9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9–11, NKJV)
Fathers desire to fulfill the requests of their children. Indeed, fathers bear a particular responsibility to provide for their own house, and failure to do so is a grievous sin (1 Tim. 5:8). If earthly fathers give good things to their children when they ask, how much more does our heavenly Father do so. Jesus reasons from the lesser to the greater to impress upon us a fundamental truth: Our heavenly Father gives us the “good things” we need when we ask of Him. God hears and answers the prayers of His children, and He does so in ways that are best for us. God not only supplies our daily bread, He also supplies us with every spiritual blessing in Christ, which sustain our spiritual life. In the parallel passage of Luke 11:13, Jesus identifies the “good things” given by the Father as the “Holy Spirit” (whose presence confirmed the kingdom had come, Lk. 11:20; Matt. 12:28). God answers our prayers in harmony with His purposes and for our spiritual good. This is our faith as we pray to our heavenly Father.
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; 9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.” (Proverbs 1:8–9, NKJV)
A mark of maturity is the willingness to accept and follow wise, godly instruction from one’s parents. Tempering the boisterous confidence of youth with humility and sound judgment is the task undertaken by parental teaching and counsel. The blessed child learns to respect his or her parents by accepting and retaining the training they give. If your parents have taught you to fear the Lord and do His will, then thank God. And, so your thanks for them by living according to their wise and loving instruction.
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.
1 My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; 2 For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. (Proverbs 3:1–2, NKJV)
Little is more heart-rending to a father than to watch his son (or daughter) abandon the guidance and instruction he gave him for his good. A father’s commands are not given so he can have control over his child. They are given in order to help him live righteously. A father’s law is expressed to his son, not to restrict his child, but to teach him the blessings come from making right choices. A father longs for his son to have peace, therefore, he desires that his son will obey him from the heart. How much more, then, must our heavenly Father yearn for our heart-based obedience. Do not break your Father’s heart. Follow His will from your heart. You will have blessings now and in the end, eternal life. (If you have forgotten His law, then return to the Father in full repentance. He loves you and will receive you with joy.)