Proverbial Wisdom 2: Family
Proverbs has much to say about family. It might not make easy reading for those who’ve had difficult times with family, or who have lost loves ones, so this section is not meant to be insensitive or to blithely assume that everyone has been blessed with a great family. This is simply meant to share what stood out to me in the hope that it might encourage others in similar situations.
When it’s working right, family is such a valuable, God-given thing. We’re called to cherish our loved ones in each season of life, delighting in the wife (or husband) of your youth (5:18), raising children in a Godly way (22:6), and planning for the provision of future generations (13:22). These verses remind us to enjoy the here and now without forgetting to think about the future. We shouldn’t wish our time away, longing for future things at the expense of present joys, but neither should we be so wrapped up in the current season that we can’t see the bigger picture and be ready for what’s next. Like so much else in the Bible, it comes down to Stewardship. Stewarding your relationships and stewarding your finances, especially when it comes to family.
It encourages me to be the best parent I possibly can to Ethan, knowing that what I teach him now will stand him in good stead for all his life. Keeping my mind’s eyes on the adult I hope he will become helps me guide the child he is now. I want very much for this to be true of me: “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him” (23:24); and for Lucy to see this verse come true: “May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!” (23:25). How will I raise my son to be wise? By drawing on the wisdom of God, in Proverbs and throughout the Bible, and by leading him to the same fountain.
This book of wisdom also reminds me that a strong marriage is the best possible foundation for family life. It’s not all about Ethan. Putting all our focus on him at the expense of our marriage will lead to great harm and pain in the future. I need to remember that, but I will also teach Ethan by example to honour the women in his life. And what a topical point that is, when we see all too many prominent figures doing the opposite. When Ethan sees me praising Lucy (and there are so many reasons to do so, for she is a Wife of Noble Character), it will make it all the more likely that he too will one day “arise and call her blessed” (31:28).
This post is part of a 4-part mini-series on the Book of Proverbs. You can read the first part, together with the series introduction, here, and watch out for instalments three and four coming soon…