Daniel J. Estes, Hear, My Son: Teaching & Learning in Proverbs 1-9, (Inter-Varsity Press, 1997), 174 pages. Over the first quarter of this year, Sojourn's Student and Family Ministry team has been learning together by reading Dan Estes' little book on education in the book of Proverbs. Over the next seven weeks, I'm going to unpack his book chapter by chapter.
Chapter 1 gives an overview of the worldview behind Proverbs 1-9. The worldview of the sage (the writer of Proverbs) can be seen in three basic statements: (1) God made and ordered the world, (2) God's order is mysterious but knowable, and (3) People must reverence God with their whole life.
God made and ordered the world. God made the world, and because he made the world, he makes the rules. There is a common ethical system behind all of creation. This is why the author of Proverbs is not afraid to use so many illustrations from nature. We talked at length about whether or not we are prepared to speak about God's order in nature. The sage taught lessons based on ants, and the sage taught lessons based on fig trees. Training our eyes to see God's order in nature will prepare us when there are teachable moments with our students and children.
God's order is mysterious but knowable. Since God reveals his order, the student can learn to be skillful in the way that he lives. Do we focus on teaching our kids how to live skillfully or simply on helping them learn intellectual truth?
People must reverence God with their whole life. We discussed how seeing God's will in his world requires a radical re-orientation--a conversion. "The search for wisdom... is not a supplement, but it must be the radical re-orientation of life in which wisdom becomes the prime priority" (31). Do we help students live in reverence under God's rule? Do we help them understand that one day they will stand before His judgment? What does it mean to help them live in light of eternity but yet by God's grace? Thank God that it is our crucified Savior that sits on the judgment seat.