Summary: The biblical views of marriage and the family have often been ridiculed but now many are seeing the wisdom of following what God has to say. Since He is the Creator and Sustainer of life, when we follow God’s ways we will be blessed.
Wisdom for the Family
British anthropologist John Unwin conducted an in-depth study of eighty civilizations that have come and gone over the last 4,000 years and has discovered that a common thread ran through all of them. In each instance, they started with strong moral values and a heavy emphasis on the family. Over a period of time, these values declined and the family began to fracture. As the home hemorrhaged, all 80 nations imploded and eventually collapsed (As quoted by Zig Zieglar, “Sermon Illustrations”).
The need for wisdom that works and sanctified speech that builds up is perhaps nowhere more needed than in the family today. The Bible teaches that God established just three human institutions: the family (Genesis 2:18-25), human government (Romans 13:1), and the local church (Acts 2). According to Warren Wiersbe, of the three, the most important is the home: “As goes the home, so go the church and the nation.” (Wiersbe, “Be Skillful,” page 98).
As we continue in our series on the Old Testament Book of Proverbs, our focus this morning will be on discovering some practical wisdom for the family. Two weeks ago we established that our supreme quest in life should be to develop the fear of the Lord so that we can grow in wisdom. Last week we learned that our words have the power to lacerate a life or to give grace to people. What comes out of mouth either assassinates or encourages.
The Book of Proverbs is both a marriage manual and a parenting primer. I want to give a brief synopsis for each of the key relational roles: husbands, wives, grandparents, parents, and children and then conclude by celebrating the sanctity and dignity of human life.
I recognize that this message 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 your kids have gone astray, and in some cases, your parents did some pretty bad things to you. I understand and hurt with you. My intent this morning is not to pile you or make you feel guilty. I simply want to share what The Book of Proverbs teaches so that those who are currently married will treasure their spouses more, that grandparents and parents will take it up a notch, and that kids will develop greater respect and honor for those God has put in authority over them.
Wisdom For Husbands
Proverbs provides at least three key challenges for husbands:
1. Rejoice in your wife. One of the best ways to honor your bride is to find joy in your relationship with her. Proverbs 5:18: “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Husbands, when was the last time you thanked God for your wife? Having a wife is not meant to be a drag, but should instead bring you great joy. Proverbs 18:22 says that divine delight is poured out on a husband who recognizes God’s goodness in the gift of a wife: “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.”
2. Value your bride. Guys, does your wife know that she is more important than anything else in your life? That’s a challenge during the playoffs, isn’t it? Proverbs 31:10: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Don’t take your gift for granted. Value her by spending time with her. By the way, one of the most important things you can do for your children is to love their mother.
3. Pursue purity and faithfulness. The Book of Proverbs provides some pretty graphic warnings against adultery in Proverbs 5:22: “The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast.” If you’re starting to stray from your marriage, don’t be fooled by the allure of someone else. One of the best ways to maintain your faithfulness is to be captivated by your wife’s beauty as you rejoice in her and value her for who God has made her to be. Proverbs 5:15: “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well.” There’s more bedroom banter in chapter 5 but I’ll let you read it on your own!
I mentioned this in a previous sermon, but it bears repeating. I first heard this concept at the Family Life Conference (which is coming up at the end of February). Guys, your wife needs to feel secure in her marriage relationship. When you rejoice in her, value her more than anything else, and remain faithful by practicing purity, you will give her the gift of security.
This week as I was driving in my car, I tuned into WGN and listened to the “Cathy and Judy Show.” A guy called in and they asked him who he thought the hottest female actor was. They suggested some names. Penelope Cruz? Julia Roberts? The guy paused and then said, “My wife.” Cathy and Judy allowed a few seconds of stunned silence to go by and then said, “Good answer. Good answer.” Guys, that’s always the right answer!