Who among us doesn’t want the best for his or her children? We want them to succeed, to mature, and to develop into competent adults one day. It’s been said that it is, “far better to render beings in your care competent, than it is to protect them.” We won’t always be around or able to protect our children. But we can render them competent to face the trials and temptations of this life, through the help of the Holy Spirit, and with direction from the Word of God. Such direction and wisdom is offered in the passage to which we will draw our attention today.
In the latter section of our passage (vs 24-25) we first draw our attention to the outcome: the father and mother of the righteous and wise child will surely rejoice and have joy in him. While our child will always be our child, he or she will not always be A child. They will not always be under our wing, and offered our daily care and protection. The optimal outcome then, would be to raise a child that brings us joy. One that our hearts can one day rejoice and have joy in. It’s wholly impossible to accomplish such a task without the direction and warnings given throughout Scripture. The “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” So often we see this in it’s very narrow definition of having a reverence and respect for God, in terms of who He is and what He is capable of. But it’s far more than that.
Wisdom cannot be attained without the fear of the Lord. And the fear of the Lord cannot be found without warning. As much as Proverbs is a book about wisdom and Godly instruction, it is coupled with warnings regarding a failure to heed such wisdom. A child cannot grow to walk in wisdom and rejoice the heart of his parents, unless he learns to fear the very real consequences of iniquity. In this case, it is the warning extended in vs 21 as to what kind of life he or she might choose. To be given wholly to pleasure, gluttony and drunkenness, is to be given over to poverty. Make no mistake that if you choose this path, your want will come as “an armed man.”
I fear that too often we labor to isolate our children so much from the world that we also keep them from seeing the very harsh realities of what a life in sin brings. This is not to say, of course, that we should want them to experience sin simply so that it’s consequences might befall them. Much the opposite! They should hear in the home, from a Godly mom and dad, exactly the kind of life that sin and it’s dredges will bring. They will be alone in the world soon enough. The Bible is given to us so that we might prepare ourselves, and them, to be the competent individuals that God wants us to be. This is wisdom! It is found in the fear of the Lord. Fear and reverence of God, and what the awful reality of life absent of His presence looks like. What path will you choose? What path will they choose?