We all have experienced broken hearts over a child that has gone astray in some way, either through poor decision choices or rebellious spirits. As a parent we are especially vulnerable to the “broken heart syndrome” and often is heard: if only, if only. How then can we raise up children who will walk the talk and not stray from the God way? The first is to start early implanting God’s Word. Secondly, mirror for our children the right path following Deut 6 “teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up.” Thirdly, stay on our knees for them [Eph 6, Col 4, 1Thess 5 and more]. But suppose after all of that they still slip into the enemy’s territory, what do you as a parent do? First, hide God’s Word in your heart and use it whenever you pray and whenever you share. God’s Word will not return void: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void,” [Is].
How to raise a child with God’s Word within that will be lived without comes directly from Prov 6 in today’s reading. “The advice in this section provides a good example of what prudence is. A prudent person is one who is capable of exercising sound judgment in practical matters. He or she is cautious and discreet in conduct, is circumspect, and is sensible.” [Dr. Constable]
- Vs 1-5 Teach and show about the dangers of being unequally yoked with those whose heart is not aligned with God’s.
- Vs 6-11 Assign chores to teach teamwork and responsibility early on. Allow consequences and rewards to be visible and tangible.
- Vs 12-15 Teach how to discern people’s unsavory qualities as well as those whose lives mirror godliness.
- Vs 16-19 Observe and teach what qualities God hates as well the contrasting qualities God loves. In particular note vs 19 about the results when those qualities of ungodliness arise which is discord and strife in contrast to what Paul taught “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.” [Rom 12]
- Vs 20 and Ex 20 Honoring thy parents comes with a promise as well as a consequence for dishonoring them
- Vs 21 – 23 The whole purpose of this is that God’s Word is like a flashlight and the rebukes of discipline are like a roadmap.
Beloved, we who are parents have much to glean from this chapter and for those of who have raised children it is a guide to share truths that might fall upon fallow ground when a child wants to not follow or listen to a parent. Wisdom begins when one fears the Lord and wisdom exercised is found when one heeds the rules the Word offers. May you this day find encouragement as you ponder each truth.