Parenting by the book: parenting books abound today and most of us have probably read one or more of them at some time. But when was the last time you read the parenting book? All of God’s Word is written from the perspective of a Father to His children. Proverbs, in particular, contains a lifetime of wisdom for parenting and for sharing with our children.
Exodus 3 & 4
Parenting by the Book
Parenting & Proverbs
Verse 1 starts out “My son, …” Solomon was teaching his son and, of course, God is teaching His children.
Proverbs is full of instruction for us in all of our daily living, but it also gives us lots of wisdom to help us be godly parents. In today’s reading we find some strong warnings about sexual issues:
1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom;
Lend your ear to my understanding,
2 That you may preserve discretion,
And your lips may keep knowledge.
3 For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,
And her mouth is smoother than oil;
4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
Sharp as a two-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death,
Her steps lay hold of hell.
6 Lest you ponder her path of life—
Her ways are unstable;
You do not know them.
I can’t help but wonder how many fewer teen pregnancies and other sexual consequences there might be if we as fathers and mothers faithfully taught the truths in Proverbs 5 to our sons and daughters.
Verse 3 speaks of the “immoral woman.” Most of us don’t think of our teenage daughters as “immoral women” when they text “inappropriate” photos of themselves to some boy, but they are behaving like it. Perhaps we need to do a better job of teaching them what the Word of God says about their behavior.
It’s the Word of God that will pierce their hearts.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4.12).
While we’ve been deceived into thinking we need to soften the truth to protect their “self-esteem,” our sons and our daughters are becoming involved in sexual activity and making decisions which can alter their lives for years to come.
Of course, the principles in Proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible are not limited to those on sexual behavior. God’s Word provides the help we need to live godly and to instruct our children in every area of life (2 Pet. 1.2-4).
A few that are especially applicable to parenting:
How to receive correction and discipline (Prov. 3.11-12, 12.15, 15.14, 32, 18.15).
The importance of obedience (Prov. 1.8, 9, 3.1-4, 4.10, 6.20-23, 10.8, 12.1, 13.18, 30.17, 29.1).
The importance of guarding our hearts (Prov. 4.23).
Anger and self-control (Prov. 14.17, 19.19, 22.24, 29.22).
Diligence/laziness (Prov. 6.6-8, 10.4, 12.24, 13.4, 19.24, 22.29).
Drinking (Prov. 20.1, 21.17, 23.20-21, 31.4-7).
Greed/covetousness (Prov. 15.16, 27, 22.1, 28.25).
Selfishness (Prov. 19.17, 22.9, 28.22).
Temptation (Prov. 1.10, 15, 10.9, 14,12).
Boasting/bragging (Prov. 25.4, 27.2).
Teasing (Prov. 10.23, 26.18-19).
Bad associations (Prov. 1.10, 15, 4.14-15, 13.20, 16.19, 29, 20.19, 23.20-21, 24.1).
Cheating and stealing/ honesty (Prov. 13.5, 11, 16.8, 28.13, 18, 29.24).
And that’s a short list. A good family devotional might be to read a chapter of Proverbs a day for a month and have each person share a truth that stands out to them.
However you approach your study of Proverbs, it’s rich with wisdom for parenting and for our own lives.
Today’s Other Readings:
The Freedom to Choose
Chapter 3 has Moses shepherding sheep—a very humble occupation—quite different from life in Pharaoh’s court where he was raised. Sometimes God has to allow us to lose some of the trappings and encumbrances of life before we are fully usable to him.
In chapter 4 after speaking to Moses from a burning bush and commissioning him to go back to Egypt, we see God threatening to kill him because he had not circumcised his son (vv. 24-26). God didn’t make a mistake and forget to check and see if the boy had been circumcised! He is omniscient! He knows everything that ever was, everything that is, and everything that ever will be! But He allows us to make choices—choices which sometimes test our obedience. Moses could have come back and done what he knew was right before leaving for Egypt, but he didn’t.
God was calling Moses to lead His people. Good leaders—godly leaders—are often tested. You can’t lead where you’re not willing to go.
Verse 24 says, “… that the Lord met him and sought to kill him.” But just as in the case of Jacob’s wrestling match with God, if God had really wanted to kill Moses, he could have done it with just a word. God’s desire was that he would repent and be spared.
Why would Moses disobey God in something as serious as circumcision? Matthew Henry says it may have been the fact that he was unequally yoked with Zipporah, a Midianite. Did he defer to his wife on child rearing issues? It says she threw the foreskin at his feet and called him a “bloody husband!” But, based on her quick reaction, she knew what they should have done.
Perhaps, they were over indulgent with the boy. Though our children are gifts from God, we can never place them or their desires above our desire to obey God. Also notice that God held Moses responsible for not leading his family.
But, ladies, just like Zipporah, we can certainly be a hindrance to our husbands by our disobedience or lack of support.
No One Comes to God Apart from Christ
Verse 4 says, “Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after another god; their drink offerings of blood I will not offer, nor take up their names on my lips.”
It is a lie that there are many ways to God.
Allah is not the God of the Bible. False religions can’t lead us to God. Sincerity is not enough. Jesus said, “…those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4.24). We must worship in spirit (sincerity), but also in truth! And the truth, according to Jesus, is:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14.6).
Warning Against Causing Others to Stumble
Notice Jesus’ strong warning against being a stumbling block to others in verses 6-7:
6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
“Little ones” here is not just referring to children, but also spiritual “babies”—new believers or our weaker sisters. We are accountable for the example we set for others and should be willing to forego things that we may have the freedom to do if they might cause someone else to fall.
In verses 15-20 we have what is often referred to as the church discipline process. Many think the process is harsh and punitive, but that is not the spirit of this passage. We also tend to focus on the end of the process and think it only concerns church leadership. The most important verses may be verses 15-16.
Verse 15 says, “… if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”
This is NOT about you and how you have been offended, it’s about loving your brother or sister enough to say “this is hurting your walk with God and I love you too much not to speak the truth to you.”
Neither is this about becoming spiritual fruit inspectors always looking for and pointing out the faults of others! But we, also, need to be willing, when necessary, to risk being rejected or misunderstood in order to lovingly confront a sinning brother or sister because of our love for them.
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