What is it that will bless our sons while we are live - and more importantly after we die? Some thing that leaving them a huge inheritance of money, stock, and real estate would be the best thing. Actually, Proverbs says that an inheritance quickly gained will be lost in the end. So what is it that will bless our sons now and far into the future?
Solomon tells us that the best thing we can do for our sons is to be a righteous man who walks in integrity. The first thing we see here is that this father is a "righteous man." This means that he does what is right in the sight of the Lord. He lives in a way that honors and glorifies God. It also means that this father has looked to Jesus Christ for salvation - since that is the only way we can truly be a righteous man - by grace through faith. But this father also is one who lives in integrity. The word integrity here is the Hebrew word, "tamam" which means to walk in a completeness and moral innocence. This man walks through life in complete obedience to God as well as complete submission to what God's Word instructs him to do. He also walks in a moral innocence that comes from desiring holiness and spiritual maturity in his life. The last way that this word is used is to speak of someone who walks in simplicity. When I read this I am reminded of Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians that he was jealous for them with a godly jealousy. He desired for them to walk, "in simplicity and devotion to Jesus." This would wonderfully describe the kind of integrity that the righteous father would want his children (especially his sons) to see in his life - an integrity of devotion to Jesus Christ - simple devotion to Him.
When a father walks in this way - how blessed are his sons after him. They may not have riches. They may not have huge estates and vacation homes. They may not have all the things that this world says a man shoul have to be successful. But what they do have is something very rare. Possibly more rare that diamonds and rubies. They will have a godly upbringing and a godly example from their father. This will bless them long after the toys and trinkets of this life are gone. They will be blessed in having the kind of rearing that will help them through the minefields of the world system. These minefields include the devil's traps in the areas of sexual immorality, impurity, evil desires, and greed. It will help them navigate through the shoals and hidden reefs of youth and the dangerous coastal rocky shorelines of mid-life crisis. They will have watched a godly father navigate these dangers successfully - thus leaving them a legacy of godliness. They will have mapped out for their sons the course that will lead them safely to the harbors of heaven. They will know to close their ears to the siren songs of their flesh and the world - and to sail with their eyes fixed on the Word of God. They will run their race with their eyes fixed on Jesus - and on the example their fathers were of a life centered in Him.
You can spend your life working to leave your sons a fortune. You can make sure that they are set for life when you die - at least in financial realms. The problem with such an inheritance is that without a godly compass these things can actually be more of a danger than a help. A son needs the blessing of a godly man who walks in his integrity. We say often that the things of God are more often caught than taught. How true this is in regard to teaching our sons how to walk with God. I do not discount teaching because it is absolutely necessary. But without a corresponding walk in integrity before the eyes of our boys, they may not get all they need to succeed at life. And regardless of how they fare in the business world - in the end they will need life, life eternal more than anything else. May we be wise fathers who not only teach them the things of God - but also walk in out as they look to see if we are only offering them precepts - rather than living principles.