Proverbs 4:3

For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

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Children are a blessing, but they bring responsibilities. If a man impregnates a woman, and the woman gives birth to a baby, and they raise the child, they have done nothing more than animals – they have reproduced their species. A true father and mother will love each child. And they will make sure they carefully teach wisdom to each child.

Solomon’s parents were David and Bathsheba. God loved Solomon, and so did David. God chose Solomon from all of David’s sons to be the next king of Israel. Solomon knew his father especially loved him – “I was my father’s son” – and his father taught him many things (Pr 4:1-9). David’s advice at Solomon’s coronation was glorious (I Chron 28:1-21), and his deathbed advice was also very wise (I Kings 2:1-9; II Sam 23:1-7).

Bathsheba also loved Solomon very much. She tenderly loved him every minute of his life, even though she had four sons. The greatest men have such mothers – women who love them dearly and do anything and everything to prepare them for manhood. Bathsheba also taught Solomon (Pr 1:8; 6:20; 31:1), and she appealed to David for him, when it appeared the crown might be given to a sibling competitor (I Kings 1:11-40).

Solomon reasoned from the great love his parents had for him to explain the motive for their instruction of him (Pr 4:3-9), for he wanted his children to understand his great desire to teach them as well (Pr 4:1-2). The book of Proverbs is primarily Solomon’s fatherly advice to his children, especially his son. And the practical application of parental love in teaching wisdom is the lesson you are to learn from this proverb.

Animals give birth. Animals nurse their young. Animals bring home the bacon. Animals teach their young to survive. Animals assist in a family kill. Animals die and leave a family lair or den to their young. But you are not an animal! If your parenting is primarily reproducing, feeding, clothing, sending them to school, and supporting them financially, you have done nothing more than what animals do. And you have done nothing more than what pagan parents do for their children. God has charged you with much more.

A child is an eternal soul, on loan from its Creator. You must teach each child God’s wisdom – the wisdom of Proverbs and the Bible. Homework is not wisdom – the vast majority of it is simply drivel and twaddle. Paying their way through a university may be worse – you are corrupting their minds away from God’s wisdom. A liberal arts degree is a license to insane thinking. Get real! Teach them something of value! David said, “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD” (Ps 34:11).

David and Bathsheba loved Solomon, so they taught him. Do you love your children? It has nothing to do with sentimental feelings and providing food, clothing, shelter, and education for them. Are you preparing them for moral success before God and good men by teaching them the fear of the Lord and wisdom of God contained in this very book?

Father, this is not a choice. Forget your physical or mental tiredness after a day of work. The parts of every day may be seen as training opportunities. Moses commanded Israel’s fathers to diligently teach their children, when they were sitting in their houses, walking by the way, rising up in the morning, and going to bed at night (Deut 6:4-9). If you fulfill this duty carefully and sincerely, you will be the glory of your children (Pr 17:6).

How serious is the matter? Life or death or hell! Proper training can save your child from a premature death or a dysfunctional life of hell on earth (Pr 23:13-14). Neglect of this training will bring you perpetual shame (Pr 29:15). Parent, you control the future destiny of your child in this world (Pr 22:6,15). What kind of a destiny will you give them today?

How serious is the matter? Fathers are commanded to teach wisdom to their children (Eph 6:4), and widows should not be supported if they did not keep this key part of being a mother (I Tim 5:9-10). Great women take this job seriously, and they have wonderful children, as Samuel and Timothy (I Sam 1:24-28; II Tim 1:3-5; 3:15). A woman keeping this duty carefully and sincerely will be praised by her children (Pr 31:28).

Do you love your children? Then you will reprove and spank them, to save them from folly, trouble, and destruction in their lives (Pr 3:12; 13:24; 19:18; 29:17). Do it now, while there is hope. Do it betimes, before they learn bad habits. Do not spare for their crying. The God of heaven declares that you hate your children, if you are not engaged in serious efforts to teach them the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of the Bible.

This matter does not stop when your children move out, for grandchildren are also a responsibility (Ps 71:18; 78:1-8; Joel 1:1-3). They are only the crown of old men, if they walk in the way of righteousness and wisdom (Pr 17:6). A foolish son is the calamity and shame of his whole family (Pr 10:1; 17:21,25; 19:13), and a foolish grandson is partly the fault of a lazy grandfather, who did not train his son to be a godly father.

The world’s idea of child training is Benjamin Spock, goofy mobiles, bottle feeding, Dr. Seuss, Sesame Street, forced busing to the public zoo, MTV, a smart phone at ten, dating at fourteen, a car at fifteen, an all-expense-paid-four-year-party at a daycare for the hormonally-crazed in another state, and a gala wedding to some person they “love.”

Their idea of education is a scope and sequence devised by God-hating, truth-despising, parent-ridiculing, Bible-deriding, prayer-rejecting, immoral, degenerate descendants of monkeys. Brainwashing them for 20 years from K-3 to a master’s degree, they graduate the most morally bankrupt and socially dysfunctional generation the world has ever seen.

Do you love your child? Do not measure your affection by the standards of this bestial generation; measure your love by the standard of God’s holy and inspired Scriptures. If you have merely raised them and tenderly provided for them, you have done nothing more than gerbils and skunks do for their young. Learn the lesson of wisdom here. Teach them the fear of the LORD, the wisdom of Proverbs, the glory of Jesus Christ, the precious grace of God in the salvation of His elect, and the life-changing hope of eternity.

Have you had such parents yourself? Then bless and praise the God of heaven and thank your parents if they are still living. God had great mercy on you in giving you good parents, and you should thank Him and them. His choice was by pure grace and kindness, for He neither consulted you nor them. Praise His glorious and sovereign name!

If you did not have such parents, thank Him for this proverb and break the cycle of ungodly parenting and dysfunctional families in your family tree. You do not have to repeat history and send your children under-loved and poorly prepared into life. You can start a new family tree and create a living illustration of love and wisdom in your family.

There is only one perfect parent – God the Father. Viewing the orphanage of sinful mankind, He could not find even one that understood or sought Him (Ps 14:1-3). So He chose to adopt some by pure mercy, paid for them by the death of His Son, created a new nature in them by His Spirit, and prepared an eternal inheritance in heaven for them (Matt 25:34; Rom 8:29-39; Eph 1:3-12). What is the gospel? The good news of this adoption!