Proverbs: Life In The Details-Critical Coaching

Proverbs: Life In The Details-Critical Coaching

Opening Illustration: We All Need A Coach
I have been coaching my kid’s baseball teams now for several years.  I love baseball and love nothing more than watching my boys play.  As Jay has gotten older, I have learned more about baseball and more about parents.  That is what makes this story both funny and true.



At one point during a game, the baseball coach said to one of his young players, "Do you understand what cooperation is? What a team is?"

The little boy nodded in the affirmative.

"Do you understand that what matters is whether we win together as a team?"

The little boy nodded yes.

"So," the coach continued, "when a strike is called, or you’re out at first, you don’t argue or curse or attack the umpire. Do you understand all that?"

Again the little boy nodded.

"Good," said the coach.

"Now go over there and explain it to your mother"

You see, we all need coaching.  We need to do a better job of learning how to control our tongues and watch our actions.  Today, that is exactly what we have happening in Proverbs 4.  Imagine that these words are being communicated from coach to player.  “Son, this is what you need to do be better!” 

Point:
Just last Monday, we held evaluations for baseball.  Do you know what we looked at. We looked at how well a kid caught, how well he threw, how fast he could run and how he hit the ball.  However, there is something else that we found ourselves asking, “is this kid coachable”?  Can he be taught?  Is he willing to listen.  Because a kid can have all the talent in the world, but if he is not teachable, then we do not need to draft him.  

Friend, are you coachable?  Are you willing to listen to wise instruction?  Today, that is what Solomon is trying to help us with.  

Are You Coachable?

Background:
Author: Solomon (Most of the Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs)

Date: It seems that Proverbs was written and then compiled sometime between the tenth and sixth centuries B.C.

Purpose:
A. To enable the readers to learn and apply the fear of the Lord to their lives.

B. To provide skill for living (successful living) from the two perimeters of natural order and God’s word.

C. To know wisdom and instruction (1:2).
D. To receive teaching in wise dealing, righteousness, justice and equity (1:3).

E. To help the simple gain prudence and the youth gain knowledge and discretion (1:4).

F. To increase learning and to acquire skill in understanding (1:5).

G. To understand proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles (1:6).

H. To learn the fear of the Lord (1:7). 

Proverbs 4
1Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
2 for I give you good precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom; get insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    love her, and she will guard you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.
8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
    she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head a graceful garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
10 Hear, my son, and accept my words,
    that the years of your life may be many.
11 I have taught you the way of wisdom;
    I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
    and if you run, you will not stumble.
13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
    guard her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
    turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
    they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
    and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know over what they stumble.
20 My son, be attentive to my words;
    incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
    keep them within your heart.
22 For they are life to those who find them,
    and healing to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
    and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
    then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.

Coaching Lesson One!

I. Seek Insight vs. 1-9 
Proverbs 4:1-9
Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
    and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
2 for I give you good precepts;
    do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a son with my father,
    tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
4 he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
    keep my commandments, and live.
5 Get wisdom; get insight;
    do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
    love her, and she will guard you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom,
    and whatever you get, get insight.

-The NIV translates this passage as “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom thought it cost all you have, get understanding.

-The Hebrew word for the phrase “though it costs all you have” is קִנְיָן (qin·yān).  This word is very significant because we find out there is a definite cost to gaining wisdom.  Wisdom can be very expensive and it will come at a price that many are not willing to pay.  It means property, possessions, i.e., objects possessed by an owner, animate or inanimate.  True wisdom may cost us everything. 

8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you;
    she will honor you if you embrace her.
9 She will place on your head a graceful garland;
    she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”

Point:
The Bible is the ultimate source of wisdom.

Point: What and Why
1. How many books are in the Bible?
The Bible contains 66 books, divided among the Old and New Testaments.

2. How many books are in the Old Testament?
There are 39 books in the Old Testament.

3. How many books are in the New Testament?
There are 27 books in the New Testament.

4. What does "testament" mean?
Testament means "covenant" or "contract."

5. Who wrote the Bible?
The Bible was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit by over 40 different authors from all walks of life: shepherds, farmers, tent-makers, physicians, fishermen, priests, philosophers and kings. Despite these differences in occupation and the span of years it took to write it, the Bible is an extremely cohesive and unified book.

8. When was the Bible written?
It was written over a period of some 1,500 years, from around 1450 B.C. (the time of Moses) to about 100 A.D. (following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ).

13. What languages was the Bible written in?
The Bible was written in three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek.

29. How many languages has the Bible been translated into?
The Holy Bible has been translated into 2,018 languages, with countless more partial translations, and audio translations (for unwritten languages). (This is an enormous amount of translations. In comparison, Shakespeare, considered by many to be the master writer of the English language, has only been translated into 50 languages.)

30. Is the Bible the best selling book ever? Yes, and it is not even close.  Over 100 million Bibles are sold each year not counting the countless that are given away.  The entire Harry Potter series has sold 450 million and and has been translated into 67 languages.  

31. The Bible is the only book that makes a claim to be living, active, and breathing.  Hebrews 4:12 states "for the Word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double edged sword.  It penetrates even to the dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

32. Did you know that the Bible is also a scientific book that is both practical and reliable?
-Paleontology: Dinosaurs are referred to in several Bible books. The book of Job describes two dinosaurs. One is described in chapter 40 starting at verse 15, and the other in chapter 41 starting at verse 1. We think you will agree that 1½ chapters about dinosaurs is a lot—since most people do not even realize that they are mentioned in the Bible

-Astronomy:The Bible describes the precision of movement in the universe. Just read Jeremiah 31:35-36, "This is what the LORD says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— he LORD Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the LORD, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.

-Job 26: 7 describes how the earth is suspended in space.  

-Meteorology: Ecclesiastes 1:6 describes the circulation of the atmosphere.

Point: God’s User Manual
When a manufacturer makes a machine it also provides an instruction manual on how to operate the machine.  When God made man he also gave an instruction manual telling how man was designed to be operated.  The Bible.  It is the book of instructions written by the designer and manufacturer telling man how he was designed to be operated.  It is the instruction manual for the heart, soul and mind of man.  What happens when you disregard the instructions in an instruction manual?  You have trouble --- things go awry.  When you follow God's instruction manual, everything works right and you have spiritual health, happiness and mental stability; when you disregard the instructions you have confusion, frustration, unhappiness, emotional imbalance and mental disarray. 

A. How Do We Discover Wisdom?

1. Pour

2. Pray

3. Pull Up
-Life Groups, Small Groups, One on One

4. Praise

-Personally and Corporately 

5. Participate
-Serving, Giving, Going

B. Why Should We Seek Wisdom?

1. We Receive Peace

-Fathers Want Sons To Live

2. We Receive Praise 
-Man And God

3. We Receive Protection

-Scripture Says Wisdom Will Guard Us

Coaching Lesson One!

I. Seek Insight vs. 1-9 

Coaching Lesson Two!

II. Shine Incessantly vs. 18-19
Proverbs 4:18-19
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
    which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
    they do not know over what they stumble.

Point:
How “deep” is the darkness that the wicked walk in? The Hebrew word for dark is אֲפֵלָה (ʾǎp̄ē·lā(h)) and the meaning is a physical state of lacking light so as to be unable to see or function, often with an associative meaning of gloom or depression or terror.  It means that the wicked are so entrenched in darkness that they are completely lost, shrouded in complete and utter darkness, depression and fear.  Yes, they are afraid.  They are operating in absolute darkness.  Unable to function.  How horrible.  I imagine their spiritual turmoil being like driving a car on a dark road with no headlights.  They people are terrified and unable to express how scared they really are.  That’s why God put us here.  

Illustration:
Around Christmas time, I bought a new pair of shoes.  They were bright and shiny.  Like most shoes are.  As I started to wear my new shiny shoes, I noticed that as the days went by, they would get dirtier and dirtier.  The more my shoes were out in the world, the more dirty they would be.  Now, I knew that this would happen.  After all, this is not my first pair of shoes.  So, what did I do to prevent this problem.  I bought me a shoe brush.  This shoe brush was built to keep my shoes shining.  However, to keep my “soul” shining, I have to shine my shoes everyday.  I can’t let one day go by

Friend, that’s the way it is with us.  That is what Solomon is trying to say to us.  We live in a dirty world.  We live in a wicked world that is deep in darkness.  It is nearly impossible not to be dirty. However, God’s Word and Wisdom will keep our souls shined if we deploy it often…daily.  

Illustration:
Albert Lexie is a shoe-shine man. For the last 30 years, Albert has set up shop in Pittsburgh's Children Hospital and knocked the dirt off other people's shoes. He buffs, he polishes. And he charges a mere $5 for his labor.

Often, a satisfied customer will leave a tip. Most give an extra dollar, some give two. Once, during the Christmas season, a doctor gave him $50 for shining one pair of shoes.



But big tips like that are few and far between. And people just don't care about the condition of their shoes like they used to. Albert is a relic left over from another era, a different world.
But when Albert has shined his last shoe and put away his shoe-shine kit for good, he will not be forgotten at the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital. Albert will leave behind a legacy.

Since the day he shined his first pair of shoes there 30 years ago, Albert has donated more than a third of his earnings to the Children's Hospital Free Care Fund, which helps parents who can't afford to pay for their sick children's medical costs. In addition, Albert has also given the hospital every tip he has ever received. Every single tip.

But Albert is just a shoe-shine man. How much could there be to give? According to the hospital administration, he gave just over $200,000. It's a seemingly impossible number. 200 grand is what professional athletes give, not shoe-shine men. And yet that is the correct number.

Even small amounts, given faithfully, add up to a powerful legacy.

Point:
Shine by setting a standard of holiness for people to attain.

A. We Shine When We Give

B. We Shine When We Go

C. We Shine When We Glow (Attitudes, Countenance)

Isaiah 60: 1 (NLV)
“Rise up and shine, for your light has come. The shining-greatness of the Lord has risen upon you. 

Coaching Lesson One!

I. Seek Insight vs. 1-9 

Coaching Lesson Two!

II. Shine Incessantly vs. 18-19

Coaching Lesson Three!

III.Shield Intensely vs. 23-27
Proverbs 4:23-27
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
    for from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you crooked speech,
    and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
    and your gaze be straight before you.
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
    then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.

Point:
When I read verses 23-24, I hear Solomon coaching his son to be on guard.  Be on guard against speech that would be hurtful or profane.  Put your eyes on guard against lust as lust will lead you down paths of pain an destruction.  Then he says to guard your path.  Watch where you feet go and understand that departing from the path that God has laid out for you can cause severe sorrow.  

What do you think it means to be on guard?  I imagine someone standing ready.  His eyes focused forward. He is properly outfitted and armed.  Yet, I think that is wrong understanding of this scripture.  Being on guard really means that you are on the offensive.  Being on guard means being self aware and knowing what tempts you and each day you wage war against those temptations. You charge forward and battle sin with passion. You employ the help of others to stand with you as you wage war against sin.  

We should never let sin and temptation come to us, we should always seek to destroy it and conquer it.  Instead of temptation taking us by surprise we should catch it off guard.

Closing Illustration:
Joshua Chamberlain was a student of theology and a professor of rhetoric, not a soldier. But when duty called, Chamberlain answered. He climbed the ranks to become colonel of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Union Army.

On July 2, 1863, Chamberlain and his three-hundred-soldier regiment were all that stood between the Confederates and certain defeat at a battlefield in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. At 2:30 P.M., the 15th and 47th Alabama infantry regiments of the Confederate army charged, but Chamberlain and his men held their ground. Then followed a second, third, fourth, and fifth charge. By the last charge, only 80 blues stood standing. Chamberlain himself was knocked down by a bullet that hit his belt buckle, but the 24-year-old schoolteacher got right back up.

It was his date with destiny. When Sergeant Tozier informed Chamberlain that no reinforcements were coming and his men were down to one round of ammunition per soldier, Chamberlain knew he needed to act decisively. Their lookout informed Colonel Chamberlain that the Confederates were forming rank. The rational thing to do at that point, with no ammunition and no reinforcements, would have been to surrender. But Chamberlain made a defining decision: in full view of the enemy, Chamberlain climbed onto their barricade of stones and gave a command. He pointed his sword and yelled, "Charge!"



His men fixed bayonets and started running at the Confederate army, which vastly outnumbered them. They caught them off guard by executing a great right wheel. And in what ranks as one of the most improbable victories in military history, 80 Union soldiers captured 4,000 Confederates in five minutes.

Historians believe that if Chamberlain had not charged, the Confederate army would have gained the high ground, won the Battle of Gettysburg, and eventually won the war. One man's courage saved the day, saved the war, and saved the Union.

Point:
Chamberlain could have merely guarded his position.  However, he choose to guard by attacking.  We should take our sin serious and seek to eliminate it at every turn.  

Psalm 97:10 NIV
Let those who love the LORD hate evil, for he guards the lives of his faithful ones and delivers them from the hand of the wicked.


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