A Father’s Instruction
Proverbs 4; I die daily devotional.
2 For I give you sound teaching;
Do not abandon my instruction.
3 When I was a son to my father,
Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
4 Then he taught me and said to me,
“Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
Jesus is the only begotten Son of God as testified in several places of Scripture (link). So as we read the verse—when I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, then he taught me and said to me—I think we can make sense of who is being addressed here, specifically. It is the essence and nature of God within the posterity (lineage) of Solomon manifested to be Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior of the world.
Now, speaking for myself, of course, by what I’ve observed in Scripture; Jesus was chosen since before the foundation of the world just as the bondservant and apostle Peter teaches us in his first letter; 1 Peter 1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
And so the wisdom I receive through today’s devotional is that the Holy Spirit given me and all those who have the same faith, as promised, is the spiritual essence and nature of Jesus Christ within us to teach us about the truth.
“A son to my father … the only son in the sight of my mother“—meaning the Holy Spirit within the line of Solomon as Jesus Christ the Son of God, is what I perceive to mean the spiritual experience of relationship between myself and God—that is reconciled through the body and blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.
So although I can have very human questions and doubts about the meaning of life; I can simultaneously experience a confidence that exists by faith in God’s promise of His Word that testifies of His will within me, that indeed, I am a son of His. No person of sin—of which Jesus is without—can judge against that sacred truth; that according to the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am taught by the Spirit of God the resurrection from the dead and eternal life.
Matthew Henry (P4-V3) Commentary
II. The instructions he gives them. Observe,
1. How he came by these instructions; he had them from his parents, and teaches his children the same that they taught him, v. 3, 4. Observe,
(1.) His parents loved him, and therefore taught him: I was my father’s son. David had many sons, but Solomon was his son indeed, as Isaac is called (Gen. 17:19) and for the same reason, because on him the covenant was entailed. He was his father’s darling, above any of his children. God had a special kindness for Solomon (the prophet called him Jedidiah, because the Lord loved him, 2 Sa. 12:25), and for that reason David had a special kindness for him, for he was a man after God’s own heart. If parents may ever love one child better than another, it must not be till it plainly appears that God does so. He was tender, and only beloved, in the sight of his mother. Surely there was a manifest reason for making such a distinction when both the parents made it. Now we see how they showed their love; they catechised him, kept him to his book, and held him to a strict discipline. Though he was a prince, and heir-apparent to the crown, yet they did not let him live at large; nay, therefore they tutored him thus. And perhaps David was the more strict with Solomon in his education because he had seen the ill effects of an undue indulgence in Adonijah, whom he had not crossed in any thing (1 Ki. 1:6), as also in Absalom.
(2.) What his parents taught him he teaches others. Observe,
[1.] When Solomon was grown up he not only remembered, but took a pleasure in repeating, the good lessons his parents taught him when he was a child. He did not forget them, so deep were the impressions they made upon him. He was not ashamed of them, such a high value had he for them, nor did he look upon them as the childish things, the mean things, which, when he became a man, a king, he should put away, as a disparagement to him; much less did he repeat them: as some wicked children have done, to ridicule them, and make his companions merry with them, priding himself that he had got clear from grave lessons and restraints.
[2.] Though Solomon was a wise man himself, and divinely inspired, yet, when he was to teach wisdom, he did not think it below him to quote his father and to make use of his words. Those that would learn well, and teach well, in religion, must not affect new-found notions and new-coined phrases, so as to look with contempt upon the knowledge and language of their predecessors; if we must keep to the good old way, why should we scorn the good old words? Jer. 6:16.
[3.] Solomon, having been well educated by his parents, thought himself thereby obliged to give his children a good education, the same that his parents had given him; and this is one way in which we must requite our parents for the pains they took with us, even by showing piety at home, 1 Tim. 5:4. They taught us, not only that we might learn ourselves, but that we might teach our children, the good knowledge of God, Ps. 78:6. And we are false to a trust if we do not; for the sacred deposit of religious doctrine and law was lodged in our hands with a charge to transmit it pure and entire to those that shall come after us, 2 Tim. 2:2.
[4.] Solomon enforces his exhortations with the authority of his father David, a man famous in his generation upon all accounts. Be it taken notice of, to the honour of religion, that the wisest and best men in every age have been most zealous, not only for the practice of it themselves, but for the propagating of it to others; and we should therefore continue in the things which we have learned, knowing of whom we have learned them, 2 Tim. 3:14.