Proverbs 17:6

Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.

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Four family roles, three generations, and two reciprocal relationships are here. Can you find them? In sixteen words, God gave you a broad and precious proverb. Implied in these wonderful words is a noble and loving family, a lofty goal for every reader. Also implied are wise parents with prudent foresight and obedient children appreciating them.

This concise proverb has wide wisdom. Grandchild, grandfather, child, and father are the four family roles. There is a minimum of three generations represented. Grandfathers and their grandchildren and fathers and their children are the two reciprocal relationships. Granddaughters, grandmothers, mothers, and daughters are included by implication. Let each reader consider his/her multiple roles in realizing the blessing of this proverb.

Only wise and good families are considered here. Not all grandchildren are the crown of their grandfathers – a jeweled symbol of honor and reward. Many grandchildren are a disgrace and shame to their grandfathers. Not all fathers are the glory of their children – an object of great delight and adoring respect. Many children do not respect their fathers this way: many fathers do not deserve such respect. Does the proverb fit your family?

Only virtuous grandchildren bring grandparents joy. Only wise grandfathers consider virtuous grandchildren a blessing. Grasp the implications. Solomon commended large and extended, functional and happy, families. But he described only exceptional families. Grasp more implications. Solomon in a few words laid out many family duties.

America’s families are under attack. Children? Abort them. Marriage? Two men will do. Parents? Defy them or divorce them. Grandparents? Euthanasia will ease them out. Fathers? Unnecessary. Grandchildren? They only want my assets. Children? A burden and trouble that steal my time. Marriage? We can have sex without it. A family? Not with my career. A big family? We cannot afford that today. Mothers? The daycare is better.

God invented the family (Gen 1:27). He started with marriage, between one man and one woman for life (Gen 2:18,21-25; Matt 19:1-6). He added children as a blessing and for productivity (Ps 107:41; 127:3-5; 128:1-6). He told grandfathers and great grandfathers to have a role in their families (Job 42:16; Ps 78:1-8; Joel 1:1-3; II Tim 1:3-5).

God curses people with bad family relationships (Mal 4:5-6). But He blesses and walks with those with good family relationships (Luke 1:17). They are a people prepared for the Lord. Righteous relationships are essential for His blessings (Mal 2:10-16; I Pet 3:7).

Dear reader, what are you? Parent? Child? Grandparent? Grandchild? All four? Have you fulfilled your God-given role to promote a great and glorious family? Is your family a glory to God and a living testimony of the truth? Or do you consider your family a burden? You have a wonderful opportunity to both crown yourself and be glorious.

Fathers are to train their children (Eph 6:4). Children are to obey and honor their parents (Eph 6:1-3). Fathers are to secure an inheritance for their children (Pr 13:22; 19:14; II Cor 12:14). Grandchildren are to rise up and honor their grandparents (Pr 16:31; Lev 19:32). Grandfathers should oversee it all to fulfill their great calling and leave a heritage.

Is there bitterness in any family relationships? Have you fulfilled your duties toward all members? Have you forgiven all offences of those before and after you? Are you making daily efforts to promote a godly, happy family? Is your family a down-line of virtue and godliness? Is it growing in quality and glory? Are you a family peacemaker?

Old man or old woman, what investment will you make today in your children’s children? They will only crown you now and after you are gone, if you guide, train, and warn them regularly in matters of godliness and character. At this stage in life you should have more time and wisdom to impart to them than at any other.

Father or mother, are you the glory of your children? If not, why not? You only deserve such esteem if you are earning it daily, which is done by holy example and compassionate care of their whole lives, with an obvious eye to their future. If you are too busy or above such mundane tasks, you are a hateful fool. You are squandering God’s gift of souls to you, which you brought into this world, and you will pay dearly.

Child or grandchild, do you crown your grandparents well? You should be living a noble life to honor and reward them. You should learn more about them before they are gone, and hear the wisdom you will not acquire for many years. Do you glory in your parents? It is the first commandment with promise, and what precious promises they are, for you to honor your parents (Eph 6:2-3). Soon you will want this very treatment.

By combining faithful lives, loving care, and wise training, the family is a truly great opportunity to leave a godly influence in the earth. And the pleasure and comfort of a happy family far exceeds any other aspect of old age (Pr 23:15-16,24; Ps 127:3-5; 128:1-6; Ruth 4:13-22). Wise husbands and wives will have and promote quality families.

True believers are God’s children by gracious adoption (I John 3:1), and He is truly your glory, and well deserving of it (Rom 11:33-36). The Ancient of Days sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem you, and He calls you the children that God gave Him (Heb 2:13). What a glorious family relationship you have with your great God! Live like a child of God!

The Lord Jesus Christ is your brother, and you are part of the family of God (Eph 3:14-15). You have many more parents, siblings, and children than your family tree shows (Mark 10:28-30). After you have fulfilled your duties toward those in your home, fulfill them as well in your church and related churches (I Thess 4:9-10; Heb 13:1-3).