Peter Misselbrook's Blog
May 21 2019 - Proverbs 2 – What our children learn from us

In these opening chapters of Proverbs, Solomon is seeking to pass on his God-given wisdom to his son, particularly, no doubt, to Rehoboam who will succeed him as king. But his words are not for Rehoboam alone; they are recorded here for our learning that we too may live to please God.

This is how Solomon begins his instruction:

My son, if you accept my words
   and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
   and applying your heart to understanding –
indeed, if you call out for insight
   and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
   and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD
   and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
   from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  (Proverbs 2:1-6) 

But children learn not only from our words of exhortation; they learn even more effectively from the pattern of our lives. Solomon may have pleaded with his son to live wisely, but he failed to practice what he preached. He allowed himself to be seduced by the trappings of kingship: wealth, splendour, power and women. He allowed himself to be led away from the Lord and into idolatry. He was planting seeds that would spring up to destroy his kingdom in the reign of his son, Rehoboam.

What are our children learning from us? And not just our children – you may not have any of your own – what is the younger generation learning from our lives as older Christians? What are young Christians learning from those of us who have professed to be Christians for many years? They may have heard us speak often of the importance of trusting Christ for salvation, following his calling and devoting our lives to the service of God. But what have they learnt from the pattern of our lives and the priorities displayed in the way we behave? Words are not enough.

Like Proverbs 1, this chapter also emphasises the need for us to listen – for us to turn our ears to wisdom. How well are we listening to God and applying to our own hearts the things he is saying to us? God is always ready to give wisdom to those who ask him (v. 6, cf. James 1:5); he delights to help his children learn and grow. Why not start each day asking God in prayer for the wisdom you need to respond to the demands of that day in such a way that you will be enabled to live well. The life well lived is not a burden or a chore but is "pleasant to the soul" (v. 10), as well as being a beautiful witness to others.

It is only as we live by the wisdom that God gives us through his word and his Spirit that we will enjoy the rich blessings he has for us as his people (see vv. 20-22). Encouraging younger generations, whether or not they are our own children, to live well for God is vital if the church is to thrive under God's blessing and to be the source of blessing to the society where God has placed us now, and in years to come.

Father, forgive us that our lives have sometimes drowned out our words and have turned others away from following you. Help us to be more like Christ, the word made flesh. May your word shape our lives, enabling us to live wisely and well. May our lives lived under your blessing, and the testimony of our lips, draw many others to follow the Lord Jesus in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. So may your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Peter Misselbrook