The Need for Discipline
Teacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: An Invitation to Wisdom: Proverbs 1-9
Proverbs 5:1-23 (ESV)
1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
7 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
21 For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
and he ponders all his paths.
22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray.
We need discipline (v23):
1. Someone else’s viewpoint
vv3-4 “the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey… but in the end she is bitter…”
vv5-6 “her feet go down to death… she does not ponder the path of her life”
2. Someone to make the ‘desire and regret’ connection
vv13-14 “I did not listen… I am at the brink of utter ruin”
v12 “how I hated discipline”
3. Someone to satisfy us
vv15-18 “drink water from your own cistern… rejoice in the wife of your youth”
v21 “for a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord”
Questions for Reflection
How do you think about personal discipline (restraint, good habits, priorities, etc.)? Why is discipline good? What problems are there with trying to be disciplined?
What are the most important factors (for you personally) in pursuing goals or resisting temptations? What works best? Where (or why) do you typically fail?
Are you resistant to criticism or feedback? Do you welcome it? What kinds of feedback do you appreciate, and what kind do you resent? In what ways can feedback be presented so you receive it, and what ways foster greater pushback?
Why do you get defensive?
How can you manage your desires? What are the most effective ways to restrain desires you have that you don’t think are good?
How do you process failure? What are some of the lasting effects of doing what you knew you shouldn’t?
Do you think there is a connection between satisfaction and the ability to exercise restraint? How can you endure periods if dissatisfaction, stress, discomfort, pressure, etc.? What strengthens you to continue to do what is good in those times?
Are you convinced Jesus is trustworthy? Do you think he is wiser than you and that your default can be to trust him?
How can you be more satisfied in God? What about God, the Christian message, hope, etc. can foster a healthy contentment in you? How could a desire to be satisfied in God help clarify decisions you make?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, we confess we hate discipline. We would rather feel right than become right. We trust our feelings more than we trust you and your commandments. We confess we are short sighted. We confess our desires rule us more than they should. We confess a failure to seek contentment in you. We confess our defensiveness and self justification. Forgive our sin. Renew your Spirit in us so that streams of living water flow from our hearts. Amen.