Train up a child in the way he should go...
Proverbs 22 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
On Life and Conduct
A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.
2 The rich and the poor have a common bond, The Lord is the maker of them all.
3 The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
4 The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
7 The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.
8 He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, And the rod of his fury will perish.
9 He who is generous will be blessed, For he gives some of his food to the poor.
10 Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, Even strife and dishonor will cease.
11 He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, But He overthrows the words of the treacherous man. 13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside; I will be killed in the streets!”
14 The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the Lord will fall into it.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. 16 He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your mind to my knowledge;
18 For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, That they may be ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord, I have taught you today, even you. 20 Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge, 21 To make you know the certainty of the words of truth That you may correctly answer him who sent you? 22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Or crush the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the Lord will plead their case And take the life of those who rob them.
24 Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man,
25 Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.
26 Do not be among those who give pledges, Among those who become guarantors for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay, Why should he take your bed from under you?
28 Do not move the ancient boundary Which your fathers have set. 29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.
Because we, as a society, have denied that there is truth, making all things relative and subjective, we see how far we have fallen from simple logic and wisdom. The writer of proverbs says: A good name is to be more desired than great wealth. Today, many will disregard the value of integrity and their name, compromising what they know to true and right, sacrificing it to the god of self gratification. The writer says: The rich and the poor have a common bond, The Lord is the maker of them all. This is true, not only regarding material wealth, but in all things, social standing, ethnic background and national heritage; male, female, tall and short, heavy or thin, God created all. The writer continues: The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it. The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life. Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them. We are all created equal in the eyes of God, created in His image and likeness. He has though given us all a free will, an ability to choose for ourselves what our path and our outcome will be. God cannot be blamed when people choose what is contrary to what God desires, what He rewards. We cannot choose the conditions or the circumstances we are born into. We can each choose evil or good, perversity or righteousness, darkness or light. In John 3:18-21 Jesus says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Because society has disregarded truth, many love and choose darkness.”
Perhaps one of the most profoundly obvious truths, from today’s text, that we are seeing played out in our current culture and society is: Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it. We no longer train children to be obedient and respectful. Instead, we have taught them to be self centered, to question and challenge authority and anything that makes them unhappy. We have taken the Bible and its values out of our schools and in its place we have violence, hatred and immorality. We have taught our children that they are nothing more than evolved apes, rather than that they are created in the image and likeness of God. Then, we wonder why they act more like animals, than intelligent, compassionate beings. We’ve aborted millions of babies, approximately 19% of pregnancies for an entire generation and we wonder why there is little value for human life. Now we are teaching, even our young children to question the way they were created, we encourage identity confusion. How can we believe the result will be anything less than a generation of confused adults? In our present culture, those who teach Biblical values to their children are accused of indoctrination. Society says children should make their own choices. Yet again in its hypocrisy, 19% don’t get to make the most important choice. Once they are past diapers and bottles though we heap freedoms, choices and decisions upon them which are far beyond their adolescent and pre-adolescent capabilities. Perhaps youth suicide and drug addiction is so high because we have stopped training our children and so forced them to decide for themselves far too early. That’s not a judgment on any who have lost children to either of these horrible outcomes, but rather a result of a cultural shift from truth. The writer says: Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him. If we fail to teach our children that there are consequences for doing and choosing poorly, we fail to teach them at all.
The writer ends saying: Do not move the ancient boundary Which your fathers have set. This is more true of boundaries set between good and evil, between right and wrong, then it is regarding geographic physical boundaries. Once we begin as a culture and society to change and move the boundaries of good and evil, there is no end to how far they will move. Those who challenge Biblical morality despise the slippery slope argument. Yet the results are obvious, what would not have been talked about in private a few generations ago is now shared openly. What would have been R or even X rated entertainment, is now in our advertising and our children’s text books. While it takes years, sometimes generations to move the ancient boundaries just a little once they begin to move they pick up momentum, like a boulder rolling down a mountain. Ironically our culture calls this moving of boundaries, this embracing darkness, enlightenment. God sees and calls it differently, He says: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20) Currently the boulder of our society’s choices is gaining momentum. Like a boulder rolling down a mountainside, bringing destruction to the village below, our choices will also bring destruction. There is another rock though which can save and protect us. Matthew 21:42-44 says: Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” The hope for our culture and our society is the hope of every individual, the rock that is Christ. If we will fall upon the rock of Christ we will be saved from the boulder of our own destruction. 1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” The burden of choosing for ourselves and placing that burden on our children has caused anxiety, stress and unrest. There is no end, no relief from that stress which the world can offer. The farther we move the boundary, the more choices and freedom we offer, the heavier the burden becomes. Jesus will give rest to those who choose to be joined to Him. Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit, for Your words of wisdom and truth. For Your love and for the peace and rest that comes from and through You. Amen.