A Wise Son Heeds His Father's Instructions... - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Biblical Wisdom
September 26, 2016

A Wise Son Heeds His Father's Instructions...

Proverbs 13:1 – “A wise son heeds his father’s instructions, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”

What sort of people should children aspire to be, and what ideal should parents hold before them? The Book of Proverbs praises adjectives like “obedient,” “respectful,” and “humble,” rather than today’s popular aspirations of “creative” and “independent.”

When a society embraces as a first principle the bumper sticker, “Question Authority;” when professors can’t say “truth” without gesturing scare quotes, and think their main job is to teach “critical thinking;” when everyone is intent on “seeing through” everything and everyone, so that eventually no one sees anything at all, then that society is rearing a generation of scoffers.

No one is born wise. Pride and self-deception insulate a child’s inexperience, our natural state, so parents face a challenge: the young and naïve resist being taught. To break through this resistance, mothers often begin with, “Pay attention!” Proverbs 13:1 amounts to Solomon’s “Pay attention.” Appealing to everyone’s ambition to be wise, he writes, “A wise son heeds his father’s instructions, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”

Parents and teachers, preachers and police, see the heed/refuse-to-heed scenario played out every day. “Do what I say and all will be well,” they say. “Blow me off, and trouble will follow.” Scoffers wave the warning aside and suffer.

Young King Solomon wisely obeyed his father David’s last words telling him to deal firmly with three men, General Joab, half-brother Adonijah, and former King Saul’s cousin Shimei (I Kings 2). Obeying his father, Solomon successfully consolidated his power as king. In contrast, Solomon’s arrogant son Rehoboam scoffed at his father’s experienced advisors and quickly lost most of his kingdom (I Kings 12).

Fathers and mothers aiming to raise wise children know two things: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom (1:7),” and “A wise son heeds his father’s instructions, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke (13:1).” Such parents will practice daily family worship with Bible reading and prayer. They will take their children to church. And they will teach their children God’s Word, including the proverbs of Solomon, one by one, as they walk the dog, eat fries at Chick-fil-A, drive to the orthodontist, and clean up Legos before bed.

-by Dr. Bill Edgar, Board of Trustees Member and Former President of Geneva College