Proverbs 1:8

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

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Children! Your future depends on obeying your parents. After introducing Proverbs (Pr 1:1-6), Solomon’s second proverb is to children about obeying their parents (Pr 1:8-9). A father’s instruction and a mother’s law can bring prosperity to your life. But rejecting their training will bring pain and trouble and an early death (Pr 15:10; 23:13-14).

The first proverb exalted the fear of the Lord (Pr 1:7). Of course, this is the foundation for every life, knowing and obeying your Creator (Pr 9:10; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; 112:1; 128:1-6; Eccl 12:13-14). But the very next rule for a successful life is to obey the parents the Creator God specially chose for you from the entire human race (Ex 20:12; Ep 6:1-3).

Not every father gives good instruction; not every mother gives godly laws. But Solomon and his wife were wise. Solomon had great parents, and he wanted his son to pay attention (Pr 4:1-4). If you have Christian parents that desire God’s best for you, there is every reason to fully obey them. And if you do not, God wants you to obey them anyway.

After fearing the Lord, the simplest way for children to be wise and avoid life’s pitfalls is to obey the hard-earned knowledge and affectionate wisdom of parents. What a fantastic thing! God has appointed an experienced man and woman with deep emotional ties as the personal guardians for every child. Why would a child ever disobey his father or mother?

But many fathers have said, “Why did he do that? I clearly taught him to avoid that problem.” Though the caring and experienced father warned his son about the danger of a choice, the son did not hear or remember the advice. He did not comprehend or retain the lesson, and he fell into the very pain and trouble his father tried to save him from.

Many mothers have said, “Why did she do that? I gave her a rule to never do that!” Though the godly and loving mother laid down a law to protect her daughter, the foolish girl chose her own way and reaped the bitter consequences. She forsook the law of her mother by neglecting the warning and choosing to do things her own way.

What causes children to be so foolish? They have only a fraction of the knowledge and experience their parents have. They are unable to identify or analyze the nature and causes of the dysfunctional lives around them. They are shortsighted, thinking only about the present, while their parents are focused on the future. They are emotionally captivated by peer pressure and childish foolishness. Their parents know them better than anyone else, including themselves, yet they persist in doing things their way. How foolish!

It is the sins of pride, rebellion, and self-deception. The child, though barely trained to use a toilet and drink from a cup, believes it knows more than its parents. It wants to experiment with sex, though its parents have slept together every night for at least 10 years before it could even conceive of sex. What presumption! It wants to spend all income rather than save, even though it has not provided one dollar for its own support.

Is obeying parents as important as the Bible makes it? Is disobedience worthy of the death penalty (Pr 20:20; 30:17; Deut 21:18-21; 27:16)? Definitely! Even if violating a parent’s laws does not bring severe direct consequences, God Himself demands strict obedience to uphold His ordained representatives, to provide for parental tranquility, and to introduce the child to authority for future prosperity. God Himself will destroy rebels.

Child! You have been warned about rejecting your parents. But God has also offered an incentive, if you will obey and honor them. He will give you a long life and bless it with good success (Eph 6:1-3)! Can you believe your good fortune? Two loving parents to teach you wisdom, severe judgment if you rebel, but supernatural blessings if you obey! It is all up to you. You can have everything in the way of peace and success by obeying.

Father! Are you giving your children the instruction they need to succeed in life and grow in favor with God and men? Your Creator has given you this duty (Eph 6:4). Mother! Are you laying down the law for your children to save them from the horrible troubles of this perverse generation? You are responsible along with your husband (Pr 6:20). Do not content yourself with raising children. Make sure you prepare them to please God in life.

Though the present generation thinks fathers and mothers are outdated – emphasizing instead one-parent homes, same-sex marriages, test tube cloning, and public zoo instruction, the word of God still stands as the always relevant and infinitely wise manual from your Creator (Ps 119:128; Is 8:20; I Tim 6:20-21). Any efforts to compromise, despise, or overthrow its laws will bring confusion and destruction (Pr 29:18; Ps 9:17).

Reader! Have you submitted yourself to the instruction and laws of your Father in heaven? If you neglect the preaching of His word, even your prayers become an abomination to Him (Pr 28:9). If you are not a prepared and focused hearer, He will strip you of any wisdom you think you have (Luke 8:18). The blessing and reward of hearing the truth preached is only for those who obey what they hear (Ps 19:11; Jas 1:21-25).