Proverbs 29:3 – A challenge to children and their parents

familiesAs I was considering today’s devotional it occurred to me how little has changed in the world since Solomon’s writings over 3,000 years ago. We share the same concerns in our day as those addressed by Solomon in his proverbs. Granted, we are more sophisticated and enjoy the conveniences of modern technology; however, the problems of humanity are the same. Poverty, rebellion, wickedness, oppression, heartache, sorrows and immorality are ever-present. How can this be, you ask?

Times have changed, but the sinful nature of man is the same from generation to generation. All humanity shares the bloodline of Adam and bear his nature and the curse of sin (“For since by man came death…For as in Adam all die” – 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).

Today’s proverb is timeless, as is all wisdom.grief

Proverbs 29:3 – “Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.”

Solomon returns to contrasting a wise son with a foolish son. Someone might mistake Solomon’s observation of a son who loves wisdom with the more recent phenomenon of what I will describe as “perpetual students”—young adults who make going to school and pursuing degrees a career rather than the means to a career. No, this son who is a delight to his father is more than a learner—he loves and adheres to godly wisdom and counsel.  A wise son who “loveth wisdom” rejoices the heart of his father!

The contrast to a son who walks according to wisdom is the son who is a heartache to his father and walks an ungodly path where he waste his inheritance [“his substance”] in the company of the immoral.  I believe this son was a child of privilege prodigal-sonand grew up in a home of affluence. Like the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), he has no appetite for wisdom and, once free of his parent’s constraints, follows sinful pleasures until all is spent.

Sound familiar? I have observed this pattern far too often over the years.  It has become commonplace for well-meaning parents, longing for their child’s affections and desiring to keep peace in the family, to become enablers of an adult child’s waste and wantonness.

A few closing thoughts. There may be parents and grandparents reading today’s proverb who feel as though you are looking at the reflection of your home and family in a mirror.  I know the pain of disappointments hurt, but you must accept that no amount of “substance” will earn your son or daughter’s affection. At the same time, you must weigh your stewardship of the material possessions God has entrusted to you as a sacred trust. Don’t enable your children’s sins!  Love them, care for their basic needs, but don’t become an enabler of sin.

To sons or daughters reading this devotional, I challenge you to love godly wisdom, obey your parents and heed godly counsel.

Ephesians 6:1-3 – “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”