KEY SCRIPTURE Proverbs 1
My son, hear the instruction of thy father
Much of the book of Proverbs is about a father instructing his son and sometimes others and their children. That's a lot of instruction from a father.
Realising how vital fatherhood was, Solomon wrote and wrote on the subject. One could easily think fatherhood was his life's work.
Some call Solomon a failure in raising his own kids, as the one who took the throne following Solomon's death caused the dividing of the family of Israel. A father's job is to raise family-orientated children.
If we are awake, we find all of life is an instruction. Solomon wrote his proverbs from hindsight, observation, judicial cases, personal experience, provisions of the Law, and of course, his failures.
Putting his supposed parental failings aside, I prefer to focus on the riches he left our children and us. Due to his diligent work, we don't need to write proverbs of life's wisdom for our progeny; we teach from his.
Not many topics are missing from the 31 chapters, of which he wrote most. How to follow God and parents, conduct oneself in public, avoid lusts, trouble and fools, become wise and knowledgable, and what to look for in a good wife.
When I was in prison, a friend returned from a court case in Melbourne. While waiting there in the cells, he spent his days reading Proverbs from a Bible he found. He was astounded at the wisdom.
As we go about Father's Day, let's dwell on the riches in those chapters. Think about how many kings, queens, clerics, politicians, singers & artists, families, single parents, youth leaders, and other lives Solomon has steered in the right direction due to his strong desire to instruct. All famous Christian leaders have read those proverbs. From the disciples to the protestant reformers, from Spurgeon and Billy Graham to the Azusa Street revivalists, these written guideposts continue to bless all who allow the instruction to direct their behaviour.
On this day, we have much for which to be thankful and joyful.
Dear Lord, thank you for Solomon's desire to teach. Clearly, he got that from his father, David, who instructed us through so many Psalms. Thank you for the richness of guidance in each short sentence, sufficient to change a life.
Photo by Liane Metzler