"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" Wisdom Regarding Family INTRODUCTION 1. As we continue our study of the Proverbs, we should keep in mind two things: a. Life is short b. Our eternal existence is greatly influenced by how we live during this short life 2. It is imperative, then, that we not waste our time through rash and foolish decisions... a. Which not only jeopardize our eternal destiny b. But can also make this life miserable 3. The value of wisdom is especially seen in family relationships... a. "He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind..." - Pro 11:29 b. Life is too short and families grow too fast for us to raise a family through "trial and error" 4. We must seek advice in this all-important task... a. But where shall we go? b. To so-called "experts" who authoritatively give advice, but then all too often change their views later on after the damage has been done? (e.g., Dr. Spock and his earlier views on child-raising) [Fortunately, in His grace God has preserved in His all-sufficient book the wisdom needed to provide for and raise a family. Much of this wisdom in found in The Book Of Proverbs! To illustrate, let's first consider some wisdom in...] I. PROVIDING FOR A FAMILY A. WHAT MANY THINK IS MOST IMPORTANT... 1. Many would say it is the "necessities" of life a. Such as food and clothing b. And a place of shelter 2. Most would feel that other things are also necessary... a. Such as the "finer things" (luxuries) for the children, which parents never had as children b. A good "education" for the children, so they too can be affluent [While there is some merit in these things, inspired wisdom from The Book Of Proverbs teaches us not to place emphasis upon such material things...] B. WHERE THE EMPHASIS SHOULD BE... 1. Instilling a fear of the Lord - Pr 15:16 a. More important than riches is providing for your family through your own example a deep and abiding respect for the Lord b. For the fear of the Lord provides: a. The beginning of knowledge - Pr 1:7 b. A means to prolong life - Pr 10:27 c. The key to avoiding sin - Pr 16:6 d. The key to true wealth - Pr 22:4 c. The fear of the Lord, then, is perhaps the most important "provision" that one can give to his or her family 2. Giving them love - Pr 15:17 a. Providing an environment where love reigns is more important than providing material abundance b. Troubled children come from homes where "love" is lacking, not money! 3. Providing a peaceful family life - Pr 17:1 a. Where there is peace and tranquility in a family, material affluence matters little b. But what value is there in wealth, if we are always fighting over the things it provides? 4. A wise father (or mother) realizes that spiritual provisions are more important than material ones a. They will see that the family receives what is truly important b. Even it means cutting back on less important things [But when God's wisdom is truly followed, it won't be necessary to go without material necessities! To see why, consider what can be done...] C. TO ENSURE ADEQUATE MATERIAL PROVISIONS... 1. Be righteous - Pr 20:7 a. Today that means putting the kingdom of God first in your life - Mt 6:33 b. Then God will watch out for you and providentially see that your needs are adequately met! c. Children of righteous parents are truly blessed! d. But parents who fail to put God first go through life without God's providential help, and their children may suffer as a result! 2. Concentrate on acquiring wisdom and knowledge, not wealth
- Pro 24:3-4 a. This would involve a careful study and application of God's Word, especially a book like Proverbs b. But it also involves living a dedicated life as a disciple (learner) of Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge - cf. Col 2:2-3 [From the Proverbs, then, we learn that the best and wisest thing parents can do for their family is to provide themselves as obedient servants of God, and to instill such faith in their children. If this is done, God will see that their material needs are met! But what about the matter of raising children...?] II. RAISING CHILDREN A. THE PROPER USE OF CORPOREAL PUNISHMENT... 1. Used properly, it is a demonstration of true love - Pr 13:24 2. Proper discipline has proper objectives... a. To remove foolishness from the child - Pr 22:15 b. To save the soul of the child - Pr 23:13-14 c. To impart wisdom and to avoid shame - Pr 29:15 3. Proper discipline has its rewards - Pr 29:17 a. Such as "rest" and "delight" b. A child who will love you and live in such a way as to bring you delight 4. Of course, there must be the proper application of corporeal punishment - Pr 19:18 a. To be applied before the situation gets of out hand ("while there is hope") b. To be applied under controlled circumstances ("do not set your heart on his destruction") 1) I.e., do not put it off until you strike in anger 2) There is a difference between proper "spanking" and "child abuse"! c. Corporeal punishment should never be a vent for letting off steam... 1) Rather, a controlled use of one method to discourage bad behavior 2) To be accompanied with love! - cf. Ep 6:4 (as implied by the word "nurture") B. MORE WISDOM FROM A FAMILIAR VERSE - Pr 22:6 1. As commonly translated: "train up a child in the way he should go" a. This allows for the common interpretation in which a child's outcome is virtually dependent upon his training, especially in spiritual matters 1) I.e., if the child is brought up right by godly parents, the child must turn out all right 2) So if a child is not a faithful Christian, it must always be a failing of the parents b. But this view suggests "environmental predestination", or "behavioral determinism" (shades of B. F. Skinner, cf. his book "Walden II") 2. Literally, the verse can be translated: "train up a child according to his way" a. That is, train up a child according to his or her inclinations b. For example, don't try to force a child who is mechanically inclined to be a doctor or a lawyer c. Rather, bring up a child according to his or her aptitude, and they will likely continue what they start out in life doing (i.e., no "mid-life" crisis or career changes) d. Therefore, this verse, like so many in Proverbs, is simply giving us practical advice in raising our children (without necessarily any spiritual implications) 3. However, I might add that trying to force a child to go against their "aptitude" may encourage a child to rebel in all areas of parental influence (including spiritual) CONCLUSION 1. My purpose has not been to provide an exhaustive treatment of this subject covered in Proverbs 2. Rather, to illustrate its value to Christians in all areas of our lives... a. That it does speak to such matters as providing for a family, raising children b. So that we will study and meditate on it more often Since so much of our happiness or lack of it is affected by our family life, we should want to take advantage of the wisdom offered in this area by the book of Proverbs...!