A Father’s Instruction
Proverbs 4; I die daily devotional.
3:35 The wise will inherit honor,
But fools display dishonor.
1 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,
2 For I give you sound teaching;
Do not abandon my instruction.
When I was reading up on how to inherit honor throughout multiple verses in Scripture, the one that stood out for me was Proverb 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. Because the way in which I’ve acquired wisdom is not as though from my own eyes, but revering with the deepest respect—the Eyes of Him who always sees, who sees me at the core; my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
[Father in heaven, Hollowed be Your Name; instruct me as a son with those who follow Jesus as we give attention to Your instruction, that You might grant us understanding. Teach us Father, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen]
Although I think of Solomon writing these words, “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, For I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction.”; my focus is on the Spirit of God instructing me as a son to this wisdom given Solomon during his time (when Solomon probably taught)—
“If he wrote Proverbs in his 40-50 age range (his 12th to 22nd years of reign), Rehoboam, his oldest son, would have been 13-23 years of age. All of his brothers would have been younger. If Solomon wrote Proverbs a little later, it would seem to contradict his life style in which he was drawn away from the Lord by his many wives. Therefore, I think that we are looking at Solomon writing this instruction for his children no later than this time. Thus, the ages of his children would be anywhere from 5-25 years of age. Just about everything we read in Proverbs would match this age range and also would keep the mother involved as well in their training (something mentioned again and again).”Dr. Barrick
When I think about the wisdom of Solomon; I think about who is greater than Solomon (Mat 12:42; Luke 11:31); when I think about who is greater than Solomon; I think about Jesus; when I think about Jesus; I think about our Father (John 14:8-10).
So from my perspective, our Father is instructing us by these proverbs through the Spirit of Solomon manifested in the flesh as Jesus Christ, the image and likeness of our Father; I might have a wrong understanding, but I understand Jesus of Nazareth to be the very tangible actuality to the divine nature and essence of God our Father and the gift of the Holy Spirit that is presently instructing us who believe in Jesus.
What I find interesting about Solomon as the wisest man—considering yesterday’s devotional—is that he became a fool by being drawn away from the Lord with his many wives and concubines, and if the wisest man became a fool, who am I, or who are we, that God would grant us His Spirit of discernment by disciplining us as His children. Are we not truly blessed to experience such intimacy with God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord?
When the things of God are to be taught precept must be upon precept, and line upon line, not only because the things themselves are of great worth and weight, but because men’s minds, at the best, are unapt to admit them and commonly prejudiced against them; and therefore Solomon, in this chapter, with a great variety of expression and a pleasant powerful flood of divine eloquence, inculcates the same things that he had pressed upon us in the foregoing chapters. Here is,
- I. An earnest exhortation to the study of wisdom, that is, of true religion and godliness, borrowed from the good instructions which his father gave him, and enforced with many considerable arguments (v. 1-13).
- II. A necessary caution against bad company and all fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (v. 14-19).
- III. Particular directions for the attaining and preserving of wisdom, and bringing forth the fruits of it (v. 20-27).
So plainly, so pressingly, is the case laid before us, that we shall be for ever inexcusable if we perish in our folly.
Here we have,
- I. The invitation which Solomon gives to his children to come and receive instruction from him (v. 1, 2): Hear, you children, the instruction of a father. That is,
- 1. “Let my own children, in the first place, receive and give good heed to those instructions which I set down for the use of others also.” Note, Magistrates and ministers, who are entrusted with the direction of larger societies, are concerned to take a more than ordinary care for the good instruction of their own families; from this duty their public work will by no means excuse them. This charity must begin at home, though it must not end there; for he that has not his children in subjection with all gravity, and does not take pains in their good education, how shall he do his duty as he ought to the church of God? 1 Tim. 3:4, 5. The children of those that are eminent for wisdom and public usefulness ought to improve in knowledge and grace in proportion to the advantages they derive from their relation to such parents. Yet it may be observed, to save both the credit and the comfort of those parents whose children do not answer the hopes that arose from their education, that Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, was far from being either one of the wisest or one of the best. We have reason to think that thousands have got more good by Solomon’s proverbs than his own son did, to whom they seem to have been dedicated.
- 2. Let all young people, in the days of their childhood and youth, take pains to get knowledge and grace, for that is their learning age, and then their minds are formed and seasoned. He does not say, My children, but You children. We read but of one son that Solomon had of his own; but (would you think it?) he is willing to set up for a schoolmaster, and to teach other people’s children! for at that age there is most hope of success; the branch is easily bent when it is young and tender.
- 3. Let all that would receive instruction come with the disposition of children, though they be grown persons. Let all prejudices be laid aside, and the mind be as white paper. let them be dutiful, tractable, and self-diffident, and take the word as the word of a father, which comes both with authority and with affection. We must see it coming from God as our Father in heaven, to whom we pray, from whom we expect blessings, the Father of our spirits, to whom we ought to be in subjection, that we may live. We must look upon our teachers as our fathers, who love us and seek our welfare; and therefore though the instruction carry in it reproof and correction, for so the word signifies, yet we must bid it welcome.