
        urge someone to pay attention to something that would
        kill them?

      2. How quick is death from sin? (Apparently not quick
        enough to automatically warrant attention. My son is
        a physician, and he says that when he is giving
        medical advice to those who have cancer they pay
        close attention and do what he recommends. On the
        other hand, those who have metabolic syndrome (high
        blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar
        leading to diabetes), pay no attention and rarely do
        what he suggests. Both lead to death, and diabetes
        can mean a painful death. Why the difference? (Those
        with cancer think they face death now, those with
        metabolic syndrom think they have a lot of time.)

      3. We started out talking about instruction to our
        children. Is this part of the problem – that we are
        talking how sin causes death, and they are thinking
        “I’m not dying anytime soon?”

        1. If I’m right, what we should be teaching our
          children? (We should still talk about the
          ultimate result of sin, but I think it is
          better to focus on the more immediate negative
          result of sin.)

      4. Step back a moment. One of my complaints about my
        youth was the focus on sin rather than grace. Have I
        (we) just fallen into the failure of the prior
        generation? (I believe both messages are appropriate
        for our children: grace and judgment for those who
        refuse grace.)

    7. Friend, will you take temptation in your life seriously?
      Will you take the religious instruction of your children
      seriously? These are life and death matters!

  4. Next week: Divine Wisdom.