Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 5:7
Wisdom is something that should passionately be spoken to our sons. It is something they should hear from us with a sense of urgency and importance that should ring from what we say to them. If we do not speak with this kind of passion we may have our children go the way that the son in laws of Lot went.
We read in Genesis of this sad event in Genesis 19:14, " Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, "Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city." But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting." Unfortunately for Lot - a passionate plea to late seems like little more than a bad joke. The lack of passion concerning the immorality and ungodliness of the people was palpable. He rarely spoke out, though his righteous soul was tormented by their behavior. But Lot decided not to speak too stridently about sin in his day. The result of his lack of conviction about the sin that ran rampant in his town was that no one took him seriously when he came with a warning about God's judgment. He never seemed too disturbed about the sin before - so maybe he was overreacting to the situation at hand. In the end the men who would have been his daughter's husbands laughed him off - and were destroyed when the fire and brimstone fell from heaven.
This is why we need to speak with the passion of this father. When he says, "listen" he uses the word that speaks of listening to obey. He wants his words regarded, heard, and followed. When he says, "do not depart" he uses languate that is strong. The idea behind this admonition is like a military leader urging his troops to not desert him or quit fighting. Strong words are employed by this father to call his sons away from sexual immorality. Do we use words this strong when speaking with our sons on such issues? Do we use any words? Do we even speak with them about such things?
Our sons need us! We live in a day of loose morals and lying promises. The morals of our day are loose because our nation has abandoned the words of the Lord. Schools forbid us from speaking such things to students. In the places where an abstinence message is allowed - a Scriptural one is forbidden. It seems almost insane to keep such a message from our young ones considering that over 40 different incurable sexually transmitted diseases run rampant in our society. But the real danger, according to our lawmakers, is that someone might harm them by speaking a religious message to them. What is allowed more and more is the lying promises of our soceity. Safe sex is promoted - with the thought that they are going to be sexually immoral anyway. The problem is that the so-called safe sex message relies primarily on condoms - which have a 1 in 6 failure rate. Their message of safety is about as effective as playing russian roulette with a six shooter. Come on - there's only one chance in six someone is going to blow their brains out! Keep your morality off of our pistol! We'd consider such talk sheer insanity if it were uttered to our kids about playing russian roulette. But for those who offer the same message with an incurable sexually transmitted disease - well, that's open thinking and progressive education. Honestly . . . sounds like a gathering of idiots to me.
Dad's - this was NEVER to be a matter handed over to school and governmental officials. Sex education and far more importantly sexual morality was and still is to be taught by a father to his son. That way we can not only teach them about their sexuality as a gift from God. We can also let them know of the perversion of it by the Fall - and the dangers that come from ignoring the Word of God.
My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; Proverbs 5:1
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears." This was the way Shakespeare began the speech of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. It was a cry for people to listen and to pay close attention because something very important was going to be said. Proverbs has its own soliloquies as well - but they come from the mouths of mothers and fathers to their sons and daughters. This is how the father begins his speech to his son - by calling him to listen and to pay close attention to what he is going to say.
Give attention, pay heed, pay attention, listen is what the father is saying to his son. But he is not calling him to attention to just anything - he is calling his attention to the wisdom that the father shares with him. Wisdom is the familiar word "chokmah" in the Hebrew meaning which means not just seeing or knowing things from God's perspective - but having a skill and experience in using this wisdom to make moral and practical decisions. We are not to turn the education and en-wisening of our children over to others. That is what western culture has done too often. We turn our kids over to the school - even to their Sunday school teachers and youth leaders. Let them teach our children wisdom - that's what they're for right? WRONG! They are there to only add to and embellish the core teachings that should have come from us. When we do not do our jobs as parents - believe me - no one else can make up for it.
The father calls his son to bend his ear close when he speaks and when he instructs. "Incline your ear" is like Shakespeares, "Lend me your ears," comment. It is saying to the son that he needs to stretch out his ears - bend them toward what the father is saying. He is to extend and lean his ears to what is being said - but even more to that - to understand his father's words and see how they apply to all of life! We talk about how the younger generation is leaving the church. They are leaving because they see very little relevance to their lives from what is being taught. They see the Bible as stories told to them when they were little - as an antiquated book that no longer applies to today's world. Why? Because they did not hear from dad - nor see in dad a daily pursuit of the truth - as well as a daily understanding of how that truth applies to making decisions in the everyday life that he leads. Of course they are going to think it is of little value. Oh, but when a father teaches his children these things - calls them to listen and bend their ear close as he instructs them. When dad reveals to them a life lived from the perspective of God and of Scripture - that - dear brothers and sisters is a life that will call a son to follow. That child will value what he has heard and SEEN in his father. He will listen because he has SEEN how important this book - the Bible - is to how his father lives. That, my brothers is how we recapture this generation. We do so by living according to God's wisdom - then calling our sons to listen as we recount time after time when that wisdom guided us through the minefields of life. What is the particular "minefield" that the father is so intent on teaching to his son? It is the minefield of sexual immorality. He is talking to his son about women - actually about a certain kind of woman - the immoral one. He is also sharing much wisdom with his son about the battle that will ensue when he deals with women like this. He does not hide such things from his son - he teaches them honestly and very straight forwardly. This is not something that is relegated to the sex ed teacher - it is something the father teaches his son. I'm about to say some things that will probably offend some - while at the same time making others shout for joy that someone is saying them out loud. Sex education was meant to be taught at home and in the church. Never was this meant to be a topic brought up without very clear moral underpinnings. If you look at the first 9 chapters of Proverbs you will see that this issue was raised BY THE FATHER to the son several times. God intended for a godly father to teach his son about sex - and about the pitfalls of being a fallen male in this world. The Bible is not squeamish on the matter of sexuality. It faces it head on - sharing general teaching, instruction, warnings, as well as cautionary historical examples of sexuality running wild and causing great destruction. I've long held that if the whole Bible was ever to be put on film - it would carry at least an R rating. The perils of heterosexual sin, homosexuality, and perversion are not hidden from us. They are displayed in such a way that we see their destructive power and desire to avoid them. Dad, are you teaching your son these things? Have you sat down and taught him about his sexuality - with a proper moral foundation underneath so that his sexuality does not run rampant and destroy relationships and possibly even his health and welfare? Because the church has not stepped out in front on such issues - and because fathers have not taught their sons and instructed them in how to wisely deal with their sexuality - the world has taken over. The result is sexuality taught without biblical morality. How's that working for us so far? Have we brought about a safer, wiser, more responsible sexuality among our children and youth? It has been a disaster because teaching sexuality without morality has led to a sex-crazed society that has cheapened sex and made it accessible and acceptable in every situation. Dads . . . YOU are responsible for how your son and daughter views sexuality. If you do not teach them the truth - they most likely will not know it. The television and movies will not tell them about such things within a biblical context. Magazines and books won't do it either. They will promote the perversions of sex passed on by our society and those who view sex as an anything goes activity - just so long as you use protection. Fathers! Nothing will protect your child from the dangers of unbiblical sex. There is not a condom or a safety device made that protects the heart and the spirit from the devastation and destructive power of sin. May God grant us a revival among fathers - that we will call our children to listen - and we will talk to them frankly and honestly about their sexuality. May we also give them a godly, biblical framework in which to enjoy their sexuality as God intended. If we do not talk to them and teach them - I can promise you others will who have no intention of offering them the greatest protection we can have in sex - the wisdom of God.
Correct your son and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul. Proverbs 29:17
It is a common error for parents to think that if they discipline their children, they will not like them later in life. This is especially the case when at the time of the discipline the child makes a comment to the effect that they hate you. Another winner at this juncture is when a child announces in overdramtic fashion that you are ruining their life. Let me assure you from having reared 6 children of all personality types - when you discipline them you are not ruining their lives. What you are doing is insuring that at a later date you will find comfort and delight in a child who knows how to control himself and make wise choices.
Correcting your son involves discipline. The word here is "yasar" and it means to discipline, chasten, instruct, teach, and even punish. This process of correction therefore takes into account all the aspects of rearing a child. It means so much more than just spanking or punishing a child when they do wrong. It involves instructing and teaching them even as you chasten and punish them. It is not enough to tell a child something is bad - you have to eventually explain why something is bad or a wrong choice. When you do this, you take the time to encourage them toward godly, right behavior.
When you rear a child in this fashion you will find that your son gives you two wonderful things. First, we are told that he gives us "comfort." The word here means to give someone a sense of rest and repose. It can also mean a rest in the way you feel when you are satisfied with something. A well-disciplined child, although a chore during the process, will give a parent rest as they make godly, wise choices later in life. I know from a little experience and from helping others that when a child makes unwise choices - it can rob you of any sense of rest or relaxation. Some parents seem to spend a majority of their latter years rescueing a child from one disaster after another. That is not rest!
The second blessing that comes to parents who correct their children is delight. The Hebrew word here is "ma'aden" and it means something of beauty or when refering to food something that tastes wonderful. One of the blessings that I have is that of thoroughly enjoying my children. We have 6 of them - and they are a delight to the soul of their mother and father. When they visit we speak deeply of spiritual things - and we have a blast together - often laughing and enjoying each other's company. That is what is promised here.
Now just a word in closing on this proverb. The delight often comes later in life - because rearing a child is a full contact sport! There were many times when we struggled to know what to do - and how to deal with rebellion in our children. There were times when my wife and I were dropped to our knees in broken-hearted prayer on their behalf. We both know that the reason they are godly today is because of God's grace and mercy - not our wonderful, bookworthy parenting. So do not lose heart if at first you read this and wonder about such words as comfort and delight. That comes after you've spent 15-20 years of work together rearing them - praying for them - and often wondering what may become of them. That part is the "correcting" phase. It is not always delightful - but is very useful to God not only to bless your children - but to drop you to your knees for a few times of God's work in you as well.
Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. Proverbs 27:23-24
We are on day three of our look at the Ministry of Neglect - and how to avoid it. Today, we will look at knowing well the condition of our families. This area is one where we are truly dealing with a "flock" God holds us accountable to lead and love. The commands to love our wives and to rear our children in the fear and admonition of The Lord are pretty clear. Yet in the midst of everything that is going on in our lives, it is too easy to not pay attention to these precious people God gives to us.
Note the second half of this verse. Riches are not forever - nor does a crown endure to all generations. There are riches in every area of which we speak. For the family, these riches are the people themselves. These riches are the relationships we have with our spouses and with our children. My relationship with my wife grows a day shorter every day that we live. If I am not careful I will spend a lifetime with a woman I hardly know. Too many marriages wind up being two people who are strangers living in the same home. Do you know your wife? Do you love her? Are you spending time with her - leading her spiritually and loving her in concrete ways? We can get so busy with work - with school - with sports - with life itself that we realize that we've not spent time just being with, talking to, and loving our spouses.
Now consider your children. Here is where we see not only the riches of knowing and being with them, but also the part of this proverb that says how the crown will not endure. If you are a dad or mom, you have a crown in your family. You are to rear your children for Christ. As your children grow up - they want to be with you and learn from you. But remember, the crown will not endure forever. They will grow up and eventually have a mind of their own. They will quickly grow to where they have their own goals, their own spouse, their own family. The crown you have will be passed to your children. Lead and love while you can. Know the condition of their hearts. Know where they are spiritually. Know what they need. Honestly . . . just know them! There will be stressful and hard times - but learn to enjoy your children.
The Ministry of Neglect is unfortunately rampant in our society when it comes to marriage and family. The world says to us that our value and meaning is attained by success in our work. We are successful because of what we do. This leads to neglected marriages and neglected children. Over generations this can be multiplied again and again to where an entire society is damaged. The wisdom of knowing the condition of your spouse - of your marriage - and of your family is worth the time it takes to gain it. It will help us grow spiritually - and it will prevent many problems. May God give us grace to walk in true understanding of the little flock God grants to us - in our homes.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22
What kind of inheritance are you leaving to your children? What kind of inheritance are you leaving to your grandchildren? That is what today's proverb wants us to consider. There is a blessing that we should pass to our families. From what we read in Scripture there is one that we can pass to several generations if we choose to live as God would have us to live. Let us take a look at this today.
The good man leaves an inheritance to both his children and his grandchildren. He approaches his earnings in life in such a way as to use them frugally and save for the future. This is how he provides an inheritance for his family. Note that he is called a "good" man - which refers to his character. In order to be such a man one needs to be selfless and desire to bless his children - rather than to spend it all on himself.
One thing we need to remember is that God does not promise riches in wealth to all men in equal amounts. Therefore to say that this refers only to money is foolish. Solomon laments of the man who had worked himself to death to obtain money, only to leave it to a son who is a fool. This man may have left wealth to his son, but he forgot to leave him spiritual wealth and wisdom. Therefore the money he has earned and saved will only be wasted by a son who is a complete moron when it comes to how to live.
We need to leave our children an inheritance of godliness and wisdom as well as one that we can financially. Without this our children will suffer far worse than if they miss a few luxuries according to the dictates of society. There are those who will have wealth, but may spend eterntiy in abject poverty in hell when they die. This is no inheritance that you want to pass on to your family. If we leave them with wisdom and with knowledge of the Word and of their Savior Jesus Christ - they will be rich for eternity - even if they don't live on the upper east side in this life.
The wicked will leave their wealth to the righteous. This means that although they live wealthy for the few years of this life, they will eventually die and leave all of it to others. Since they have lived for wickedness, their children will most likely waste their wealth and have it transfer to those who use wise principles in how they do business. These are those who are godly and good in their business as well as their daily lives.
There is something that we desperately need to leave to our children and their children. It is a good thing if we can leave them an inheritance that will help them afford a home or other things financially. But more importantly is to leave them with an inheritance in the things of the Lord. This is something that can never be lost. God promised that a godly man can touch thousands over the lives of his children and grandchildren. But to do so we need to be willing to invest, not just in stocks and bonds - but in a godly heritage that will take a lifetime to develop and prepare for our families.