Series: Wisdom That Works
Message: How to Gain Velocity
Preacher: Jenniffer Ogden
Reflection: Mark Witas
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Jessyka Dooley
Live Beyond: J. Murdock
Live Purpose: Emily Ellis
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Proverbs 2:1-22 in The Message (MSG). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: “Surely her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead” (Proverbs 2:18).
This text is actually talking about getting involved with an adulterous woman, a woman who would lead the son whom the wisdom writer is addressing down a path of regret.
This isn’t the only path of regret one can take. There are myriad opportunities for humans to be led astray in this world. Ultimately, we have to decide if we want to keep our crown or trade it in for something we value more.
Genesis 25 tells the story of a man who sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. It must have been really good soup. I’m not a soup guy. I don’t order it at restaurants. I don’t buy it at the store and cook it. If I’m going to eat, I don’t want to confuse it with drinking. I want to bite something solid and chew it. I don’t want to confuse my eating and drinking by ingesting something like soup.
Esau must have liked soup. (Maybe it was stew. I don’t know.) I just know he came in from an unsuccessful hunting trip and was famished. Jacob (his twin brother) had some soup on the fire that caught Esau’s olfactory glands by surprise and he wanted it. Now.
Esau essentially negotiated away his inheritance for a meal. Maybe he didn’t take the deal seriously. Maybe he thought the bargain wouldn’t stick. Whatever the case, he gave his world away for soup.
Our text today reminds us that there are times in our lives when the lure of what we want now will try to outsmart us. It will try to rob us of our future. Yes, maybe even rob us of eternity. Wisdom looks down the road. Wisdom realizes that more opportunities will come. Wisdom isn’t a sellout.
Recalibrate: Have you ever paid too much for something and ended up with buyer’s remorse? What did that lesson teach you?
Respond: Pray the Lord gives you eyes that can look down the road a bit. Pray that He gives you eyes for your crown and the crown of others.
Research: Read Distinguishing Between Wants and Needs by Erin Huffstetler.
Remember: “For the Lord gives wisdom and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Proverbs 2:6, NIV).
Mark Witas is the lead pastor at Sunnyside Adventist Church in Portland, Oregon.
Lay out a path around your home for your child to follow. It could be a path of toy cars or socks or Post-it notes. Play a game of Stay the Path. You can pretend that you are in a car or a balloon or a rocket ship. Make up your own adventure with your little one. Maybe your path is in the jungle or in outer space. Know that the path God has for each of us is good. It can be difficult, and so often there are obstacles to get through and occasions where life just seems to push us off the path. Choose to get back on the path, travel together, and enjoy the adventure.
If you were on a deserted island, what three foods would you take with you? What movie would you take? What book? What about if you could only take one person with you, who would it be? Why would you take that person with you? Ask a few of your friends or family members these questions and see what they say. If I were ever stranded on a deserted island, I would want to take someone with me who I could trust and who would protect me. I think I would be pretty scared all by myself on that island, especially at night. Proverbs 2:7-8 tells us that God shields us and protects us. He guards and protects those who are fair to others and loyal to Him.
While on a field trip in middle school, our class visited a real gold mining town in California. We had the chance to do all the things the early pioneers did while learning to make their way in a foreign land. The coolest thing on the trip was when we got the chance to pan for real gold! After a short tutorial, we were each given a mining pan and a section of the river to collect dirt, mud, and water. After shaking around my pan for what felt like hours, I finally gave up having found no gold. I guess that wasn’t my lucky day. I found out later that most of the gold had been mined out of that river in 1949 and there really wasn’t much left to be found!
What a bust!
Proverbs 2:3-5 says, “if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will find the knowledge of God.”
I didn’t understand why our class was given the chance to go panning for gold in a river with no gold. But I can see why Solomon might want us to grab our gear and get out there panning for wisdom! There is plenty to find if we make an intentional effort to seek it out. And we don’t need a pan to find it!
Where do you think wisdom might be hidden in the world around you? What might you bring along if you were searching for wisdom? What do you think you would do with it if you found it?
What seems good in the moment isn’t always the best thing in the long run. On Tuesday nights in Walla Walla, Washington, the movie theater shows movies for only $5. And so, as a broke college student, that is the prime time to go. One evening, my friends were planning to see a movie and they invited me to join them. However, I had a quiz the next day and had not studied for it at all. On top of that, I had absolutely no interest in the movie. But at the same time, I just wanted to hang out with my friends! So I agreed to go and, as fate would have it, the movie was awful and all I could think about was the quiz I needed to study for. That night, I got very little sleep and the next day I did poorly on the quiz. Proverbs 2:17-19 describes a situation in which people go against what they know is right. Each and every day, we are confronted with choices. We have the power to choose what will benefit us in the long run, or we can throw away commitments for moments of pleasure. In my case, I had to choose between socializing or getting a good grade on an important quiz. I couldn’t have both. What are some things you need to choose between?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Jessyka Dooley is assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Denver, Colorado.
J. Murdock is associate pastor at Boulder Adventist Church in Boulder, Colorado, where he focuses on youth and young adult ministry.
Emily Ellis is a senior studying theology at Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington.