“Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction. . . ” (4:1a)
“When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me. . .” (4:3-4a)
“Hear, my son, and accept my words. . . I have taught you. . .” (4:10a & 11a)
“My son, be attentive to my words. . . For they are life to those who find them. . .” (4:20a & 22a)
One of my all-time favorite verses of Scripture is the 23rd verse of Proverbs 4: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Who doesn’t love this challenge? Who doesn’t want springs of life? Who doesn’t long to eagerly protect his/her heart so their life ‘overflows’?
And what daddy doesn’t want this for his kids?
I guess you caught the context of this Proverb. We don’t have to wonder what’s happening. A father is talking to his son. A dad instructing his boy. It’s how the 4th chapter in Proverbs starts and – just to make sure we get it – is scattered with reminders throughout.
To let us hard headed dads know HOW to help our kids guard their hearts. . .
By personally and intentionally pouring the ways and truths of God into their lives. It’s what dads do. In other words, God has ordained that children learn about the Godward life from mom and dad . . . and in particular from dad.
Is this to say that a child is doomed if he/she doesn’t have a dad around? No. God loves children too much to be that way. Does it mean that Sunday School teachers or youth pastors don’t matter? Of course not. God can and does use a plethora of ways to instill biblical instruction into children.
But the Bible is absolutely clear on God’s ordained means of THE BEST and MOST IDEAL way for children to learn, grow in, and develop biblical wisdom: Dads instructing their children.
Wisdom says, “Christian dads who want their children to have guarded hearts and a full life – GIVE THEM GODWARD INSTRUCTION!!!!”
Dad, why not start today? Before you go to bed tonight, open your Bible to Matthew 1 & 2 and Luke 1 & 2. Divide the Christmas story passages into 8-10 different short segments. Determine to read – with your children – the divided sections of the Christmas story between now and Christmas Eve. Maybe even calendar the times into your personal calendar. Instructing them anytime is important, but especially at Christmas.
Go ahead, do it. Ten years from now you won’t remember the score of the game that’s on. But I guarantee you’ll remember whether or not you did all you could to pour into your kids’ lives.