“When I was a son …”

Solomon in today’s chapter in the Proverbs reflects on how his father taught him. “When I was a son with my father … he taught me and said to me, Let your heart hold fast to my words; keep my commandments and live; get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:3-5). Interesting word “insight” – the chapter started with, “Hear, O son a father’s instructions and be attentive, that you may gain insight” (verse 1).

Other modern versions render it as gaining “good sense” – looking “inside” a matter. How do you do that? How deeply do you think through decisions, weigh up all the pros and cons? Where do you get your “scales” from so you can weigh up your decisions? Do you consider God’s principles – or are you totally motivated by human desires?

“Hear my son”, Solomon continues, “and accept my words that the years of your life may be many” (verse 10). He adds, “be attentive to my words … Keep them within your heart … keep your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life … ponder the path of your feet then all your ways will be sure” (verses 20,21,23,26).

So Solomon listened to his father David and before David died he appointed him king (1 Kings 2:1-4). It is likely too that Solomon was taught by his mother as most think that the reference to “King Lemuel” in Proverbs 31, is a code name for Solomon himself.

But the tragedy is that Solomon in his old age failed to prepare his son Rehoboam for the kingship, nor is there any indication that he had a wife who played her part in training the next generation. Remember, in drawing lessons from the Bible we are instructed just as much by the failures, as by the successes.

So many take little notice of instructions and only look at them when thy find what they have bought is not working properly, if at all. But that approach is fatal in human relations, when they break down they are extremely difficult to repair.

Of course, the relationship that matters above all else is our relationship with God and with His Son. We call, or should call, God “Our Father”. Does our heart fully embrace the wonder of the fact that we are a Son (or a daughter) of the living, all seeing Creator of all that exists? Reading His word every day is an essential part of developing that relationship to its wonderful fullness.