Getting His Son’s Attention
Brian D. Dykstra, teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge” (Prov. 5:1-2).
Solomon continues the instruction of his son. The instruction is very personal and we feel we are eavesdropping on an intimate conversation. Although we can almost imagine the father and son talking together in the privacy of their home, God, our Father, wants the instruction to be much wider. Through the inspired Word, He will address all His sons in the church.
Solomon is about to present a new topic of instruction. He is preparing to instruct his son concerning the relationship between men and women. It can be difficult for parents to discuss this topic with their children. It can be awkward. However, if Solomon thought such issues must be addressed during his day and age, proper instruction on the relationship between the sexes is even more important today. There are few places in which the foolishness of the world is more on display than the relationship between the sexes. We are now at the point where a growing number of people believe male and female are “social constructs” forced upon people. The new claim is that a free society will recognize the individual’s right to determine one’s own sexual identity. Was Satan himself surprised with how well such a ridiculous delusion has worked?
Solomon prepares to explain the dangers a young man faces if he were to give in to the lusts of the flesh. He will present the beauty of a good relationship a true man of God has with his wife in contrast to the bitter results of giving oneself over to the satisfaction of sinful desires. God created man as a sexual being. Man’s sexual nature is not a result of his fall into sin. Man’s sexual nature became depraved, and only by God’s quickening grace can a husband and wife find the blessings of an undefiled marriage bed. In His lovingkindness for us, our Father will teach us how important it is for us to govern ourselves.
Before beginning to speak on this important topic, Solomon needs to make sure he has his son’s attention. He commands his son to “attend.” The world presents us with distractions. Satan wants us to be caught up with the entertainments the world has to offer. The more attention we give to the world, the more we will think the world is a place where we may seek to amuse ourselves. We forget that the world is the setting for the great struggle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. The more we view the world as a playground, the less we will recognize the temptations surrounding us.
Isn’t that what the world’s entertainments are? They keep us distracted so we do not think life is serious, even filled with death. When we spend too much time entertaining ourselves, we will forget to “count our days and set our hearts on wisdom’s ways.” Satan does not want us to contemplate ultimate ends. If Satan can distract us enough, we will live for the moment and give ourselves over to the lusts of the flesh.
The son must attend to the father’s wisdom. There is a type of wisdom which is a negative attribute. Such wisdom is subtlety or craftiness, a means to advance oneself in the world at the expense of others. Solomon speaks of the wisdom which aligns with the will of God. This wisdom is crucial for recognizing the world for what it is for it sees God’s law as his light in this dark world.
The son is told to “bow thine ear.” By nature we are rebellious. We don’t want others to tell us how to live or give us standards of good and evil. We will stiffen our necks in pride, and determine for ourselves what we will do and what is right. We are the captains of our souls! Bowing takes humility. The son must recognize his father’s wisdom. The father has much more experience in life. Not only has the father learned many things from his own experience, but he has also observed the lives and the consequences of the decisions made by many others. Only by the renewing of our hearts by God’s Spirit will the son “bow” his ear and attend. A humble, bowed ear is the portal through which the Spirit gently turns our hearts toward Him.
Solomon tells his son to “regard discretion.” God warns us many times through the Old Testament prophets about living in times and places where good is thought to be evil, and evil is thought to be good. The warning fits our age. We must highly esteem God’s Word and the instruction we receive from it. We don’t need to spend much time with the news and entertainment media to see the world’s mad, head-first rush to its own destruction and judgment. Even sporting events have become venues for social activism. The need for the church’s young people to be able to tell the difference between good and evil is clear. One can hardly venture into the marketplace today to make a simple purchase and observe the general population without wondering, “What is wrong with these people!” The time we have to instruct our children to regard discretion could be short. We must make good use of our time.
Solomon wants his son’s lips to keep knowledge. One might expect Solomon to go back to previous warnings given in earlier chapters about keeping knowledge in the heart or readily at hand. Why does Solomon mention lips keeping knowledge? God has given Solomon wisdom so he understands the hearts of men. Solomon is about to teach his son about the dangers of the adulterous woman. How does adultery begin? It often begins with impure speech. A young man seeking sinful adventure will test the waters with daring speech. The adulterous woman will use flattering speech. The young man can determine by the woman’s response how she feels about him and the satisfying their mutual sinful desires. Protecting the lips from foolish speech prevents the first step down the path to ruin.
With how blatant the world is in its marketing of adultery, we shouldn’t leave our daughters out of this instruction. The world seeks to entice the young women as well. Parents shouldn’t worry about giving instruction concerning relationships too early in life. The world certainly isn’t waiting for our children to reach a certain age to present their corrupt version of sexuality.
May God bless our efforts in the home, church and school to instruct our children about the dreadful dangers of adultery and the great blessings God has in store for husbands and wives who regard His enlightening Word.