There are some very serious consequences for those who become heavy drinkers or gluttonous eaters. These are things that we don't like to deal with today - because they tend to get a little personal when we confront them. Nevertheless, these things are not good for us, and they will rob us of the blessings of a good and prosperous life.
Contrary to the nanny state that is trying to change people's behavior by legislation and shaming, God's Word takes a different approach. First of all, we see that the things that are being said are said from the mouth of a father. These are matters that the state are not to fix - they were meant to be addressed in the course of living within a godly home. The reason that these things are epidemic in our day is because of the rampant lack of godly homes. There are no longer fathers who take the time to regularly teach and train their sons to be godly men. There are also no longer those in our society that will know the Word in a way that will move them to impart wisdom to their children.
The father here speaks to his son and lets him know from the start that the motivation for his comments is that his son would be wise. He is saying to his boy, if you are wise, you will avoid these kinds of lifestyle choices. Then he lets his son know that if he rejects such wisdom - there will be consequences. He does not seek to deliver his son from the consequences except a warning of what is to come. He is not wanting to just modify his son's behavior. He is seeking to help his son on heart issues. He says, "Direct your heart in the way!"
Our current legislative overreach wants to modify behavior by taxing certain behaviors heavier - or trying to outlaw them altogether. They seek to stop smoking this way - or they try to so stigmatize smoking that people will stop out of shame. What this has led to is people who hold fast to their smoking - but not have to pay far more to do so. The sad thing is that in the end, the government (who is constantly in search of more money to spend) receives greater tax because of this behavior. This makes it to where they almost don't want to have smoking stop - because then their revenue stream will dry up and go away. Just addressing the outward behavior will do little or nothing to stop the problem.
This father addresses the heart. He wants his son to be wise - and a wise man takes the time to direct his own heart into a way that does not dishonor God. He will direct his heart into ways that are not destructive to himself. Instead he will direct his heart into "THE" way. What is "THE" way? It is the way of the Lord. It is a way that puts great value on bringing glory and honor and praise to Him. It is a way that values the Word of God - and values the lifestyle that comes from honoring and obeying the Word of God. This is what the father wants - and it is a wise thing that he is seeking!
Fathers, let's give us merely trying to change our son's behavior with poor motivators. Threats and harsh punishments will probably not turn the hearts of our sons to the right way. Let us speak the truth to our children, but at the same time aim for the heart. What we want is to see them choose wise paths - and heart-motivated change. May God give us the wisdom to speak to them this way - and then they will be blessed - not just with good behavior, but a good heart that motivates that behavior for a lifetime. Check tomorrow's post as we continue through the next several verses to see how the father uses wisdom - and an understanding of the biblical consequences that follow our actions.