A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Son, give me your heart (Pr 23:26). This proverb is for you. Let it sink deep in your soul. God in infinite wisdom gave you to me to train to be great in life. If you reject or resent my instruction, you are a fool and will suffer painful consequences. If you receive and obey my correction and reproofs, you are wise and will be great. I promise. I love you.
As is true with all the proverbs, there is also wisdom for girls and mothers here. The same rules apply to daughters and their father’s instruction and reproofs. And mothers may also give instruction and reproofs to sons and daughters, along with fathers (Pr 1:8; 6:20; 31:1). The lesson of the proverb is that wise children will hear and obey their parents.
My son, God gave me several advantages to help you. Only foolish and wild sons reject a father’s advice and warnings. Wise sons will leverage their father’s advantages to be greater than him. And this is my strong desire for you, son, to outstrip and surpass me, but you will only do it by receiving my experience and wisdom. Do I have your heart?
Son, how do you respond to my instruction and reproof? Do you bristle? Does your face cloud up with rebellion? Do you argue? Do you harbor hatred in your heart? Do you get bitter? Do you sneak around my advice and rules? Do you quietly listen with intent to disobey? Do you think I am ignorant? Do you think I do not care about you? These are lying sins from hell; they will take you down to destruction and trouble. Trust me, son!
A prudent and wise son desiring a great future will seek his father’s counsel and listen eagerly to any advice he can gather. He will not be offended by correction, restrictions, or repeated warnings. Son, can I convince you to trust me? There are reasons I can help you, and I want to give them to you. Will you consider why God chose me to be your father?
Consider my age, son. I have already lived your life – and far beyond. Your age is less than my time as an adult to reflect on what would be best for you. The next five years of your life, which you cannot see, are old experiences with me. I have already lived this decade and the next decade of your life. I already know what they hold for you. I learned what worked and what did not work. I suffered, and I succeeded. I want you to do better.
Consider my perspective, son. Due to the vanity of youth, you have a short-term view of life. You are worried about today. But I am worried about twenty-five years from now, when you will face difficulties and responsibilities you cannot even imagine yet. You cannot look ahead like I can look ahead, son, because I am already there. You are preoccupied with the things in front of you. I see way past them. A pretty girl gets you very excited, but I carefully measure the character needed for a happy silver anniversary.
Consider my affection, son. I loved you the first time I saw you. I was already older than you are now. I never want you to be hurt. No matter whom you marry or meet in life, they will not love you as much as I love you. They cannot. Their love will be mixed with selfish motives, unlike mine. A wonderful wife may love you, but she will not have your perfection before God and man as her chief goal. But that is my only goal for you, son.
Consider my experience, son. Are you thinking about a car? I had bought and sold cars before you were born. Are you thinking about a wife? I have been married more days than you have had breath. Are you thinking about dealing with enemies? I have had many enemies; I have survived them; I can help you. I have done what you do not know how to do. Trust me. I have experienced pain and trouble, and I want to save you from all of it.
Consider my knowledge of you, son. I was analyzing you before you knew you were alive. I have memories of years of your life that you cannot recall. I am not affected by the passions of your youthful heart. You are lost in many ways right now due to your youth, but I can see clearly what would be best for you. I have watched you react to many situations as a child, and I know you better than you know you. Let me help you, son.
Consider my neutrality, son. I am not blinded, or even influenced, by passion for a girl, car, toys, or other foolish pursuits that captivate you. I am an objective observer. I am an impassioned bystander, except I love you and want the best for you. The lusts and peer pressure that control you at times are not in me. I just see the cold facts and how they will affect you in the future. If you want objective advice, trust my counsel and instruction.
Consider my origin, son. You did not pick me, and I did not pick you. How are we father and son? God chose me from three billion men to be your father. God chose you to be my son. If you resent me, you resent the Lord Jehovah’s choice. There was no accident in this arrangement at all. The blessed and kind God knew what you would need to be great, and He helped me learn those things to help you now. God put us together, son.
Consider my religion, son. I am not just your biological source of life. I am a son of the Most High God. I am a servant of the Lord Christ. I am bound by the fear of the Lord, the love of Christ, and the truth of Holy Scripture to guide you in the wisdom of heaven. My thoughts of you and for you are grounded in the Word of God. My motives toward you and the content of my advice are based on God’s inspired wisdom. My religion is the only true religion, and God measures everything I say and do toward you. Trust me.
Father, tell your sons these things and help them understand them. Do not let your son walk away from a confrontation without reminding him of the choice he is making right then – one of wisdom and parental honor by loving and obeying you or one of devilish wickedness and parental dishonor by rejecting you. Lay out the consequences to him.
Father, are you giving instruction and reproof? Or is your son floundering through life without much from his father. You had better be helping him, or you are a bigger fool, for you are sacrificing a precious life entrusted to you by the LORD Jehovah. Get with it!
There is only one perfect Father. For those that truly fear God and believe on His Son Jesus Christ, they should say, “Thank you, blessed God, for being my Father! Forgive me for every time I have despised and disregarded your instruction and reproofs.”