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Article in "The Projector" for Proverbs 2:3-8, the godly father
God has greatly blessed his people by giving them the Book of Proverbs. Its pages reveal a father who purposes to rear a son to follow him in loving God and God's Word. The second chapter reveals the father's purpose that his son is to receive his own words so that, in time, the son will receive God's Word. In this high purpose, the father recognizes his preparatory responsibility in the salvation and sanctification of his son. A godly father purposes to rear a son who fears the Lord and finds the knowledge of God pleasant to his soul.
The godly father in Chapter 2, resolves to equip his son for the day he will transfer his ear from hearing his father's words to hearing God's Word. It is a tragedy today that many children never hear their father's words. How little we esteem the authority which God put in the father of the family as the beginning of the son's journey to the love of God and God's Word. Fathers are to cause their children to understand the importance of their word, so they will eventually understand the importance of God's Word.
Great effort must be made by the father to accomplish this objective for his son. He refuses to provide a bed of roses in which his son may lie, knowing that God does not call sons from rose beds . A godly father does not trust that salvation will eventually take care of everything, but instead prepares and instruct his son toward salvation. If salvation is to take place, someone has to plant; someone has to water. This father constantly plants the seed of God's Word in his son, consistently waters it in prayer, teaching and discipline, and earnestly trusts God to give the increase!
Notice the intensity of this father's instruction. Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. (vs. 2:3-5)
"Don't expect knowledge and understanding to come easily, son!" he declares. "It comes only to those who cry, lift, seek and search." The godly father brings accountability to his son by shinning the light of the Word of God into his life. The father, knowing that he is accountable for preparing the son, insures that his son also knows that he is accountable for receiving that preparation and using it to serve and glorify God. In this the father rejoices because he prepares his son to understand the fear of the Lord and find knowledge of God. What a wonderful, glorious conclusion of the matter, but it all starts with the son's receiving the words of the father.
What does this imply? It implies an instructing father who is the authority in the home, a mother who honors the father's word, and sees that the son also honors the father's word. The father's word is held in high esteem so that when the son comes to maturity he will hold God's Word in high esteem. He has proved his father's word to be true and faithful; therefore when the time comes the son hears God's Word and finds it to be true also. The home, then, is to be the incubator of faith preparing the son to hear God's Word.
This is a home where truth is sought diligently as a man of the world seeks silver and hidden treasure. Men go to great extremes to find the hidden treasures of the world left by disasters of the past. But this Proverb's father's interest is in laying up treasures in heaven by rearing a son who will diligently seek the treasures of understanding and the knowledge of God. Most homes are preparatory schools only for seekers of the mere treasures of this world, but God expects His children to operate preparatory schools for seekers of heavenly treasures. Every father or mother operates one school or the other. The father, who has a godly aim for his son, communicates an urgency to seek the hidden treasures of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. "Son, wisdom, knowledge and understanding only come to those who study, who seriously desire to know God and the things of God." The message of the scripture is that God does not reveal Himself to the casual or indifferent. If one wants to be casual about his relationship with God he must be prepared not to know God. God reveals Himself in the same way He reveals his diamonds, His gold and His silver. Ask the man who searches the sea in ships about the extremes to which he must go to find those treasures of the deep. He does not simply stumble over such prized wealth; and in the same way no man will simply stumble over the knowledge of God.
This father desires a son, who after being alone with his earthly father, desires to be alone with his heavenly father. That is the kind of relationship a father and a son should have. The son should be so taught that he will want to know his father and will desire to know his word. "What would Dad do about this?" he asks. "What would Dad say if he were in such a situation as this?" That kind of relationship will lead to the day when the son will ask, "What would God say about this? Let me search His Word and find out what my Heavenly Father says about this."
"Son," the father says, "I am rearing you to cry after knowledge, to go in prayer to the One who will teach and enlighten. I am rearing you to lift up your voice to God for understanding. I am not just rearing you just to behave or excel in order to be highly esteemed in the community. No, I am rearing you to seek after God. My responsibility for you is a preparation responsibility. As your father, I expect to stand before the judgment seat of Christ and hear Him say, "What did you do to prepare your son to glorify Me? Did you instruct him by a life fully dedicated to me? Did you teach him the Word of God though your life? I gave you my Word to use in the rearing of your son. Did you open to him the knowledge to serve and glorify Me? Did you give him the tools so that his ear might be inclined to My voice and that he might understand the fear of the Lord?"
These are questions a Christian father should expect to face from the Lord. In His Word, the Lord gives the father the tools to carry out this task so no father need lack wisdom for this important work.
"For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding." (vs. 6)
God delights to give wisdom to those who take hold of him by faith. God is always looking for a wrestling partner. He looks high and low and finds one only now and then. He found Jacob, who, regardless of his faults, wrestled with God, and God blessed him. This Proverb's father conveys to his son that there is no excuse for not knowing God.
This Bible instruction is to be given to the son by the father personally, so that the son knows how important God's Word is to his father. Many sons know how important football, baseball, gold and the father's job is to their father, but how many sons know that God's Word is all important to him? This importance must be communicated to the son by the father's own testimony and personal instruction if the son is to be prepared to serve and glorify God. If he communicates anything else, he must be prepared to have his son serve anything but God and simply glorify himself. If self-esteem and self-service are what a father desires in his son, neither he nor his son will need much instruction, for the whole world and the devil are on his side.
But this godly father instructs his son against the whole world. "He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints." (vs. 7,8)
"Son, God lays up sound wisdom for you. He hides or hoards wisdom for those who diligently seek it. God's wisdom is excluded from the unrighteous because God resists the proud. Only those who fear the Lord can know God. Wisdom is not of this world and this world. This world cannot arrive at a knowledge of God because wisdom is hoarded by God for the righteous. Regardless of how offensive this is to the world, you know that only through Christ--Wisdom personified-- is a man made righteous!
God's wisdom results in practical benefit to the righteous. His wisdom does not tickle the ear or the intellect. It is not given to the world to show off the mighty. It does not appeal to the "great thinker." It is practical in its result because it is for the righteous. It provides light for the righteous to walk uprightly, but has no appeal to the unrighteous.
God's Word is a buckler, a shield to the righteous. The godly father equips his son with this defense as he prepares him to serve and glorify God, ensuring that no weapon of the world or the devil can penetrate the buckler of God. By this truth, he communicates to his son the love of God for His people.
"He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints." (vs. 8)
"Son, God is not capricious, eccentric or fickle. His paths of judgment are sure and unchanging. His very universe declares that His paths of judgment are kept. The stars cry out that their courses are preserved by the One who ordained their existence." How does the father teach this attribute of God? He does so by being sure and unchanging himself; by not being capricious, eccentric or fickle. This father is righteous by faith, and a characteristic of righteousness is consistency. The son is taught by the life of his father this quality of the character of God.
What will be the result of this kind of dedicated, godly instruction? If the father consistently instructs the son to receive his words and hide his commandments within him, if he insists that he incline his ear to God and seek after wisdom with the same diligence as those who seek after hidden treasure, the result will be the son's understanding the fear of the Lord and finding the ultimate treasure; the knowledge of God.