Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad, That I may reply to him who reproaches me. Proverbs 27:11
When we have wise sons it is a joy to our hearts as fathers. That is why it is so vital that the current generation of fathers take on the task of rearing a generation of sons who reject this present evil world and its ways and choose instead to live according to the wisdom God offers to us in the Scriptures.
What I think we have here is the frustrated cry of a father. He is frustrated because he desires for his son to be wise - yet, he is facing criticism and reproach because he is not. It may be the cry of a father who has seen men before him - godly men in their own right - and yet they were subject to reproach because of the character and choices of their sons after them. The father may have been a man of God - a man of great godly character and actions. He may have been a leader - an example himself. The problem is that his son does not walk in the same way.
Think about Samuel the prophet for a moment in this light. He was a man of God - unparalleled in how he served God with all his heart. Yet the one thing that caused the downfall of his ministry - was the way that his sons lived. At the close of his life the people of Israel asked for a king. They asked, not because Samuel was inadequate as a prophet. They asked because by their own admission, Samuel's sons did not walk in his ways. Samuel, as godly as he was - had not learned the lesson of Eli's lack of godly fathering of his sons. Eli's sons were ungodly - and their actions led to the people not being led by godly men. Now, Samuel, after seeing God bring Israel back to Himself - now watched as they rejected the Lord as king over them - because they would have to trust Samuel's sons to lead them after Samuel's death. This they did not want - because Samuel's sons were not men of God.
The cry of a godly father who is reproached when his sons do not walk in his ways - is that they would be wise and godly. But as we look back on much of biblical history - it is one littered with godly men whose very sons did not follow in their daddy's footsteps. So what are we to learn here from this passage about wisdom?
Fathers, please hear me for a few moments here. You may have a legacy in your own actions that blows everyone away - but it will mean little to you later in life if your sons do not walk in your ways. God calls us as fathers to love our children by rearing them to walk with Him. That is a task that we cannot ignore - no matter how successful we are. It will come to haunt us - as it did Samuel, as it did Solomon, as it did Hezekiah. These men were all godly in their own right - but their sons did not walk in their ways. In all three cases, the legacy of these men was not carried on through their sons. They turned from following the Lord and the result was pretty disastrous for them - and for the people whom they were supposed to lead.
Wisdom is found in a father who leads and teaches his son to walk wisely. He does so as one of the most important things he can possibly do in life. The detriment to our society and the church within it cannot be possibly be calculated because our sons often do not walk in our ways. Men leave carnage behind them when they do not walk with God. God wants men to lead in spiritual matters - but when they don't - or sadly can't - what they leave behind is much reason for us to reproach their fathers for not making as an ultimate priority the responsibility to bring up godly sons after them.
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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