Wise Words for the New Year 3. Wisdom for the Family
Proverbs 24: 11 – 12
I suspect some of you have dropped the ball in your family relationships and responsibilities. I pray this message will contain words of life to help each of us get up off the ground and in the process, that we would help those around us. 2 weeks ago we learned to be wise in God’s eyes, we must revere and draw near in the New Year. Last week we were challenged to make this commitment: I will use my tongue to launch life instead of delivering death. As we continue in our series on Proverbs, our focus is on discovering practical wisdom for the family. We’re going to look at several passages and give a synopsis for each of the key roles on the family team: husbands, wives, parents, grandparents and children. I recognize this topic may be difficult for some of you. Perhaps you’ve been deeply hurt by a spouse. Some of you are divorced or widowed, and others of you have never been married. Maybe you’ve not been able to have children or your kids have gone astray, and in some cases, your parents did some pretty bad things to you. My intent is not to make you feel guilty. I simply want to share what Proverbs teaches on the family so those who are currently married will treasure their spouses more, so grandparents and parents will take it up a notch and so children and young adults will develop greater respect and honour for those God has put in authority over them.
Wisdom for Husbands
Proverbs provides at least 3 key challenges for husbands: 1. Rejoice in your wife. One of the best ways to honour your bride is to find joy in your relationship with her. Proverbs 5: 18 “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Husbands, when was the last time you thanked God for your wife? Proverbs 18: 22 says divine delight is poured out on a husband Wise Words for the New Year 3. Wisdom for the Family
who recognizes God’s goodness in the gift of a wife: “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” 2. Value your bride. Proverbs 31: 10 “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels.” Don’t take your gift for granted. Value her by spending time with her. Proverbs 31: 28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” Guys, does your wife know she is more important to you than anything else in your life? That’s a challenge during the Rugby World Cup, isn’t it? 3. Pursue purity and faithfulness. Proverbs provides some graphic warnings against adultery. Proverbs 5: 22 “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.” If you’re starting to stray from your marriage, don’t be fooled by the allure of someone else. Rejoice in your wife and value her for who God has made her to be. Proverbs 5: 15 “Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.”
Wisdom for Wives
1. Focus on faithfulness. Not surprisingly, wives are to work at maintaining faithfulness as well. Proverbs 2: 17, 18 warns a wife “Who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed.” God’s plan is for monogamous marathon marriages between one man and one woman that last a lifetime. 2. Cultivate your character. Proverbs 12: 4 “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to cultivate your character by giving attention to your spiritual development. You certainly don’t want to drive your husband away by constant quarreling, or even nagging. Proverbs 21: 9 in one paraphrase paints a vivid picture: “It is better to live in the corner of an attic than with a crabby woman in a lovely home.” 3. Bring good to your husband. Reinforce your husband’s significance is by following the example found in Proverbs 31: 12 - a good summary of a godly wife’s desire: “She does him good,
and not harm, all the days of her life.” Do you think the best of your man by encouraging and building him up? Or, are you more like the woman in Proverbs 27: 15 “A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike.” Wisdom for Parents
Proverbs gives several commands for parents to follow. Let’s focus on just 3 - 1. Revere God. Fearing God is not only the way to wisdom, it’s the prerequisite for parenting. Proverbs 14: 26 “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.” When God is our number one priority, our children will find our reverence to be a place of refuge. 2. Provide instruction. One of the most significant parenting jobs is to teach and train our children. Proverbs 1: 8 “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” As we learned last week, our words have a tremendous impact on people, especially those in our family. Proverbs 16: 21 “Sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.” If we want our children to learn, we must use encouraging words of life with them. 3. Deliver discipline. God has positioned parents strategically in order to provide discipline and correction for children. Proverbs 29: 15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.” When we correct our children, it’s important to do so out of love. Proverbs 3: 12 “For the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” If you delight in your children, you will discipline them. In other words, we’re really doing our children a favour when we discipline them. Someone has said, “The parent who is afraid to put his foot down will have children who step on their toes.”
Wisdom for Grandparents Proverbs also has words of wisdom for grandparents. One grandparent told me, “If I had known how wonderful grandchildren are, I would have had them before I had kids!”
For 2 solid hours a grandmother talked about her grandchildren to a man sitting next to her on a plane. She showed him pictures of all 8 grandchildren and described each one to him. After talking for so long she suddenly realized she had dominated the whole conversation. As the plane was preparing to land, she said, “Oh, I’ve done all the talking, and I’m so sorry. I know you probably have some things you want to say. Please, tell me…what do you think of my grandchildren?” 1. Make a difference in the lives of the next generation. Proverbs 17: 6 “Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.” Your children may have kept you poor, but their children will make you rich. 2. Leave an inheritance of wisdom, knowledge and faith. Proverbs 13: 22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” Live your life now in order to that will continue long after you die. 3. Before passing on, make sure you pass it on by leaving a legacy. Psalm 78: 4 “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” As a grandparent, you are designed with a grand purpose to make a grand impact. Some of you are bridging the gap between parents and children and God is using you mightily. You are “grand” in my eyes! Keep it up.
Wisdom for Children
Proverbs also provides practical principles for children, teenagers and young adults. 1. Grow in wisdom. Much of the Book of Proverbs is arranged as words of wisdom from a father to his growing son. Proverbs 2 challenges children to accept wisdom and apply understanding. Proverbs 10: 1 “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.” Don’t ruin your lives. Here’s how to do it - • Believe this life is all about you • Do whatever you want • Live for immediate gratification
2. Choose friends wisely. Some of you are struggling spiritually because of the friends you hang out with. Proverbs 28: 7 in the paraphrase: “Whoever keeps the law of God and man is a wise son, but he who is a companion of gluttons and the carousing, self-indulgent and extravagant, shames his father.” (Amplified) 3. Listen to instruction. When we were younger we often blew off what our parents told us. Can I encourage you to listen to what your mom or dad are trying to tell you? 19: 27 “Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” I know many of you don’t believe this, but even the discipline you receive when you mess up is a good thing. Proverbs 15: 5 “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.” 4. Respect your parents. Some of you may feel like your parents are out to lunch, and sometimes we are, but it’s important to respect them. That sure beats the alternative graphically presented in Proverbs 30: 17 “The eye that mocks a father and scorns to obey a mother will be picked out by the ravens of the valley and eaten by the vultures.” Let’s summarize. • Husbands, work at affirming your wife’s need for security. • Wives, strive to make your husband know he is significant. • Parents, provide an atmosphere in the home where your children feel supported. • Grandparents, focus on making your grandchildren feel special. • Children and young adults; follow God’s ways in order to be successful.