“August 29–September 4. Proverbs 1–4; 15–16; 22; 31; Ecclesiastes 1–3; 11–12: ‘The Fear of the Lord Is the Beginning of Wisdom,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Old Testament 2022 (2021)
“August 29–September 4. Proverbs 1–4; 15–16; 22; 31; Ecclesiastes 1–3; 11–12,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2022
Record Your Impressions
In the first chapter of the book of Proverbs, we find these words: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” (Proverbs 1:8). Proverbs can be seen as a collection of wise sayings from a loving parent, whose main message is that blessings of peace and prosperity come to those who seek wisdom—particularly the kind of wisdom God offers. But Proverbs is followed by the book of Ecclesiastes, which seems to say, “It’s not that simple.” The Preacher quoted in Ecclesiastes observed that he “gave [his] heart to know wisdom” but still found “vexation of spirit” and “much grief” (Ecclesiastes 1:17–18). In a variety of ways, the book asks, “Can there be real meaning in a world where everything seems vain, temporary, and uncertain?”
And yet, while the two books look at life from different perspectives, they teach similar truths. Ecclesiastes declares: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This is the same principle found throughout Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. … Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord” (Proverbs 3:5, 7). No matter what life holds, even when it seems confusing and random, it is always better when we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The book of Proverbs is filled with insights about wisdom. Consider marking the word “wisdom” and related words, like “knowledge” and “understanding,” as you find them in chapters 1–4 and 15–16. How do these chapters affect the way you think about wisdom? Based on what you find, how would you describe the wisdom that “the Lord giveth”? (Proverbs 2:6). Consider how you are seeking the Lord’s help to be “wise in heart” (Proverbs 16:21). What blessings come from God’s wisdom?
Elder David A. Bednar explained: “Unlike worldly fear that creates alarm and anxiety, godly fear is a source of peace, assurance, and confidence. … [It] encompasses a deep feeling of reverence, respect, and awe for the Lord Jesus Christ; obedience to His commandments; and anticipation of the Final Judgment and justice at His hand. … Godly fear is loving and trusting in Him” (“Therefore They Hushed Their Fears,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 48–49).
See also Proverbs 8:13.
Proverbs 4 describes wisdom and righteousness as a “path” or a “way” (see also Proverbs 3:5–6). As you read this chapter, you might find passages that help you ponder “the path of thy feet” (verse 26) and how your steps are drawing you closer to the Lord. For example, what do verses 11–12 and 18–19 teach about the blessings of following the right path? What do verses 26 and 27 mean to you?
See also 2 Nephi 31:18–21.
Some of the proverbs in chapters 15 and 16 may inspire you to improve the way you communicate with others, especially loved ones. For example, think about specific times when you could have used “a soft answer” rather than “grievous words” (Proverbs 15:1). How does the counsel in Proverbs 16:24–32 help you think about the words you use?
Consider this insight from Elder W. Craig Zwick: “A ‘soft answer’ consists of a reasoned response—disciplined words from a humble heart. It does not mean we never speak directly or that we compromise doctrinal truth. Words that may be firm in information can be soft in spirit” (“What Are You Thinking?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 42).
Proverbs 31:10–31 describes “a virtuous woman,” or a woman of great spiritual strength, capability, and influence. You might try summarizing in your own words what each of these verses says about her. What are some of her traits that you can emulate?
Why is it valuable for you to remember that much in this world, as Ecclesiastes 1–2 asserts, is “vanity” (or temporary and often unimportant)? What do you find in chapter 12 that gives life eternal value?
Your family might enjoy creating your own “book of Proverbs”—a collection of wise counsel from the scriptures and latter-day prophets.
- Proverbs 1:7; 2:5; 16:6; Ecclesiastes 12:13–14.
To help family members understand Proverbs 1:7; 2:5; 16:6; Ecclesiastes 12:13, it might help to substitute the word fear with words like reverence, love, or obedience (see also Hebrews 12:28). How does this affect the way we think about these verses? How do we show that we fear the Lord?
- Proverbs 3:5–7.
To help family members visualize what these verses teach, you could invite them to lean against something sturdy and stable, like a wall. Then they could try leaning against something that is not sturdy, like a broom. Why should we “lean not unto [our] own understanding”? How can we show that we trust Jesus Christ with all our hearts?
- Proverbs 15:1–2, 18; 16:24, 32.
How do our words affect the spirit in our home? Perhaps family members could practice giving “a soft answer” to “grievous words” and try to use what they learn in their interactions with each other. A song like “Kindness Begins with Me” (Children’s Songbook, 145) could help reinforce this principle.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Where Love Is,” Children’s Songbook, 138–39.