He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy. (KJV)
To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool. (NIV)
Reading through the previous verses, we read about different ways fools act:
- They are only impressed with violence (vv. 10)
- They willingly deny God and/or His works (vv. 11)
- They do not learn from the consequences of their actions (vv. 12, 20)
- They are vengeful (vv. 13)
- They keep getting into arguments (vv. 14, 19)
- They celebrate sin (vv. 15)
- They cannot handle finances well (vv. 16, 18)
Verse 13 also tells us something else (by implication): These traits tend to be learned from our family.
Our foolishness gets passed on to our children. Usually it is by our own foolishness and bad decisions, but as evidenced by the events after the Garden of Eden it is also passed on genetically!
Sadly, as evidenced by David and Solomon’s children, the children of the a friend of God and the wisest of men, even if we do our best our children may act foolishly.
Ask any parent who has had to bail their child out of jail, pay for damages to property or stolen items or debt, has to clean up social messes, or has to spend time in emergency rooms due to reckless behavior: a foolish child is difficult to live with.
Here is the thing: it is always a choice.
We choose to mock our parents. We choose to embarrass our parents. We choose to ruin our own lives.
We choose to live in rebellion to God and His ways.
That is the real crux of the matter. Our foolishness is rebellion to God.
If we bring grief and no joy to God, it actually proves who our father is:
44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Do not make the father of lies proud and grieve God. Choose wisely.
Heavenly Father, give us Your wisdom and help us to avoid foolishness. Thank You for forgiving our foolishness. Help us to raise godly children by living godly lives through Your Holy Spirit.