My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Proverbs 4:20
Proverbs is filled with admonitions from a father to a son. This is a large part of this book - the importance of a father teaching his children the things of God. This is something that has been lost to several generations in our country - and we can easily see the damage that results from it in multiple generations of American men.
The father speaks bold words to his son - telling him to pay attention to the word that he speaks to him. Dads, there is little that is as important as being able to speak this way to your sons. This does not happen overnight because you decide to do it. Cultivate this with your sons by spending time with them. Turn off the television and put down whatever it is that you think is so important - and build a relationship with your boys! This dad gained the ability to say such things by being a part of his son's life. Having gained that position, he speaks boldly telling his son to pay attention to his words.
Have you made it clear to your son that the things you say to him are important? This is no small matter. If a father practices neglect of his sons early, they will see no place for his words. His words are spoken so seldom that they do not matter to him. If a father plays the fool all the time his son will not take him seriously. If a father is harsh his son will reject his words because there is no love in them. But the father who consistently loves and speaks with his son - both about fun and serious things - will win his heart. When this takes place his son will know that the words of his Father truly matter - and he will pay close attention to them. This dad wants his son to truly hear - and grasp the things that he says. The idea behind paying close attention to him means to listen carefully so as to heed and obey.
He also says that his son should "incline" his ear to his father's sayings. The word incline has the idea of stretching out and extending something. It is a call for his son to stretch out his ears - to strain himself to hear what his dad is saying to him. The Hebrew word "emer" here has an interesting aspect to it. When used in its root form, this term meant a saying, but it usually also involved a quotation spoken after it. For those of us who walk with God, this is pretty amazing. It is a reminder that not only do we need to give our kids wise commands for their moral choices - but that we also need to include a quotation afterward. That quotation needs to be from the Scriptures. It is so vital that our moral statements have true moral authority. So, we quote the Word to our sons as we tell them the way that they should walk and live in life.
Men, it is so important that we speak to our sons. It is important that they hear from us the morals and the values that they should have in life. It is also important that as we share these things we let them know that our values and morals do not arise out of the ash pits of American society and the shifting sands of public or political opinion. Our valures are rooted in God's revelation of Himself in Scripture - in the Bible. They have their footings dug deep into the 10 commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the writings of Pau, Peter, and John. This is the way to have a son who has strong values - and values that will not be blown and tossed like the waves driven by the wind. Be a strong man - speak strong things - and rear strong sons!
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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