Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Model For Pleading With Our Children

I'm so often struck in reading Proverbs, particularly the first eight chapters, by the pleadings of the father to his son to listen, listen, listen to the father's words of wisdom, to his instructions. The words of wisdom he wants him to know are all the ensuing words of the whole book of Proverbs, from Chapter 1 to Chapter 31.  And then, Proverbs is a microcosm, if that is the right word, for the whole Bible. Every story, every teaching in the whole Bible reflects the wisdom of Proverbs in some way. The message of the Bible in this way gives evidence of itself to be divinely unified, divinely whole in authorship and purpose. But I digress. I was talking about the appeals of the father to his son to listen.

The first eight chapters of Proverbs are a model, a master design given from the Maker to parents who fear Him, for the upbringing and teaching of their children. The counsel of the father, his appeals to the heart of his son, his repeated warnings and insights and encouragements, show us how to appeal to our own children's hearts for the glory of God and their good. We have to flesh out all our instruction with the Old Testament accounts of God's dealings with Israel, his mighty deeds, and the dilemma of mankind, and then with the New Testament accounts of Christ's coming, and the revelation of His gospel. We have to teach our children all the Scriptures, which are able to make them "wise for salvation" (2 Timothy 3:15), and as we teach them the Scriptures we appeal to their hearts to get this wisdom.

And we pray, asking our Father in heaven to do what all our pleading and teaching alone can never accomplish-- we ask Him to grant them new eyes and ears to see and hear the truth and wisdom in His word. That is the work of His Spirit, and how we need Him to work! Our children need to be made new creatures in Christ who will love the truth and acquire this true wisdom.

Both are necessary-- the instruction of the Scriptures, the Proverbs-type of reminding and warning and showing; and the work that only God can do, the opening of eyes and understanding and the granting of faith.

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