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Proverbs 7: 1-5, My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
Our teaching father has words, commandments, and law to give to his son.
First his words are designed to erect a hedge around his son which will provide boundaries to his sons behavior.
Then his commandments are to be laid up as you would lay up something that is needed for a future time.
His words are also words that provide boundaries to the sons fingers so they will be engaged in right things.
Providing boundaries to a son is the proper function of a father but this father realizes that ultimate location of boundaries must be in the heart for he says: write them upon the table of thine heart.
So this is what the father is about in the life of the child!
The heart is to be the final destination of the words, the commandments, the law of the father.
This is where the father is going.
He is going to the heart for if the words only cause certain responses, certain behavior then the father has failed.
He says: write them upon the table of thine heart.
This is not a table like we think of a table but this table is pictured as a stone or marble tablet.
It is the same as that which God chose to engrave with his commandments.
It is given in this manner so as to indicate permanency.
It is not a lined paper tablet of the heart with words that can be erased and altered because of a change in situation.
No, these words are placed in stone because they will not change, they will not alter, they are forever.
I recently made what I call a Heritage Chest for my relatives in Norway.
It is a small wooden chest engraved on the door cover both inside and out with a written history of the farm on which my grandmother was raised.
I got the information from my cousin in Norway and together we agreed on what should be engraved in and on the chest.
I engraved it in the Norwegian language which I do not speak so you can be sure that I was extremely careful in making that chest because it is meant to be passed down in the family for generations and will communicate information about past generations of my family.
So engraving in stone, engraving in wood is meant to be permanent with no changes allowed.
Write my words upon the tablet of your heart, son, because they are meant to be with you throughout your life.
Too many fathers give words that are engraved upon the tablet of their childrenís hearts that do not bring life but bring death.
Because those words are not founded upon the Word of God but only founded upon tradition, whim or thought, self generated by the father.
But the crux of this fatherís heart is that his words, his commandments, his law mean all in all to the son.
That they become such a part of him that every action he takes in life, every decision he makes throughout life, every move he contemplates must go though the gate of his fatherís words.
And now he tells his son to engage in an adoption ceremony.
Now his tells his son to join a family.
Not a family based on blood, but a family based upon his words.
For he says: Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
Isnít it always expected of a brother to stand up for his sister, to protect his sister?
Isnít is normal and expected for a family to join together against all enemies to protect the good name of the family?
So here the father uses this relationship to again emphasize the paramount importance that wisdom is to be to his son.
Think of wisdom as your sister, think of understanding as your kinswoman.
He uses the women folk of the family to illustrate his point.
The women folk are to be defended at all costs.
The welfare of the women folk are to always be considered.
This is why a man will go to war.
This is what homeland security means.
This is why we engage in this war against terror, to protect the dearest things we have.
And this is the heart that this father desires in his son.
To be so inculcated with his words, his commandments and his laws, that he thinks of them as a person closest to him, a part of him, and never sacrificed for temporal gain.
It is interesting that here and throughout the book of Proverbs wisdom is personified.
Here Wisdom is personified as a sister.
Understanding is personified as a kinswoman.
And of course we know that Wisdom is another name for the Son of God who is Jesus Christ.
So we have seen in these few short verses that the intent of this father is for his son:
to keep his words,
to lay up his commandments,
to bind them upon his fingers,
to write them upon the table or tablet of his heart
and to adopt wisdom as his sister
and understanding as his kinswoman.
And the father follows in this narrative with an important reason for this to take place.
After starting with such positive words,
He concludes with a negative
That they may keep thee from:
He does not conclude with a positive.
His words are not to promote an action on his sonís part but a reaction.
He does not start with some grandiose ministry that the son may perform with his words but he starts with a keeping from function that his words are to bring about.
And this keeping from function is a very practical function in the life of a young man.
A "keeping from" function is a separation function.
It is noteworthy that this father begins his list of results that his words are to accomplish with a "keeping from" or separation function.
Should we conclude then that if other results are to be realized in the life of the son, the son must first be separated or kept from certain things.
Isnít this principle expressed in 2 Corinthians . when we are told to come out from among them first and then God will receive you and be a Father unto you?
2 Corinthians 6:17,18, Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Isnít separation the purpose of the hedge that this father determines to erect in his sonís life.
A hedge indicates an outside and an inside.
A hedge is a wall of separation.
For the word "keep" in the phrase "That they may keep thee from:" is again the word that describes a thorny hedge.
So "keeping from" is the function that is to precede the "going to" function.
We are told to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.
But does God call everyone to do that at all times or does He first call everyone to "keep from."
Does "keep from" always precede "go to"?
Look at child rearing in general.
The child at conception and for the first nine months is "kept from" in order to eventually "go to".
You canít have the going to without the keeping from.
There is that all important growing season that must be accomplished before the child is allowed to go to.
This continues throughout the childís rearing.
There is always a separation from in order for preparation to take place which may or may not permit a going to.
After birth, the crib keeps the child in a place of safety for several months.
The child is kept from certain foods for a period in order to go to other foods at a later time.
The child is kept from high places at first and rolls and then crawls on the floor for much of its first few years.
The child is kept from fragile furnishings, is kept from the dials on the stove, is kept from the door closing on his fingers, is kept out of the kitchen cabinets away from dangerous chemicals.
The child is kept on the motherís lap and kept from danger, the child is kept in the grocery buggy, restrained in the car seat and kept from.