I have observed good men and women, many whom I loved and respected in the Lord, make decisions that take them down a path contrary to much that they purported to love and believe in their youth. For many, it was not that they departed wholly from the Christian faith, but they turned…turned from their vows, convictions, and fellowships. How do Christians who appear strong in their faith and convictions come to choose paths that run contrary to their professions?
I believe the answer to that dilemma is evidenced in King Solomon’s life when we read: “Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places“ (1 Kings 3:3). Solomon was a double minded man (James 1:8); he lacked spiritual integrity with God and before God’s people. In his youth, he modeled values that should be characteristic of God’s people–a heart that loves the Lord and a passion for obeying God’s Law; however, he allowed a liberty in his life that would be a spiritual cancer for him, his family and Israel–he disobeyed the Law and offered forbidden sacrifices.
We are privileged to have the record of the wisdom and insight God imparted to Solomon in the Book of Proverbs (1 Kings 3:9-10; 4:29-31); however, we would be amiss to not acknowledge that his liberties with heathen wives and their gods scarred his life and home. Did God in His grace bless Solomon? Absolutely; however, he proved to be the kind of father that challenged his son to, “Do as I say, not as I do!” and that lack of integrity followed Solomon and his sons to their graves.
Our study in the Book of Proverbs gives us the privilege of pondering the wisdom and counsel of a man whose wisdom was only exceeded by Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:42). Let’s focus briefly on the opening proverb of chapter 10.
Proverbs 10:1 – “…A wise son maketh a glad father [the father loves to brag]: but a foolish son is the heaviness [grief] of his mother.”
Solomon states what every parent knows…a son or daughter who evidences godly wisdom and exercises good judgment fills the heart of a parent with joy. By contrast, a foolish son [one who is unteachable, disobedient, silly and immature] is a great sorrow to his mother and father. The contrast of a proud father and a weeping mother is provoking. Perhaps the father of the foolish son was stoic, silent, at a loss to console the mother whose heart grieved day and night for the wayward son of her womb. Her distress rushes over her like the waves of the ocean and she cannot be comforted apart from resting in the Lord and, like the father of the prodigal son, never giving up hope (Luke 15:11-24).
In a later proverb Solomon challenged his son, “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28). In ancient times, a man would mark the physical boundaries of his land by heaping a pile of stones on the corners of his property. Thieves could rob a man of his physical property by moving the stones that marked the boundary lines of his inheritance. The “ancient landmarks” Solomon referred to in Proverbs 22:28 were not physical, but spiritual: Spiritual laws, vows and convictions. How many Christian fathers and mothers have led their family astray from the vows and convictions they once professed? How many parents have idly watched as a double minded son or daughter charted a spiritual course that would inevitably become their heartache? How many foolish sons and daughters have ignored, uprooted and disavowed the spiritual boundaries and convictions that served their fathers and mothers well?
Christian parents long to see their children make wise choices; however, they must teach and model their faith and convictions. Your adult children may disavow the spiritual landmarks in your life, but they do so at their own risk and ultimately your sorrow.
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.”