Category Archives: Parenting

Take Heed

Proverbs 6:20

“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”

Recap

In the first few days, Proverbial Thoughts centered around practical warnings to each of us on how we should handle certain things such as:

The last few days Solomon was talking in verses 12-19 about “the wicked man” and how there are seven things that are an abomination to the Lord.

Today’s “Thought” begins to take the conversation back to a more practical warning to us about the topic of adultery.

Pay Attention To A Father’s Commandment

I have always had a difficult time paying attention. I know that this is not going to surprise anyone that knows me very well. I am very easily sidetracked with things that come my way. I will be in the middle of one project, then something else catches my attention and off I go.

Solomon begins verse 20 the same way he has started several other verses in the book of Proverbs, with a plea – “My son, keep your father’s commandments”. Solomon is telling us to pay attention, or to focus on the Word of God.  In a few days, we will be discussing verse 23 and how “the commandment” or the Word of God is a lamp and the teaching of light.

Heard vs. Heeded

If Solomon’s house was anything like mine growing up, then Solomon’s whole family heard the gospel. As a young child, we were always in church (whenever the doors were open – we where there!). My father has been in christian radio for over 40 years and the radio was always playing either christian songs or there was a preacher preaching – so God’s Word was heard.

But God does not want us to just hear the Word! No, He wants us to hear it and then do it! James 1:22 tells us,

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Solomon is telling his son, you know the commandments of God’s Word – now KEEP THEM!

A Mother’s Teaching

The first President of the United States of America, George Washington, had this to say about his mother:

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

Just about all of us can look back when we were younger and hear our mother giving us advice on how to do this or that. I can still hear my mother telling me that “you better be careful” or “I’m not so sure I would do it that way”.

Solomon is telling us in verse 20 to not only keep your father’s commandments but don’t stray away from what your mother taught you when you were younger!

Conclusion

In today’s society, we need more fathers and mothers to sit down with their children and simply say – pay attention to what I am teaching you from God’s Word! Listen to what we have to say and it will benefit you greatly!

Lord, please help me to be a father that is in your Word.  To be a father that is willing to take the next step and apply it to my life and then teach it to my daughter. Lord, use us to teach the next generation about you!

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Run Away! Run Away!

Proverbs 5:7-9

7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel.”

Mean Cat

My grandmother used to have a mean cat. This cat was an absolutely anti-social, psychotic, frenetic feline. One couldn’t get near her without getting hissed at, and that just made us want to aggravate it more.

I know it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do when we were young, but we would love to try to tease the cat without getting bit. Fortunately, the monster had been declawed; however, her piercing fangs remained. If we got too close she could leave a couple of bloody reminders that she still had a mouth. Playing with her was playing with danger. That’s why it was fun.

Temptation

It’s really all about temptation, isn’t it? Solomon knew that if you play with sin, or get too close, you will get bit, and it will hurt.

Jesus knew something about temptation, also. He said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul warned Timothy to “flee” from “youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). Lust tends to make us buy things we can’t afford.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15

Flirting

Many times we like to get just close enough to the forbidden fruit that we can smell it. No, we know we shouldn’t take a bite, but the aroma gives us a little thrill. Flirting with the wrong woman is nothing more than trying to sin a little. But a little sin is still a sin.

In reality, if we know where temptation lives, why would we want to drive by? Do we secretly long for what we know will harm us? If we have lust in our hearts, then the answer is “yes.” As James said, we are only tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts. Flirting is dangerous.

Giving it Away

The consequences of sin are never worth the temporary fun. In this case, Solomon warns that the price is one’s honor and freedom. When a young man enters the “strange” woman’s door, the result is usually shame that rarely goes away.

On top of that, there’s the wasted time – time that could have been spent building a loving relationship. Instead, all your energy, your emotions, your wealth, and your health is squandered on a user of men.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” – Rom. 6:12-13 NLT

Final Thought

My son, the next time you feel drawn to a “strange” woman, remember the words of King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail….

“RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!”


Unpredictable Women

Proverbs 5:6

“Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.”

Practical Advice

If there was ever a chapter that should be read to every son, and even daughter, it is this one. The advice that Solomon shares in these verses is what every young man should hear. Unfortunately, many young men never have a father come along side and say, “Listen, son, there are some things you need to know.”

And when it comes to today’s verse, the advice given is timeless and priceless. Women are no different today than they were in Solomon’s time, and men are just as gullible.

Unknowable

If there is one thing I have learned after 20 years with the same woman, it is that you can never figure them out – don’t even try. Once a man thinks he understands women, that’s the time to get out of his way. Disaster is about to strike.

How much more difficult is it to understand the ways of a “strange” woman? She is different, unlike what you have experienced; and that’s exciting. But the problem comes when you begin to desire stability, or faithfulness. She’s not ready for that. All she wants is to have fun.

Solomon is saying, then, “Before you get to the point of trying to understand her, it’s better that you never even go there. She’s too unpredictable.”

Unpredictable

“Her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.” In other words, she is as unpredictable as the wind. She is like a shaky foundation. You never know what path she will take, or when she will fall. Predicting her next move is useless.

Of course, the danger of an unpredictable woman is that her next move could mean destruction. She is like an untamed predator that can seem soft and cuddly one moment, but destroy you the next.

Dangerous

When I read the fifth chapter of Proverbs I am reminded of a song. Back in the early 90’s Julie Miller recorded “Angelina,” and every time I hear it I still get chills. Below are some of the lyrics. Do they not describe the “strange woman?” Do you think Solomon could have had someone like this in mind?

Should she come walking down your street, you might think: “She’s the kind of girl I’d like to meet,”
But don’t be taken in, she’ll rob you in the end,
She’s got to get control, she’s so afraid within,
Her daddy sure must have broken her heart, but she’ll get him back while you play out his part.

She’s just a lost little girl, she seems so harmless to touch,
She’s just been taught by the world, and now she’s dangerous.

– Buddy & Julie Miller

Contrast

How different is the “strange woman” from a godly woman? Consider the way the Bible describes Wisdom: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” – Pro. 3:17-18

Heavenly Father, help us to be parents who teach our children not only right from wrong, but godly wisdom, also. May we teach our sons to be men of God, and our daughters to be women worthy of praise. 

NOTE: I found this article about a godly grandmother. What a contrast with the “strange woman” of chapter five! “A Woman They Would Write About.”


Wisdom Is Life

Proverbs 4:13

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.”

As I finish my degree in Christian Leadership, I am beginning to focus on working toward eventually getting a Masters in Secondary Education for Math. I have had both memories of hearing others (and thinking myself) while in high school “Why do I need to know this?” as well as heard current classmates working toward teaching degrees and students at the elementary school where I work asking the same question.

Come to think of it, as children (and even adults) we ask more than anything:

Why?

Why do I have to do this? Why do I need this? Why is this important? Why should I care?

Asking these questions is not bad, but we should be willing to learn from the answers.

Why?

Because, those answers just might be “thy life.”

Jesus famously said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) so that qualifies Him for authority. We should listen to what He says.

But beyond that …

We want to know as children why, because we want to know how things work. Some of us never grow out of that.

Parents share what they have learned from others and from experience what a child needs to know about how this world works so that they might have a better life, or at the very least that they might be able to live this life.

God the Father wants us to live life.

He sent prophets. He sent His Son. He sent His Church.

God has given us instruction for life, even to the point of coming in person to teach us.

Just as the things we learn as children help prepare us to be adults, the things we learn from God’s word – written, spoken, and lived out – help prepare us for eternity.

As Jesus said:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
John 6:63

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14:21

The only way to eternal life is to believe and follow Jesus’ instructions, His commands. Read your Bible, learn His ways, and put them into practice.

Lord Jesus, give us a passion for your words. Give us ears to hear, minds to understand, wisdom to implement, and the strength to live.


The Way to Go

Proverbs 4:11-12

“I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.”

A Way Walked

The first part of this passage is fairly simple to understand. In a moment of recollection, Solomon is reminding his children that he has given them good instruction; that he has led them.The best teachers are those who can say, “I have been down that road.” Sure, it is easy to give directions, but how much more valuable is the instruction when the teacher can relay first-hand experience?

As a bus driver, I drive the same route every day. I could draw a map that would be as accurate as one printed. But the difference between my map and an image from a satellite would be my knowledge of hazards unique to the vehicle. Unlike automobiles, 40 foot buses aren’t able to straighten some curves, or go under some bridges. Maps don’t usually show those things; but experience will.

Solomon is telling his children, as God is telling us, that the way ahead will be much easier if we listen to those who have gone before.

A Parental Challange

One interesting thing to note is where Solomon says “I have taught thee…” A deeper look at the word taught will show that it also means “to throw, to shoot.” Let this be a reminder – children are ours for a purpose.

In Psalm 127:5 David refers to children as “arrows” in a quiver. Arrows are worthless unless they are used. Arrows are worthless unless they are sharp, straight, and designed for a specific target. Children are to be considered tools with a mission, and we are to train them and keep them until we launch them toward their goals.

Straight, or Not?

Another interesting thing to consider is the word “straightened.” At first glance, we might consider the word here to mean the same as implied in the phrases “straight and narrow,” or “straight as an arrow.” Why, then, does Solomon say “thy steps shall not be straightened?” Does he want them to encounter curves along the way?

Actually, the word here is yatsar (Strong’s H3334), which can mean “to bind, be distressed, be in distress, be cramped, be narrow.” In reality, Solomon is saying that if one follows wise instruction, the way ahead will be less stressful, less binding, less depressing.

Thinking about this, I am immediately reminded of a particular place on the path through Rock City (a tourist attraction near Chattanooga, TN). It is called “fat man’s squeeze.” Seriously, if you are over 250 pounds, you might not make it through this narrow passage between two huge walls of rock. Yet, if you follow the signs along the way, you will be led to a different way around this “squeeze.”

If we would just follow wise counsel, the chances are much better that we will reach our goals, instead of stumbling or getting stuck along the way.


Listen Up, Recruit!

Proverbs 4:10

“Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.”

While pondering this verse, an image of older, more experienced men came to mind; men who have “been there and done that.”

The policeman

Street weary, he is wary of a new partner to train. He knows the rookie has been taught self-defense, state laws, patrol procedures, arrest techniques, and how to drive a squad car. But what the old cop also knows is that experience can’t be learned in a classroom.

“Listen, son,” the policeman says, “and pay attention to what I tell you; and you just might see retirement.”

The soldier

Only 22, in 6 months he has seen more than 6 lifetimes of pain. A new recruit, straight out of boot camp, is sent to fill a vacated spot. The young sergeant can tell the recruit is fit, equipped, and ready to defend his country. But the veteran also knows the terrain, the trails, the smells, and the sounds that are unique to his battlefield.

“Listen up, boy!” the vet growls. “If you want to live to read your first letter from Mom, pay attention to what I tell you.”

Solomon

“Listen to me, oh my son; take hold of what I am telling you.” Can you hear the warning in his words? Do you sense he knows something his son does not? Is it possible Solomon has walked down roads his son has not yet traveled? Yes, and more than likely it was he who recorded his experiences in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Wisdom calls out to us. The message is clear: listen, and live.

Self

Yet, self has to have its own way. It chooses what feels good and cries out, “If loving you is wrong, I don’t want to be right.” Self says, “I’ll do it my way.” And with no view toward the future, self concludes life is too short to be burdened by the warnings of old fools.

So, black bands continue to be place on badges; helmets still get placed on the butts of rifles; and parents still find themselves living longer than their children. Oh, that we would listen to the voice of wisdom.

 


A Special Son

Proverbs 4:3-4

“For I was my father’s son, tender and only [beloved] in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.”

“Father’s Son”

The first thing that arrested my attention in these verses was the words “father’s son.”

Why do these words stand out so much? Could it be that Solomon was speaking as if he had been an only child? Could it be that of all the children of King David, the one who turned out well was the one who was treated special?

Solomon was not David’s only son, nor his first. Yet, Solomon grew up differently. Even before he asked for wisdom from God, he was well on the right path, unlike his brothers Absalom and Adonijah. Could it be, because of the mistakes that David had already made, he didn’t want to repeat them with Solomon? Could it be he didn’t want another son hanging from a tree?

“My Mother”

Can you imagine what kind of mother Bathsheba must have become? She evidently was not the kind of queen mother who sent her children away to be cared for by nannies. No, she evidently doted on Solomon. She must have cherished and protected him, for he was “tender” (delicate, weak) in her eyes.

Solomon was not Bathsheba’s only son, either. But if we are to understand Solomon correctly, he was definitely treated in a unique way (“only beloved”).

“And live”

Can you picture Solomon remembering the face of David? His father had already had two sons try to take over his throne, and both had died. Surely he couldn’t foret hearing his father cry, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” – (2 Samuel 18:33).

What kind of pain must have been written in the wrinkles of that broken father’s face? As Solomon remembered, did he try to pass on his wisdom in the same way?

Solomon says, “Let thine heart retain my words; keep my commandments, and live.” Was he thinking of his rebellious brothers? Could he see their bodies in his mind’s eye as he looked upon Rehoboam? Oh, if only Rehoboam had listened (See 1 Kings 3).

A Prayer

Oh, God! Am I passing on the wisdom of my godly parents? Do I take my parenting seriously? If the wisest man in the world could mess up as much as he did, what chance do I have of rearing god-fearing children? Lord, my hope is in You. Your Spirit is my strength. Let my children see You in my actions, and where I fail, blind their eyes. Give me a broken heart for my “tender and beloved.”

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