PROVERBS 6: 20-24
A MOTHER’S TEACHINGS
The warnings against adultery in Proverbs are prefaced by admonitions to pay attention to the Word of God (5:1-2; 6:10-24; 7:1-5). It is by trusting and obeying the truth that God keeps us from believing the enemies lies. God watches over us, protects us, and directs us through His Word (CIT).
Certainly children will be kept out of harms way by heeding their father’s and mother’s instructions. Mothers are far more than baby sitters. They are building human life, the most important work in all the world. God has given parents the responsibility to direct the children with which He has blessed them.
Some see the law of God as a tyrant which prevents us from enjoying life. Others see the law of God as a burden which binds us with its heavy load. Solomon says that the law of God is a light. That is, the intention of God’s teachings are not to restrain us but to liberate us, not to make life miserable but to help us find and enjoy life.
I. Hold Instruction Tightly, 20-21.
II. Taught in Life, 22.
III. Corrected and Disciplined, 23-24.
Once again in verse 20 Solomon exhorted his son to heed his mother’s instructions. "My son, observe the commandment of your father, and do not forsake the law (teaching) of your mother."
"Commandment of your father" is usually used to signify parental authority but here in addition to the general formula "the teachings of your mother" is singled out. [Male pronouns are used throughout the Bible usually in the generic sense (including women) representing all the race. It is not to be inferred from this that the male gender is responsible for all the problems--nor that it is endowed with all the answers.] The use of command and law shows that obedience is not a matter of option or choice but of responsibility or rebellion.
Both mothers and fathers (1:8; 4:3) are given authority by the Supreme Authority to instill the Word of God into the hearts of their children. The home is to be a school where children are nurtured. Parents are to act as channels to convey the Word to the hearts of their children. Parents in a sense are mediators between God and their children for a while. What you give them, they receive; what you tell them, they believe. This faith is part of their make-up. Weigh that responsibility well and practice what you impress upon their tender hearts. First ideas and habits are most important because they give direction to their course and tone to their character throughout life.
Your children are picking their instruction up from you. Are you teaching them God’s instructions? Or do you let them pick up their instructions from the world? Or from your fallen nature?
A mother who desires the best for her children will pour out God’s teachings through her lips and into the infant’s ears so that his soul might be converted and he might become wise. Are you the channel through which the milk of the Word pours through into your child? (See1 Peter 2:2.)
Verse 21 advises us to adhere to the instructs inwardly and have our life graced by them. "Bind them continually on your heart; Tie them around your neck,"
Wisdom speaks through the father, reinforcing what the mother has taught. The father tells the child that it’s of critical importance that the words of the mother be remembered and acted upon throughout life.
How is the child turned into a true man? His life hangs upon whether he will take his godly mother’s teachings to heart. Will he take them with him or leave them in the nest as he flies away. The moral condition of the sons of the world hang in the balance of whether or not their mothers teach them godly morality, and on their fathers reinforcing them & then on the son taking them with him when he leaves home.
In the pliable times of childhood, the character is chiefly molded by the mother. "Psychiatrist estimate on the basis of their studies that approximately 85 percent of the adult personality is already formed by the time the individual is six years old" [Christian Child-rearing and Personality Development by Paul Meier, MD]. That is why binding is of such critical importance if positive change is to occur later in life.
So the son is commanded to bind them and tie them. The metaphors of tying or binding (1:9; 3:3, 22) depict the tenacity with which wisdom is to be grasped because of the constant key role it plays in every aspect and activity of daily life. How can you do that? Scripture memory straps the truths of God to you. The word translated "bind" means "to tie together, to bring something in connection with something else." Our word correlate fits. Scriptures correlate so much better when we store them up. Scripture tied to Scripture, tied to love & life. For they help us come to terms with life and give life better sense when certain Scriptures are in place in our heads. Life is a rough journey so God’s Word needs to be bound & tie in our heart and mind. If not the jolting, scrapping and falls of life may cause them to slip away.
Notice they are bound and tied to the heart, not merely in the brain but tied into the very core of your existence. From there they should be applied constantly--"Bind them continually." They are not merely for occasional use or only for certain things but for all and forever. Do not lay them aside even for a moment. For wherever you go on street deceitful and seductive influences could be lurking.
II. TAUGHT IN LIFE, 22.
Verse 22 teaches that parental instruction provides guidance, protection and counsel in the various settings of life. "When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you; And when you awake, they will talk to you."
If you will take the godly teachings of your mother, they will do some special things for you in critical areas of your life. They will be close and true friends.
First, godly instruction will guide you when you walk or during the active part of your life, like when you are working or at leisure. How we need guidance as we live our lives today for it is so easy to be swept away by the voices we hear around us and by the impressions we still have within us. The Word of God is a light which will guide us.
Second the word watches over you when you sleep, or are at rest. When we are at rest, during the helpless hours of sleep, the law of God will protect us. How does the law of God protect us in our time of rest? The law puts us in a relationship with God and gives us the confident assurance that if He is awake and in control, then we can rest.
Third, the word speaks ["speak" understates the attention wisdom pays to its wards] to you when you awaken to begin your day. When you are awake, wisdom will immediately enter into conversation with you and fill your thoughts with correct ideas and lead you in the right direction for that day. When our minds begin to whirl for another day, in the contemplation times of our lives, the Word of God will inform us.
The threefold time frame parallels closely the words of the Shema: "You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up" (Deut. 6:7). [Hubbard, David. The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol15 : Proverbs. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989, S. 105]
Jesus made a statement in John 8:31-32. "If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
The Word of God was written for us. If we will learn it and love it and listen to it, then in our active times it will guide us, in our leisure times, it will protect us, and in our times of contemplation, it will inform us. For the Word of God is light and life.
III. CORRECTED AND DISCIPLINED, 23-24.
Verse 23 provides a striking comparison between parental teaching of the Word to a lamp and light. "For the commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light, and reproofs for discipline are the way of life."
Parental teaching should be given from God’s Word so it can be like a lamp and a light, giving guidance to one’s conduct (Ps. 119:105). A lamp so full of light in this dark world is an inestimable gift. Divine instruction enlightens the person who will submit to it. God’s commandments direct people in every situating and circumstances to be and do what is right. Because of the Word of God no one need be in the darkness of ignorance to any human conduct or its consequences.
Reproofs of our waywardness will give us the discipline to go on in the way that gives and leads to life. Discipline (Prov. 1:2, 7), though painful (Heb. 12:11a), helps keep a person on the right path, leading us in the way of life.
Verse 24 continues the warnings against adultery started in chapter five. "To keep you from the evil women, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress."
From here through chapter 7 Solomon addresses wise counsel to men to guide them in their conduct concerning a woman or temptress of wickedness. The wayward (norîyâh) wife (2:16; 7:5; 23:27) is a sexually promiscuous married woman ("another man’s wife," 6:29). Alluring words ("flattering tongue" "smooth speech," "sweet talk") are a tool of (2:16; 5:3; 7:21) such women.
Those who neglect the parental teaching douse the light and fall into the snare of flattery. Wisdom, acquired from God’s Word taught by one’s parents (20-23), helps protect from sexual promiscuity and adultery (2:12, 16-19).
[Jesus said lust in the heart is the same in the eyes of the Lord as committing the act. Initial temptation is not sin, for we read that even Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 4:15). It is when we cultivate a temptation in our heart and play it out in our mind that we err greatly—just as if we were involved in the activity. Courson, Jon: Courson’s Application Commentary: Vol 2. Nashville, TN : Thomas Nelson, 2006, S. 193]
The Word of God in the mind and heart is like a guide who leads us on the safe path and protect us from attacks. It’s like a friend who talks to us and counsels us through life. We walk in light because God’s Word is a lamp. If we listen to God’s voice in His Word, we won’t fall for the enemies deceit and traps.
There must be many joyful meetings in the promised land when a son saved by the truth his mother taught him enters into rest and meets his mother there. Oh the joy! The ministering angels will stand back in reverence at the depth of love and appreciation that will overflow.
Dennis Davidson firstname.lastname@example.org