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Proverbs 20:16-30

Talks for Growing Christians

Wisdom in Authority

Proverbs 20:16-30

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Lesson Number 32

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Proverbs are wise advice for everyday living.

Practical Application

  1. Prepare and make plans for spiritual warfare!

Questions

  1. Does the wise saying of Solomon in verse 22 indicate that we should or must pray for the Lord’s vengeance to fall upon someone? When God does judge someone, does His judgment always take place immediately? Note three New Testament scriptures that give guidance regarding vengeance.
  2. Does the proverb in verse 24 teach that we should refrain from seeking guidance from the Lord and making responsible decisions?
  3. What was the purpose of the ancient process of threshing grain? What was the purpose of winnowing the grain? Why did Solomon use the illustration of threshing and winnowing in the proverb in verse 26?

Answers

  1. The proverb in verse 22 does not indicate that we should or must pray for the Lord’s vengeance to fall on someone. Rather, it teaches that vengeance and judgment are the Lord’s responsibility, not ours. We are to wait upon God to bring judgment and to wait for His perfect timing. Romans 12:17-19, 1 Thessalonians 5:15 and 1 Peter 3:9 all reinforce these teachings.
  2. The proverb in verse 24 does not teach that we should refrain from seeking guidance from the Lord and making responsible decisions. We know that God’s control of our lives goes beyond our comprehension, but He still expects us to use the wisdom and guidance that He promises to those who ask, to make daily decisions that are pleasing to Him, assuring that our “steps are of the Lord.”
  3. The process of threshing separated the grain from the stalks and separated the seed from the seed covering (chaff). The process of winnowing followed the threshing, and sorted the seed from the chaff, usually by throwing the grain into the air and allowing the wind to blow the lighter chaff away, leaving the good grain on the threshing floor. This was a good illustration that Solomon used, teaching that a wise king has the responsibility for using strong and tough measures to identify, as well as separate the wicked and righteous people in a society.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Consider the challenge given to those in authority to uphold justice by taking clear and strong actions against the wicked (v 26), while demonstrating mercy, truth and loving-kindness (v 28). Discuss how these responsibilities affirm rather than contradict each other.

Challenge

  1. Are you prepared to engage in spiritual warfare effectively? Have you recognized the enemy? Are you ready to face the battle courageously? Put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:13-17), recognize the enemy (6:11, 12), be strong in the Lord (6:10), and pray without ceasing (6:18)..

Key Verses

  • “A wise king sifts out the wicked, and brings the threshing wheel over them.” “Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by loving-kindness he upholds his throne.” Proverbs 20: 26 and 28

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