The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
It is good to remember who wrote the jewels of wisdom called proverbs. He wrote mainly to his son and young men, so each son should consider his relationship to his parents. Not until he is a parent will he understand the joy and grief he can cause by his choices and actions. Let every young man consider his father, his mother, and His heavenly Father.
Solomon wrote the proverbs in the Bible, including this one. You are blessed to have the world’s wisest king as your personal advisor. And God inspired the selection of these few from the three thousand he wrote (I Kgs 4:32). The righteous can rejoice for having secret wisdom from heaven concisely defined and applied in short, pithy statements for them and their families. Thank you, God, for your divine library in the Bible and for Proverbs.
The world can make fun of the Bible all they want. Let them look to monkeys as their ancestors, debt as their economic panacea, unruly children as their future, lazy employees as their work force, corrupt officials as their government, liberated professional women as wives and mothers, transgender body mutilation as precious, and global warming as their project. The handwriting of disaster is already on the wall, and it will only get worse. Believers will rule in the end! Soon (Rom 8:17-23; I Cor 3:21-23; Rev 22:12)!
The first nine chapters are introductory, with long and continuing instruction contrasting divine wisdom to sinful folly. With this verse here, you are introduced to what are more properly proverbs – short and unconnected sentences setting forth profound wisdom for every part of life. While the whole book is proverbs, here are the individual jewels deserving your rapt attention as you examine them carefully to enjoy every facet.
The first one you have, in this verse, points to the value of godly training for the joy and deliverance of parents. If these proverbs are taught and required of children, such parents will realize the full blessing of a godly seed for God’s glory and their great pleasure. If these proverbs are neglected, the future is bleak, with calamitous heaviness instead.
Child, have you thought about your parents today? They each lived your life before you were born. So way back then, they were together twice as wise as you are now! Since your birth, they have accumulated much more wisdom and experience, while you took years learning not to mess on yourself and to get food in your mouth instead of your ear. You are so far behind it is scary to allow you to have any thoughts. Believe it, or suffer.
Your dear mother was nauseated, hot, and heavy as she carried you, but she already loved you and had wonderful thoughts for your life, as she decorated the nursery at home. Pregnancy, birth, and nursing took a toll on her body, yet she constantly doted on you. She cleaned your messes and fed you many times daily, and all you did was cry for more.
Later, when you struggled to make a tricycle, then a bicycle, work, your father managed his soul, his marriage, his job, his finances, his house, his car, and you, among many other things. He generated you, chose and provided for your mother, and daily invested in you, hoping for a wise and righteous son, who would grow in favor with God and man.
But most sons are too selfish, shortsighted, silly, and stupid to know how important their actions are to their parents. They cannot think beyond the next five minutes, and their only thought is to fill those five minutes with pleasure. The responsibility of being a parent is more than their mind and soul could handle, even if by a miracle they chose to try. Mature thoughts of future matters will not tickle a single brain cell until they are fathers, and only then will they think about how much their parents did and deserve.
A foolish son is the calamity of his father (Pr 19:13). It is one of his worst nightmares. The pain of seeing so much time, expense, effort, and affection go to waste sucks the life from his soul. It tears at his heart and spirit. Hear David cry for his foolish son Absalom, “And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (II Sam 18:33). Consider both Isaac and Rebekah’s grief at Esau’s foolishness in marrying unbelievers (Gen 26:34-35; 27:46).
If a son will consider these things and be wise, his father will rejoice. “My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me” (Pr 27:11). Solomon came from a horrible family, and he well knew the joy of a wise and virtuous son, so he emphasized the point often (Pr 15:20; 17:21,25; 19:13; 23:15-16,24-25; 29:3).
Likewise with mothers, you can be a great source of gladness in her heart (Pr 23:25). Or you can be a painful source of bitter heaviness (Pr 17:25; 29:15). How many mothers’ hearts have been broken by wayward and willful children? Only the LORD knows such large numbers! The heart that almost daily burst with affection and pleasure caring for the newborn is torn deeply by the cruel disobedience and foolishness of the sinful teenager.
Child, forget birthday cards, anniversary gifts, and such things, if you must. But do not forsake wisdom and righteousness – these two things will bring far more parental joy and pleasure. Instead of taking your parents to dinner, take your wife and children to dinner and love them like a perfect Christian husband and father. It will mean far more to all.
Honor your father today. Obey his instructions. Keep his commandments. Heed his warnings. Answer his questions. Communicate openly with him. You will never meet another person in life who cares for you the same way and to the same degree that your father cares. God handpicked him out of billions of options just for you. Believe it.
Honor your mother today. Keep the law of her mouth. Do her simple requests, now. Make your bed. Clean your room. Be virtuous. Avoid foolish girls and women. “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old” (Pr 23:22). Much of her life was invested in you and is still attached to you. Treat her kindly for it.
Father, consider this proverb yourself. Future joy or bitterness, for both you and your wife, are largely your choice today. Will you love and train your children faithfully, or will you neglect them to the heavy pain of both your souls? It is your choice. The wisdom of this proverb cuts both ways. Do you deserve wise and faithful children? Or do you deserve many dark years of public shame and reproach revealing you as a slothful parent? Faithful training will bear fruit – they will not depart from it in time to come (Pr 22:6).
Reader, do you honor your Father in heaven? If you are a child of God, He is your Father in a very dear and personal way. He adopted you by His predestinating grace, gave His only begotten Son to die for you, and He made you a joint-heir with His Son of the universe (Eph 1:3-6; Rom 8:15-17). The wiser you are in leaving this world’s foolishness and seeking Him, the more He will rejoice and draw close to you (II Cor 6:14-18; Jas 4:8; I Chr 28:9; II Chr 15:2; Rev 3:20). If you trouble Him, He will trouble you (I Sam 2:30).
Jesus Christ was the perfect Son to Mary, Joseph, and God. The Bible plainly tells us He obeyed His earthly parents (Luke 2:51). A woman who saw Him knew Mary was a very blessed mother (Luke 11:27). His happy mother followed Him during His life and watched him die (John 19:25-27). And His Heavenly Father? Hear Him declare, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17). Choose to follow His example.