Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life
Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.
Although today’s words of wisdom from Solomon, as stated in the NIV Bible, begin with a heading of A WARNING AGAINST ADULTERY, we will be focusing on the first few verses of this passage of scripture, that would keep a person from falling into adultery, and then have a chance to listen to Solomon next time, speak more on warning us against adultery. So, let’s top up our coffees and get started…
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.
In the previous devotion, Solomon shared his wisdom regarding attributes that commandments 5-10 spoke against. This week he begins with the importance of Commandment Four, obeying our parents, which is able to keep us from falling into sinful deeds, such as the deed stated in the remainder of the passage. Oh how beautiful it would be if all children followed the words of Solomon towards listening to their parents. Personally, our household would have been filled with continual joy and bliss. But life isn’t like that, is it?
The sinfulness of our children is clear, and despite parents’ best intentions, children battle with temptation and weakness, just like we all do. Sometimes we put such unrealistic expectations upon our children. Don’t get me wrong. We should absolutely raise them with the Ten Commandments and set boundaries and teach them to our children through our words and, even more importantly, our actions. However, perhaps it is even just as beautiful, the opportunities parents have to extend God’s mercy and grace, forgiveness and unconditional love.
I have found that in those moments, when God’s grace and forgiveness are extended, our children got a closer glimpse of God and the depth of his sacrifice and love on their behalf. They knew well the end results that could have so easily been theirs- and the certain consequences of their actions that would still occur, as stated above in Solomon’s example above- but they saw a love that was not based on what they did or did not do, but a love that was theirs no matter what came their way and a trust that enabled them to confide their sins and receive a forgiveness and peace, comfort and strength, that was greater than the guilt they felt from any sin they could commit.
So yes, parents raise up your children in the ways of the Lord. Be diligent in teaching his commandments, but also in extending his grace and mercy. And children, follow in the commands that God has placed before you, especially as your parents raise you to know and live by them, but when you fall, and you will fall, may you have the assurance that they too will be there to extend God’s grace to you. Then, finally, seek Him, the one who created and redeemed you, knows you and desires to walk with you every moment of every day, even when your parents can’t.
Prayer: Dear Lord, be with all parents to know you and your commands for the good of their earthly life, and to teach them to their children. Be with all children, as they struggle with temptation and their own sinfulness, to seek your forgiveness and grace directly and through the unconditional love of their parents. Be with all parent and child relationships that together they understand each other’s sinfulness, but also the reality of your love for each of them that took you to the cross, and paid the price for all those sins. In Your Name we pray. AMEN!