Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
God uses the words "My son," 23 times in the Book of Proverbs. By this God stresses that instruction to the son is to be personal and not left solely to others. Too many times fathers delegate to others instruction of their children in lieu of personal involvement.
Active or Reactive Training
Some parents depend on the daycare, the Sunday School, the church, the Christian school and television to teach their children. They rely heavily upon institutional instruction, and in doing so they neglect personal instruction of their children. As though they were on instructional welfare, they cease being actively involved in personal instruction. They adopt the "Let someone else do it" attitude and become reactive teachers instead of active teachers. Instead of leading their children, they follow them and then correct them after they fail to meet the parent's unstated or untaught standards. Training up a child in the way that he should go, involves the active narrowing of a child, but by neglect, some instead allow him to broaden and then by reactive correction they try to narrow him. Instead of being the leader for their children, they are simply a prodder or provoker. Is it not more productive and stable for a child to follow a steady leader than to try to comprehend which way a prodder from behind wants him to go?
Prisons are full of examples of children who have been left to themselves until society could no longer bear them. Their parents, who have betrayed them, only entered into instruction in hopes of some peace and quiet in the home. The scriptures know nothing of this kind of hit or miss reactive training. A scriptural father is a teaching father who teaches his son discernment and judgment not only to avoid the pitfalls of youth, but also to become a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. The importance of any instruction can only be communicated by the father's direct participation in the instruction. A child even wants his fatherís blessing on instruction given by others. A child comes to know what is important to the father or the mother not by default, but by personal instruction. Our fast paced culture, is an enemy of this participation.
Leave It To Others
Like ready made frozen dinners, why not just delegate this to others, while we relax and simply try to have pleasure with our children. The answer to this "why" for the Christian comes from God's book which provides answers to all the questions of life.
It is paramount that the father and the mother participate directly in the training of the child. Biblical training demands that the father have a vision for the child. It often seems that carmakers take more care in building a car than Christians take in building a child. Many times we yield the right and responsibility to train our children to others, who couldn't care less about what our children become! Do television producers care about what your child becomes? No, and no automobile maker would dare allow a novice to install random automobile components not fitted for their vision of the finished product.
What About You?
Do you have a vision for your child? What do you picture your God-given little baby doing in twenty or thirty years? If you want that picture to become reality, there must be a taking of the child aside and acting upon the child, not only reacting but actively training. As a Christian that active training demands imparting of the Word of God by word and by deed. It demands teaching the fear of the Lord, reading the scriptures to the child and expounding the sense of the Word. It involves having serious principled conversations at the dining table and instruction in the Word of God as a normal part in the childís life.
What results did Solomon promise in the early verses of Proverbs, this wonderful child training book. The positive results of these teachings will be to know wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, subtlety, discretion, a hearing ear, increasing learning, and understanding proverbs. What a resource God has given us, but with that resource goes the responsibility of following it.
Who Is Responsible?
In today's world where can a child get the right kind of instruction? Can you as a father or a mother completely entrust that teaching to others. I don't believe even the Christian School or the church can have a vision for your individual child.
The direction is up to the father. He must train up the child! God will hold him accountable, not the Christian School or the church which are simply helpers. He must impart early the foundational truth that knowledge of God can be given only to those who fear God. Father, as a God fearing man, by personal knowledge of the scriptures and seeking God's will for your child's life, you are to have the vision for training your child.
"My son, hear the instruction of thy father. My son, my instruction is designed to realize the vision God has given me for you! What I put into you is limited, narrowing as an arrow, and aimed at success in bringing to reality my vision for you according to God's Word and will. My instruction is solely for your benefit, without hidden motives, that you may grow in the Lord and serve Him with all your heart."
Proverbs 1:8, My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
God tells us in Genesis One that in creating man in his own image he created them male and female. As God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one so must the man and the woman who become one flesh in marriage be one. The home, where a man and woman are one, is the place where Godís image can be most clearly demonstrated. It is most clearly demonstrated in a godly home where the husband loves his wife and the wife reverences her husband.
This proverbís instruction is the standard of the Word of God. God has standards, not a variety of standards that are to fit every situation. Situation ethics are the worldís way and that is why the world is in confusion. We are so quick to condemn todayís alternate life style perversions but what about the alternate life styles we practice in the home when we do not obey the Word of God? What about the desire for equality in the home where the clarity of the role of the man and the woman is lost? What about the alternate life style where the woman does not recognize the authority of the man. What about the husband who does not love his wife as Christ loved the church? Are those perversions too near to what takes place in our own homes to consider? Is the condemnation of the perversions of the world a diversion from our own lack of obedience to the Word of God? What about the beam in our own eye?
Jesus Christ is THE WAY. Your home may not be as it should be but you are to aim to be in the Way regardless of your situation. Single women are to know this instruction should the Lord bring a husband into their lives . Those who are married to a partner who cares little for the Word of God are to obey the Word of God at all costs. If the cost of that obedience is the loss of that partner, so be it! We all have to stand before God!
Young men must seek a women who yields to the Lordís instruction. The vow of obedience to her husband is real and not to be taken lightly as so happens much of the time. Two people lying to each other can often be found at most weddings as many vows are just spoken words but not from the heart. Young men must know that they are to love their wives even as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Fathers and mothers who band together as one and believe Godís word have the Holy Spirit to bring them into conformance with the Word.
Hearing the instruction of the father means he is to be the law giver and the mother is to insure that the son obeys the law. Motherís work in teaching the word of the father on earth is much like the work of the Holy Spirit teaching the Word of our Heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit does not speak of himself but only speaks that which he was given of the Father, so should the mother speak to the son that which the father on earth speaks. As the Holy Spirit has no agenda of his own, neither should the mother have an agenda of her own for the son. Her law is built from the word of the father as she reinforces and amplifies his agenda, not altering, changing, softening, or ridiculing the given law. If she is truly one with the father then there can be no manipulation of the law.
It is to work this way in the home if the fear of the Lord is to be learned by the son. The husbandís love of his wife and the wifeís reverence for her husband is the standard. Any deviation from that standard tends to lessen the son's fear of the LORD. The Bible very carefully spells out the responsibility of each parent and a letdown by either one will weaken the process.
The word reverence means to fear. It is good fear; it is a fear that produces in the wife veneration or respect for her husband. It produces a wholesome dread of displeasing him. It is also the kind of fear that produces what the fear of the Lord produces. This fear produces a desire for knowledge of her husband and therefore she studies him that she may know his word and thereby become what they are declared to be, ONE FLESH.
Godly fathers instruct, godly mothers carry out those instructions as they are the law of the household. The child will have a healthy fear of the father and the mother which is the first fruit of the fear of the Lord. Is it possible to fear that which the child cannot see if he is not taught to fear that which he can see? And he observes this fear in his own household as he sees his own father fear the Lord and his own mother fear her husband and his father.
This is the practical teaching of the Word of God. There are no shortcuts nor easy ways around it. God knows our heart, he knows our frame, but he also shows us the way.