A few years ago, Joanie and the girls were gone for a week and that allowed me to spend the entire week with my son. I suppose my son was around 9 or 10 years old at the time (he’s 13 now). We laughed and wrestled, played games and cleaned the house (partially), went to the mountains, walked, prayed, talked, rode 4-wheelers, built campfires, and swam. In addition to all of this, the climax of our time together was our time spent in reading and studying God’s Word.
The following Sunday I was able to take the lessons from the Word that week and share it with the church family. It was pretty natural that I would choose to read and study Proverbs with Caleb during that week. Natural, because Proverbs is a collection of wise insights and instructions from a father to his son(s). These insights and instructions are intended to lead to worshipful meditation on and diligent obedience to the Almighty God.
Proverbs is both a pattern for the tender impartation of truth from generation to generation, as well as a vast resource for the content of the truth to be imparted. Proverbs contains the principles and applications of Scripture which the godly characters of the Bible illustrate in their lives (MSB, p. 874).
In this book I have found intimate and pointed insights and instructions that come right from the heart of a father directed right to the heart of his son. The writer, Solomon (for the most part) is using his experiences and the understanding that God gave to him in order to teach his son how to live life to the fullest. He wants his son to be wise and not to be a fool. A fool is someone who knows the truth (or should know the truth) but acts as if he doesn’t. And so throughout this book of Proverbs we find that this father is especially concerned that his son NOT FORSAKE or FORGET his words (cf. 1:8; 3:1, 21; 4:5-6).
Proverbs 3 is one of the most familiar and loved chapters. Notice how it begins: “My son, do not forget my law”. Solomon is concerned that his son keeps his teaching/law in his mind—don’t forget this! “Don’t lose your memory of these things.” That is a very dangerous and a very real possibility isn’t it? It is very possible that my son will forget or forsake the things that I teach him. And that is what makes a foolish son—a son who knows (or should know) the truth but acts as if he doesn’t. And you know, as Christians, this a very dangerous and a very real possibility isn’t it? There are many other things that can crowd our minds, thus opening the door to forgetting or forsaking what is most important.
Do you see what Solomon does not what his son to forget or forsake? “my law”. Now this word “law” is the Hebrew word torah and it is most often used of the law of God—or we might simply say the word of God. See how intimate Solomon was with the law/word of God? He called it “my law”. And if you look at the next phrase, he uses the term “my commands” (another term for the commandments of God). Happy are the children whose parents make the commands of God their own! Solomon was being faithful to God’s word in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
And please note that this father was not concerned merely with outward or external obedience. No, he desires what every good father desires—that his children would “keep” (lit.- guard, observe, maintain) his commands in the heart.
Why desire this? Long life—eternal life—peaceful life!
“Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble” (Ps. 119:165). “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isa. 26:3). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God, and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at the four instructions that must be remembered.