My son, if your heart is wise, My own heart also will be glad; And my inmost being will rejoice When your lips speak what is right. Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the Lord always. Surely there is a future, And your hope will not be cut off. Listen, my son, and be wise, And direct your heart in the way. Do not be with heavy drinkers of wine, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the heavy drinker and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe one with rags. Listen to your father who begot you, And do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it, Get wisdom and instruction and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, And he who sires a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you. Give me your heart, my son, And let your eyes delight in my ways.
Notice that this father’s joy in his child comes from the child being wise, which would mean choosing to live in this world according to the will of God. Furthermore, the father hopes his son will speak truth and be content in the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is contrasted with envying sinners. The hope of a parent is to see a child desire what the Lord desires, even when the ill-gotten gains of sinners are tempting. The reason given for the blessing of fearing the Lord is the sure future that comes from aligning oneself with the Creator of the universe. And if parents would hope to see these qualities in their children, then they should actively be working on adding and growing these qualities in themselves.
According to this passage, to be wise is to be careful about your associations in life. Specifically, this father instructed his son not to associate with those who get drunk and those who are gluttons. In principle, the father was asking his son not to hang out with undisciplined people, those who lack self-control. He didn’t want his son participating in these excesses or being affected by the actions of such people, because the end of such living is poverty.
No parent is perfect, so ultimately, all parents should point their children to look to and follow in the ways of their Heavenly Father. As parents grow in these godly qualities, they can ask their children to observe their lives in hopes that their children, too, would observe the ways of God (1 Cor. 11:1).
- What qualities should a father or mother desire to see in their child?
- How can parents work on developing these qualities within themselves?
- Thank God for the gift of your family. Pray that you would steward this blessing well.