Solomon follows an exhortation to his son to embrace wisdom (Proverbs 4:7-9) with a challenge for him to humble his heart and embrace his father’s instructions. Solomon writes:
Proverbs 4:10 – “Hear [obey, hearken], O my son, and receive [lay hold of, take, seize] my sayings [words; speeches; answer]; and the years of thy life shall be many [increase].”
Notice that Solomon challenges his son with a longing seeded in every human heart—long life! The 5th commandment is the object of Solomon’s instruction to his son and repeats the same promise God gave to Israel’s youth.
Exodus 20:12 – “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
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.”
A loving father and mother look past the difficult task of teaching and correcting their children and see its reward—a child who will enjoy a long fruitful life. A child who obeys and honors their parents will generally enjoy a long life, while a son or daughter who rebels, refuses instruction and rejects their father’s counsel will often die an early death.
In Proverbs 4:11-12, Solomon challenges his son to follow the path he was taught from his youth, promising he will experience God’s blessings and protection.
Proverbs 4:11-12 – “I have taught[instructed; pointed; directed] thee in the way [course; road] of wisdom [skill and knowledge to make right choices]; I have led [guided] thee in right paths[paths of righteousness]. 12 When thou goest [depart; take a journey from home], thy steps shall not be straitened [distressed; filled with obstacles]; and when thou runnest [hasten], thou shalt not stumble[weak; tottering; feeble in one’s legs].”
What a beautiful promise! How many parents will stand at a fresh grave and weep over a son or daughter that rebelled against godly instruction and died an early death? How many parents live to regret they failed to instruct and correct their children when their hearts were young and tender?
I close with an observation that is becoming all to real—our nation is beginning to reap a whirlwind of trouble because parents have abdicated responsibility to teach, instruct and train their children to follow righteousness. America’s youth are filing through our court system in record numbers and the responsibility of this lawlessness belongs to the parents who failed to instruct their children and a liberal society that is delusional enough to think there is inherent goodness in man—there is not! Every child is born a sinner and the bent of his heart is to do evil (Romans 3:10, 23).
21st century parents, following in the footsteps of their parents, are miserable failures when it comes to bearing their responsibility to direct their children’s hearts, corral their spirit and correct their attitudes. Rebellion has become symptomatic of youth in our day and the result is a spirit of lawlessness that plagues our communities and nation—from the White House to the County Court House—our society has no respect for the rule of law and order. The fresh graves of America’s youth are the evidence that God’s Truth is sure!
Deuteronomy 4:40 – “Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith