Proverbs 4:1, Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
The book of Proverbs is a book of instruction from a father to a son.
This relationship of course is an authority relationship.
And instruction flows from the one who is in authority to the one who is under authority.
The instruction is not from the son to the father but from the father to the son.
That scripture of Isaiah 11:6, that is probably among the most misused scripture today "And a little child shall lead them" does not apply here.
It applies to a child leading animals but not leading those in authority.
Isaiah 11:6, The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
As the scripture says, during the reign of Christ upon this earth, a little child shall lead the wolf, the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf, the young lion and the fatling but it never says the a little child shall lead the father or a little child shall lead those in authority.
God gave dominion of the animals to man and that includes dominion of children over animals but children are not to have dominion over those given authority over them.
A father or a mother is not to be led by a child but a child is to be led by a father or a mother !
For a child is not equipped to lead.
A child is equipped to follow and must be trained to lead.
And a child who attempts to lead is a most out of place character, a misfit if you will and will, as the proverbs say, bring shame to his mother as he ought to bring shame.
God intends that shame be on the head of those who do not follow his word.
Perhaps that shame will bring the mother to think instead of following todayís false prophets of child rearing who promote a child centered world.
But there is more to this authority relationship than that of a father to his son.
The proverbs apply to any authority relationship.
That relationship that exists in the home between: husband and wife, or at work between the boss and the worker, the teacher and the student, and especially for children of God as they receive the word of God from their pastor, their assistant pastor or from their Sunday School teacher.
The admonition of this proverb to hear instruction, to attend to know understanding applies in all these authority relationships.
For God honors and lifts up authority and commands that those under authority hear, and attend to know understanding.
Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:11 saw his relationship with the Thessalonians as a father-child relationship.
1 Thessalonians 2:11, For he said: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
He used those terms to describe that God had placed him in a position of authority as he has placed all who preach and teach the word of God.
You are here today to yield yourself to the authority that God has placed over you.
A Pastor, faithful to the word of God, whether he be 35 or 75 imparts the instruction of a father and such instruction is to be received as if from God.
The words he teaches and the words he preaches are from God and are to be heard.
And scriptural hearing is only proved by obedience.
Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
Everyone in this class is an adult but this proverb applies to all who are under authority for all those who are in authority meet the test of the father expressed in this proverb.
The obligation of all who are in authority is to instruct and the purpose of that instruction is to provide understanding.
God gives great responsibility to those in authority for they are to instruct.
But God gives just as great a responsibility to those under authority because those under authority are to hear.
Authority instructs and those under authority are to hear.
Supervision then is simply follow up to see if those instructions have been heard with "heard" meaning obedience.
Let me make this perfectly clear.
Those in authority are to instruct.
Take the pattern in this from God for God is always instructing.
God does not wish for his children to be ignorant and anyone in authority should also desire that those who are under his or her authority not be ignorant.
What does God do to see that this does not happen?
Well, God is constantly instructing.
Walk about in Godís creation and receive instruction.
Pay attention to what is out there and receive instruction.
God says "Go to the ant thou Sluggard" for the ant is Godís assistant pastor to teach you about diligence.
Every invention of man has been preceded by a lesson from Godís creation that brought about the idea in the mind of man.
There is no truly creative man alive for God has had every original idea.
Every creature, every plant, every tree or sun or star that God has made is Godís teacher to teach you about some aspect of living for God.
God sent his son to teach you and to leave his word here for those in authority to teach you and for you to be taught by Godís Holy Spirit.
God, the ultimate authority is always the instructor, and as such those who are in authority are also to be always the instructor.
Much of the trouble we are in, is caused by disobedience to this very principle, those in authority are not instructing those under authority.
There is a dearth of instruction.
I once witnessed a Christian supervisor of Christian workers rebuking in a very hard way a subordinate for work not being done.
It was an extremely hard chewing out, but the personís emotional response to this was that he felt unequipped to do what the supervisor expected because he was not taught how to do the work.
And this was not an idle response or an excuse covering laziness on the part of the subordinate because I came to realize that what he said was true.
It is authorityís responsibility to instruct or to see to it that instruction is given.
It is not for authority to assume that people know but to operate on the premise that they do not know.
Just because a person has graduated from college with a teaching decree does not make that person a teacher.
Just because you told that young person to clean the bathroom does not insure that that young person knows how to clean the bathroom.
I have heard supervisors who rejected requests for training from their employees with the excuse that the training was just a boondoggle and a waste of time without thinking of their responsibility to instruct or see to it that others instruct.
Just keep the worker working but do not equip them and then hold them accountable.
There ought to be the desire in the heart of every one who is in a position of authority to equip those under authority with as much understanding as is possible.
This is godly for this is what God does. Paul the Apostle had this kind of heart when he wrote his epistles of instruction to the brethren.
"I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren!"
Paul would not let it be said that as one in authority he did not instruct.
Proverbs 4:1, Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
So those in authority have an obligation to instruct and those under authority have an obligation to hear.
Both must do their part in order for the whole to be successful.
A breakdown in one breaks down the whole.
The purpose of my instruction is for you to have understanding.
If I donít instruct so that you have understanding then I have failed in my instruction.
If a student hasnít learned (or understands) then the teacher hasnít taught!
Sometimes teachers are so devoted to volume of instruction that they forget that understanding is the key.
And the key to understanding is hearing.
God puts first words first because they are important.
In this verse he puts first the word "hear".
Doesnít everyone know what hear means?
Most American children and most American adults to not know and it is obvious that they do not know.
Go in the supermarket and observe.
The hearing of this proverb is proven if obedience to the instruction of the father is done.
It means to hear intelligently knowing that there is an obligation to act on what is taught, and to carry out that obligation.
That is Biblical hearing.
If you simply come and occupy a pew in this class and mentally go to sleep God will hold you accountable for your disobedience.
Each person under instruction is accountable for that instruction and that accountability includes hearing and attending.
The heart is certainly deceitful in this area for it has convinced us that not hearing instruction is no big deal and can be done without consequence.
The word "instruction" is very broad for it includes, correction, discipline, doctrine, instruction, and rebuke.
The word attend is used to communicate further responsibility to the hearer.
The hearer or the one being instructed is to attend to know understanding.
You know what attend means. It means to be there.
It means to have your mind connected to the instruction.
A mind that attends answers "here" to the roll call.
Wandering minds are not in attendance, they are not attending.
Attending means to prick up the ears or hearken or to give heed to, or to incline and mark well what is being instructed.
What does this lead to?
Where is this to go? What is the payback to this effort?
What is in it for me?
God promises that wonderful result known as understanding.
Understanding means just what it says, it means standing under.
The sense of the word understanding is to support: it means a holding.
It means to hold in the mind.
I've got it! the student cries because the student heard the teacher.
It was elusive and I could not quite capture it but now my mind has captured it and it is mine.
I HEARD, I ATTENDED, I UNDERSTAND!
I now have the same idea as the person who instructs me or speaks to me.
I'm on the same wave length as my teacher!
My mind knows the real state of things presented to it.
My mind was present when the roll was called.
Otherwise what was being taught would not have been held in the mind.
Studentís minds drift by not attending and therefore mind holding or understanding does not take place.
But this is what those in authority must remember is the end of instruction, understanding, not volume of instruction, but understanding.
Teachers who are interested in volume of instruction are not generally interested in orderly classrooms because volume of instruction can go right on in any kind of classroom.
Just pour it out in any environment without regard to understanding.
But teachers who are interested in understanding are interested in orderly classrooms because orderly classrooms contribute to understanding.
Orderly classrooms contribute to hearing and to attending.
Orderly classrooms promote those who hear and do not encourage those who desire not to hear.
So the purpose of the instruction of those in authority is understanding.