PROVERB PRACTICALS The Value of Children, Proverbs 10:1, Audio
Proverbs 10:1, The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Today we are going to begin a short series of lessons by continuing with our long standing study of the book of Proverbs.
In previous years in our class we have extensively studied verse by verse the first nine chapters including a complete study of the thirty first chapter, and selected proverbs from chapters 10 thru 30.
We have learned that this book lays out the pathway of wisdom in contrast to the pathway of fools.
If we desire, the book of Proverbs will equip us to have God's insight on how to live lives that will glorify Him; how to lift up others; and how to be at peace with ourselves.
Following its precepts will bring success in the home and in business.
By heeding its precepts, we can avoid many pitfalls that can make life difficult, for wisdom is higher than experience.
If we listen to God's wisdom, we will experience joy and laughter rather than feeling the sorrow and despair that are so much a part of those who choose to walk Satanís path, the path that he has laid out in his world system, the path of experience.
God has given us this book in the context of instruction of a father to his son.
It shows us the importance of wise counsel being the foundation for success in the practical areas of everyday living in the midst of the pressure of a world designed to seduce the young.
The first nine chapters provide the framework for choosing wisdom and actively pursuing it as more precious than anything else life has to offer.
As parents it ought to be our purpose to instill into our children a great love of wisdom, a true understanding that wisdom is indeed more precious than anything else life has to offer.
In these nine chapters there are exhortations to wisdom, warnings against following sinners, wisdom personified, what happens when wisdom is followed, what happens when folly is followed, the call to wisdom, and the call to folly.
There is a heavy emphasis on resisting sexual temptation in these opening chapters as this is something that pertains strongly to the young and if allowed to control can determine the course of life.
The benefits of wisdom are greatly extolled at length and easily reveal to us that Wisdom is the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Wisdom is indeed our Lord Jesus Christ personified.
Today we will continue our study by taking on a short series in the tenth chapter where we will discourse on each proverb for in most cases each proverb stands alone from others in the chapter.
We begin with Proverbs 10:1 where we see that Solomon, the son of David claims authorship:
This authorship continues thru chapter 29, with chapter 30 being the words of Agur the son of Jakeh and chapter 31 being the words of king Lemuel.
Proverbs 10:1, The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
The first thing we notice is that Solomon chose to ascribe to the father gladness over a wise son and to the mother heaviness, over a foolish son.
It is not a glad mother pictured here and a father with heaviness.
Now I suppose Solomonís choice relates to the height and depth of emotion that the father and the mother can reach.
Can a father despair over a son as much as a mother?
Can a mother be as glad as a father?
Perhaps what Solomon is inferring is that there is no greater despair than that displayed by a mother and there is no greater gladness than that displayed by a father.
But both emotions, gladness and heaviness, are displayed when called upon to place a value upon a son.
We would agree that the wise son is valuable while the foolish son is not.
The wise son brings value to the family but the foolish son subtracts value from the family.
A few months ago I came across an interesting article about the value of children, written by a Mr. Ben Stein, who is an actor, lawyer, writer, and economist.
It was not written from any spiritual framework but was written with the real question as to why people would bring children into the world, in other words what value did children bring to the family.
When my wife and I married almost 49 years ago we did not ask this question for it was the normal thing to bring children into the world thinking that they brought value to the family.
But today this question is a common question in our culture.
Is it because there are not many glad fathers but in contrast there are many mothers with heaviness?
I have edited this article somewhat for brevityís sake.
Mr. Stein begins his article with the question: What is the value of a child in modern Western industrial society? More specifically, what is the value of a middle-class or upper-middle-class or upper-class child in America? And does this have anything to do with the fact that the birth rate among American women has been falling for decades and that the age of first childbirth among educated women is far higher than among less-well-educated women?
Start with economics. People in a free society will choose to have more of something if its return exceeds its cost. On the other hand, people in a free society will choose to have less of a good or service if its value is less than its cost.
Now, the modern child is not a good or service, but something more and also something less. Long ago, as we all know, children had some value as assistant hunters and gatherers, security providers, and keepers of the hearth.
Then, as society became more organized, families chose to have children because children were helpful on the farm or the ranch or in the village smithy. The kids did not require much -- just food and shelter and occasional loving and cuffing about to keep them in line.
But today most of the farms and ranches are gone, the smithy is gone and many of the benefits that children used to provide the family are gone. And today we can choose to have or not to have children. And the choice is clear. In large part we choose not to have them because raising modern children is such a major pain in the neck. For one thing, thanks to a variety of factors, often parents have to struggle like galley slaves to get their offspring into private schools and pay for them.
The private school parent also has to pony up for every kind of lesson -- ballet, horse, and music lessons, math tutoring, and chess club. The parent also has to drive the little ones to all of these events as well as to the "play dates" that lurk in modern life. Then there is the most horrible event a healthy upper-middle-class American can have: social engagements with the parents of Junior's classmates.
In other words, we are talking about child rearing as part unpaid chauffeur, part torture.
Then there is college and a real course in horrors getting the darling in somewhere that won't embarrass you in front of your pals. That's before paying for the school, which is a stunning slap in the face. Total college costs at a "prestige" school can easily touch $70,000 a year, real money for most people.
And after graduation day, what do you get for having the system holding you by your ankles and shaking all the money out of your pockets? You might have a son with a law degree who cannot get a job, a daughter with a film-school degree who works in fast food, or a musician who keeps you up all night.
You are very likely to have one who cannot spell "gratitude" and has a sense of entitlement that would make Marie Antoinette blush. How many of each kind have you observed with your own eyes? Look around you. The costs and benefits of having children in affluent America are wildly off kilter. Too much cost, too little reward. Often the cost-benefit analysis of children prints out "Get a German shorthaired pointer instead."
Many people are doing just that, and the birth rate is collapsing. But if we stop having enough children, because their value is so low relative to their cost, the society grinds down. It's happening right now. The native-born upper middle class barely replace themselves in America, if they do at all. In a way we are committing suicide as a class, possibly in part because of the burdens of child rearing in modern life.
What is the net present value of a child in modern America? From an economic standpoint, often, it's difficult to find much, and thereby hangs a question mark over our future as a nation, at least as we have known it. End of Article
Think about what is taking place in our country and around the world with regard to children.
Our Pastor has preached extensively about not letting the culture that we live in take precedence over what we are told in the scriptures.
But certainly in the case of having children I think all would agree that the culture that Christians live in is definitely in charge of their lives.
But God has clearly said in Psalm 127:3-5, Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
But where are the children? Look at the facts of what is taking place in the world.
There are countries by the dozen where the birth rate is well below the replacement rate which means a continually falling population.
Japanís population which reached a high of 128 million is projected to fall to 45 million by 2100 if current birthrates continue.
The birthrate in our country is about 2.05, a rate barely able to replace our population which would fall except for the influx of people due to immigration.
There are almost 100 countries in the world with birthrates below the population replacement rate.
These are mostly industrialized countries where technology and education are promoted.
Those countries in the beginning development or little development stage are the countries where births are high and populations are easily replacing themselves and growing.
One of the lowest birthrates is Hong Kong at 1 child and the highest birthrate is Niger in Africa at 7.19.
Afghanistan has a birthrate of 7.07 while its industrialized neighbor of Iran has a birthrate of 2.02, a rate that barely will replace its population.
As far as I know there are not many people who are trying to immigrate to Iran therefore unless something changes Iran will have a falling population.
Another great factor in birthrates is the number of abortions taking place worldwide.
There are 42 million abortions per year, 115,000 per day.
The U.S. has 1.37 million abortions per year, 3700 per day.
Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973 there have been nearly 50 million abortions in the U.S.A.
If these persons had not been aborted but lived to bear children themselves I would imagine that the population of the USA would be 75 to 80 million more today.
And many of that population would be working taxpayers.
None would be of retirement age at this time.
Just think of the ramifications of abortion relative to the economy.
Are we experiencing the unintended consequences of abortion today?
About one in five pregnancies worldwide end in abortion.
83% of all abortions are obtained in developing countries and 17% occur in developed countries.
The devil has been successful in the developed countries and now he is after the children in developing countries.
An estimated 43% of all women will have at least 1 abortion by the time they are 45 years old.
47% of all abortions are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.
Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.
Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for only 1.3%, (what an interesting fact when you remember that Jewish woman are still looking for the Messiah) and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all abortions.
18% of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".
How can this be? How can so called Christians be so culturally connected and so far from Godís word regarding children?
Are we not told in the first book of the Bible that God planted a garden called Eden and in it he placed our father and our mother, Adam and Eve to dress it and to keep it?
God told them to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth for God is a husbandman and desires to have a good crop, a bounty of fruit for his table.
He again told Noah and his sons, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
Over and over our God has told us that he expects a bountiful harvest and he has made the ground good for such a harvest.
But every desire of God is met by an opposing desire of Satan.
Satan is the locust that sweeps though the field to destroy the harvest, killing the wheat to the ground and in that killing even destroying the shoots of wheat poking their heads though the soil.
Satan promotes this culture for this is his world system.
Every child born is a potential trophy of God, to be filled with a life that brings glory to his creator.
Every child not born is kept from a life of glorifying the husbandman with fruit from the harvest.
Jesus said to his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
What better way to bring forth laborers than by Godís way?
Godís plan for laborers is built into his creation by obeying his command to be fruitful and multiply.
The laborers are few, in part because Christians refuse to live by faith and instead live by sight with regard to children.
God says, be fruitful and multiply and bring forth laborers, which is to be obeyed by faith, but Christians examine the culture in which they live and examine that which they see that is anti-children.
They look though modern eyes and see all of the problems associated with rearing children in a modern world.
They do a cost benefit analysis and find little value in having children and in that analysis God is excluded.
They choose the American dream, a dream which may allow some children but God did not promise the American dream.
The American dream is not living by faith, the American dream is a life lived by sight.
God has promised to provide in His way.
But Christians, many times, refuse this promise and think instead that they must provide and in this thinking it is easy to come up short.
God has told us to be fruitful and multiply and in that instruction there was no requirement to obey it only after a cost-benefit analysis shows its value.