And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4, NKJV)
Fathers have a supreme responsibility of guiding the instruction and rearing of their children. Fatherless homes are not God’s norm, for it is God’s will that fathers lead in educating their sons and daughters in the way of the Lord. God gives sound counsel and command to fathers not to exasperate their children to angry outbursts as they train them. Respect cannot be demanded by the father of his children; it must be earned. That requires treating your children with fairness, honesty and the guiding principles of faith from God’s word of truth. Fathers (and mothers) must live their faith before their children as well as teach it to them. And, when necessary, warnings and corrections are in order to train them to make good and righteous choices (Heb. 12:9-10). Our heavenly Father trains us by His word, as well as through the trials of life (Heb. 12:3-11). Such training is an attribute of the Father’s love for us, His children. Like God, fathers who teach and correct their children are showing love for them, while avoiding provocations to wrath.
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: 3 “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:1–3, NKJV)
God knows the importance of children obeying their parents. When God spoke the Ten Commandments to Israel from Mt. Sinai, He made honoring their parents the condition upon which He would bless them with long life in the promised land (Exo. 20:12). The home is the training ground for honoring and obeying God Himself. Obeying parents develops moral accountability in children, preparing them to also honor and obey God. Disrespectful, disobedient children grow up to disrespect and disobey the heavenly Father (Rom. 1:28, 30; 2 Tim. 3:1-4). While the obedient child obtains blessings from God and men, the rebellious child equips himself for a painful life and eternal sorrow. “My son, keep your father’s command, and do not forsake the law of your mother” (Prov. 6:20).
10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. 11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. 12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. 13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; keep her, for she is your life. (Proverbs 4:10–13, NKJV)
Parental instruction, given in harmony with God’s word, will bless your child. The parenting model that says, “I let my child decide for themselves” will ultimate result in juvenile, even foolish and harmful decisions. (What if the child decides to play in the street?) Children need guidance, they are not “free range” animals, to come and go at will. Teach your child “in the way of wisdom” and lead him or her “in right paths” by your own example of righteousness. Do not hinder your child by given them unclear teaching and ungodly influences. Teach them in the way they should go (Prov. 22:6).
24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:24–25, NKJV)
A godly mother is a great blessing to her children. She guides her household in the path of righteousness with loving wisdom and enduring patience. She rejoices to see her children walk uprightly, doing the will of God. Her heart aches when those she bore refuse her guidance, ignoring the right ways of the Lord. Today is Mother’s Day, and mothers across the land will be honored by their children. The wise child honors mother every day through kind words, generous deeds, and righteous obedience to the will of God. That is the best Mother’s Day gift the godly mother will ever receive from her children. Honor your mother this day by giving her these reasons to rejoice and be glad.
1 Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; 2 For I give you good doctrine: Do not forsake my law. 3 When I was my father’s son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4 He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. (Proverbs 4:1–4, NKJV)
Isn’t it amazing how much wiser our parents became by the time we were twenty-five years old than when we were fifteen?! Of course, it was not that they had a spurt of wisdom, but that we matured and began to appreciate the understanding and wisdom they had all along. The seasoned counsel and experience of parents will be listened to and followed by the wise child. God has so arranged that each generation is helped grow to maturity by the wisdom of godly, parental instruction. Do not resist the “good doctrine” of your parents. Your will have a blessing in your life as you accept and follow your parents’ wise guidance.
I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. (Romans 7:9, NKJV)
Babies are not born sinners; they are innocent before God. The Bible says “unless you are converted and become as little children you, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). Sinners are converted from sin and death into newness of life, not the other way around. Therefore, we correctly conclude that children are innocent and not sinners before God. This is what Paul describes in today’s verse. When Paul was a child he was “alive”, that is, he was not dead in sin. He did not have a corrupt nature. When he grew to an age of moral capacity he became responsible to keep God’s commands, one of which said, “You shall not covet” (Rom. 7:7-8). But, when tempted, he yielded and committed sin, producing his spiritual death. He needed to be saved from his sins. Like Paul and everyone else, we are sinners by choice, not by physical birth. We can choose to be “born again” and be doing so, become as a little child – humble and free of sin.
The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son makes a glad father, But a foolish son is the grief of his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)
Solomon bears witness to a fundamental principle of humanity: Parents are made joyful when their child walks in wisdom. There is no greater joy, John would say, “than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4). Conversely, few sorrows are more profound and drive deeper into the core of a mother’s heart than watching her child make foolish, godless decisions. (See Proverbs 15:20 for a parallel verse.) Foolishness can be driven out of the heart of a child by applying the consistent “rod of correction” (Prov. 22:15). Teaching a child to fear the Lord helps them begin a life of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). Fathers (and mothers), instruct your child to fear the Lord. Correct your child while there is hope (Prov. 19:18). You are equipping your child to be wise. Child, realize there is no future in foolishness, only empty dreams and eternal regret. Walk in truth and bring joy to your parents – and especially to God.
Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.” (Judges 13:8, NKJV)
A young family in the church was blessed last night with their first child – what a joyful event! The love and innocence of a newborn child reminds us of the wondrous love of God and His ever-present care for us. What an awesome task parents have to guide an immortal soul in the way of the Lord. If you are a parent, there is no greater counselor than the Lord to show you what to do for your child. Seek His help as parents through prayer and through the instruction of His word. With the Lord’s help, one day you can join John the apostle in saying, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4).
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
Parents who are teaching their children to be obedient are laying a good foundation for them to also obey God. By obeying their parents, children learn to show respect, to be responsible and to be prompt in fulfilling their duty. “A child left to himself brings shame to his mother”, but a child who receives correction “will give you rest” (Prov. 29:15, 17). God is pleased when children obey their parents. He is also pleased when parents do the difficult but necessary work of training their children to obey father and mother — and God.