Focal Passage: Proverbs 1:1-19
I was raised by parents who regularly quoted pithy old sayings to their children. My mom used to say, “There’s no fool like an old fool!” She usually said that when she heard about something outrageous an older man had done when he should’ve known better. Solomon’s words of wisdom to his son find as much, or more, application in our 21st century world as they did in his day. Solomon wanted to impart wisdom to his son because young people are naturally inclined toward foolishness.
Reading the opening verses of Proverbs we find the character traits that accompany the wisdom Solomon aims to teach, including discipline, righteousness, justice, integrity, shrewdness and knowledge. Some of these qualities are pursued often from a purely secular perspective. To counteract such a dangerous shortfall, he declared, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7a). To raise a child to possess selectively such traits as discipline, justice and integrity without the fear of the Lord is to raise a well-polished pagan. We must raise our children to embrace all the characteristics of wisdom and godliness, and wear them as the honorable jewels of God’s grace demonstrated through godly parents (1:8-9).
Many of the Proverbs of Solomon transferred wisdom from abstract concepts to practical life situations. We need look no further than Proverbs 1:10-19 to find living examples of miscreants being lured into theft and murder. Such sinners destroy themselves and others.
When my sisters and I were young we learned to never offer the “Everyone else is doing it!” justification for our mistakes or future plans. While other kids were warned about following crowds as they jumped off high buildings, our Baptist deacon father would reply, “If everybody else took a free ticket to hell, would you take one too?” Needless to say, the discussion was over.