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Parental Advice

Proverbs 1:8 (ESV) … “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching…”

This is the voice of a godly father, urging his son to listen to Wisdom and obey what he hears. Note that both the father and the mother have been involved in teaching the boy, and they both warn him not to abandon what he’s been told. These parents have obeyed the instructions of Moses (Deut. 6:6–9) and have faithfully taught their family the Word of God. But what will their children do with all this teaching?

The parents’ desire is that the children obey what they have learned, so that God’s truth will become a lovely ornament to beautify their lives, like a crown on a king or a necklace on a queen. Paul told Christian servants to “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:10), which simply means to make the Bible beautiful to others by living a godly life. Peter exhorted Christian wives to win their lost husbands by focusing on the imperishable beauty of Christian character rather than the artificial beauty of man-made glamour (1 Peter 3:3–4).

In Proverbs 1:15–19, the father tells his son how to avoid yielding to temptation. First, he says, check carefully the path you’re on and don’t walk with the wrong crowd. (This sounds very much like Ps. 1:1 and 2 Cor. 6:14–18.) If you’re walking with the wrong crowd, you’ll end up doing the wrong things.

Second, don’t play with temptation, because temptation always leads to a trap (Prov. 1:17). Birds don’t take bait when they can plainly see the trap, and people ought to be smarter than birds.

Third, when you disobey God by harming others, you only harm yourself (vv. 18–19). You’re free to take what you want from life, but eventually you’ll have to pay for it, and the price you pay is higher than the value you gain. You end up sacrificing the permanent for the immediate, and that’s a bad investment. [1]

[1] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Skillful (p. 25). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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