Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Wise Father's Advice

A Father’s Instruction

Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs as a legacy of wise advice to his children.
It is interesting to note that even though this book was written about three thousand years ago it is as up-to-date wise today as it was the day Solomon penned the words.

In the first chapter of Proverbs Solomon is addressing a young son who is just stepping out from the safety and protection of his parent’s home into the world outside.
Solomon’s heart desire was no different than that of godly parents today who want the best for their children, hoping that when they leave home they will build on the foundation they as parents have laid, that they will live by the moral and spiritual standards they have been taught.
”My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother.” (1:8)
It seems it was no different then than now… children tend to cast off the ‘wisdom’ of their parents and insist on making their own mistakes. They so often see their parents’ ‘rules’ as a pain and out of touch with reality instead of an “ornamental and beautifying chain about the neck”(1:9)

The wise father recognizes the appeal of the world and warns his children against the danger. There really is nothing new under the sun.
The lure of temptation was as inviting in Solomon’s day as it is in ours.
While his advice is relevant for our children today , it is also a good reminder for us as adults to recognize the deceptive glitz of the tempting offers of the world we live in.

The first pitfall is the fact that it is so alluring. See in verse 10 Solomon puts his finger on it… “If sinners ENTICE you”
It sounds good, it looks like fun, it feels harmless.
Lets try it, everyone is doing it.
A powerful ‘hook’ that entices and lures its vitims into the pit is the need we all have –the desire for acceptance, significance and security.
When a child is tempted to take drugs are these not the things offered him?
And even for us as adults do we not still want and need to feel included and valued? Think about the last time you were tempted to compromise your standards – did the temptation not involve to some degree the promise that these needs would be satisfied if you partook of the offered morsel or with held if you didn’t?

I remember a night we invited to a young Christan couple’s home to watch a movie in their new ‘media room’. The movie turned out to be filled with offensive language. Had we been at home the movie would have been quickly turned off and returned to the video store. But because we were in someone else’s home we did not feel it was our call to tell them what to watch or not watch, we did not want to offend them by being ‘holier than thou’. What they thought of us was important to us. So while we commented on the language we stayed and watched.
I wished we hadn’t -- and in talking to the couple some time later they felt too that the movie should simply have been turned off. Had we taken the initiative of saying the language in this movie was unacceptable they would have agreed and we would all have been spared being subjected to the violence against our spirits.

The second thing Solomon warns his son about - the empty promises of ‘wicked men’ is found in 1:13,14. Do not listen to those who say, “We shall find all kinds of precious wealth. We shall fill our houses with spoil: Throw in your lot with us. We shall all have one purse.”
Solomon warns his son against ‘get rich quick schemes’. Seems they had them even then. How often have your been tempted by someone to join in some activity that offers some reward or business deal that promises big dividends with little or no effort on your part?
All we have to do is listen to the news or daily conversation and we don’t have to listen long before we hear of someone’s hope of personal gain dashed .
We have all experienced the consequences of not heeding our modern adage, “Buyer beware!” or “If it sounds too good to be true , it probably is!”

It is surprising to read the intensity with which Solomon warns his son to stay away from violence….”My son do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path, for their feet run to evil and they make haste to shed blood...”(vs.16) and they “lurk secretly for the innocent without cause.” (vs. 11)

What is there in human nature that is attracted to violence? It seems the difference over the generations and years is not in human nature but in the limits a given society will allow violence to be expressed.
I am always horrified when I walk up and down store aisles of computer games displays. I know the children today are all obsessed with playing them but it takes me a long time to find one I consider suitable or desirable to buy for my granddaughters.
We are surrounded by a ‘violent’ society. Solomon warned his son against following the ‘violent’ crowd, because they themselves will pay the price, they will be caught in their own violence. “They lay in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives … So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain, it takes away the life of its owner.” (vs18,19)
How do we keep our children innocent today? How do we as adults keep our eyes and ears from being inundated by ‘violence’?

Solomon understood all the things that appeal to not only young people but to human nature in general. So his instruction is good for all of us to think about.
His words are inspired not by man’s wisdom but God’s.
How remarkable is it that we have written out in practical words we can understand and apply to our daily lives , the wisdom of God.

If we choose to live by it then we will be a partaker of the promise in Prov.1:33.

“But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure without fear of evil”

1 comment:

truth said...

I really enjoyed this post, very thoughtful. Your story about the movie was a good reminder. So many times I was accused of being the holier than thou. I'd back up then, and compromise-leaving others with the wrong impression. Wisdom is all important. We all need a wise Father's advice.