“It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel” (Proverbs 20:3, NKJV).
It doesn’t take any special talent or strength to start a quarrel. Any fool can do it; it comes naturally. Any mother can attest to that fact.
In contrast, Proverbs 16:32 says,
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”
The person who is patient and slow to become angry is a champion. He is better than a military hero! The Hebrew word for “mighty” in this verse is the same one used to describe Goliath. It’s the word used to describe a “lion which is strongest among beasts” (Proverbs 30:30), and is used over and over in reference to warriors and to the “mighty men of valor” who were the strongest and bravest in the armies of the Old Testament.
David was described as a mighty man of valor, and he surrounded himself with a company of mighty men. These men were at the front of the ranks, scaling walls of cities, killing enemies almost single-handedly, and leading armies for the good and protection of others. They were the super-heroes of their day, the Old Testament equivalent of our modern military special forces, such as the Green Berets and Army Rangers, the Navy Seals (and Captain America)! These guys would have been Medal-of-Honor recipients!
Proverbs 16:32 also says that the man who rules his spirit is better than the one who takes a city. Not many people conquer cities. It’s hard work. It takes strength, courage, and self-control. In the same way, controlling our spirits, not losing our tempers, and not quarrelling with others, takes great strength – strength that we will never have on our own. Only God can give us that kind of strength.
We and our children, by God’s grace, can be better than super-heroes! With the Holy Spirit working in our hearts, we can become patient, valiant peacemakers. Let’s follow our Captain into battle and take our sinful thoughts and emotions captive. If you have children who lose their tempers and who quarrel with others (and who doesn’t?), use this study to help you learn more about mighty men (your kids will love Eleazar’s dad’s name).
- As you read, note on the chart anything you learn about each mighty man. What did he do? How is he described? You may want to read about one person each day for several days.
- Get the children involved by acting out some of the stories. The boys will especially love playing these roles!
- When you have completed the study, take some time to discuss what you have learned. What were these mighty men like? Who enabled them to accomplish what they did? What happened to Goliath, the one bad-guy mighty man who was mighty in his own strength, when he was confronted by a mighty man whose strength came from God?
- How can we be like these mighty men when we fight against our natural desire to argue with others?
- Pray together. Ask God to give you and your children the grace and strength to control your anger and your desire to argue.
- Talk about being a band of “mighty men” together in obedience to God.
- Print out both Proverbs 20:3 and Proverbs 16:32 in large print, and have your children add illustrations. Post the verses in your home.
- When someone starts to argue or loses their temper, gently remind each other of your mission. Any fool can start a quarrel, but only a super-hero, empowered by God, can control his spirit and resist the temptation to argue. It’s honorable to stop arguing!
- Encourage and commend children when you hear them patiently turn from a potential quarrel.
- Consider making some fun, simple “medals of honor” or badges to pin on an argumentative child who makes real progress in this area, or hold a special award ceremony when Dad comes home, to encourage children who are improving and to acknowledge God’s faithful work in their lives.
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