The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
How can a father be happy? The answer is simple – if his son is righteous and wise. How can a father be grieved? The answer is just as simple – if his son is foolish and wicked.
This is Solomon’s observation and desire, for he had many children himself (Pr 23:19,26). This is also Solomon’s encouragement to fathers to train their children for the great delight they can provide (Pr 4:1-9; 22:6,15; 29:15,17). This is Solomon’s warning to children to honor their fathers by righteous and wise lives (Pr 20:20; 27:11; 30:11,17).
Solomon trained his children (Pr 4:1-2), as David had trained him (Pr 4:3-9), but they both lost their children to foolish wickedness e.g. Amnon, Absalom, Adonijah, and Rehoboam. They were too busy (II Sam 15:1-6; Eccl 2:4-11), too lax (I Kgs 1:6), and lived horrible examples (II Sam 5:13-16; 11:1-27; I Kgs 11:1-8; II Chr 11:18-23; 12:1).
Fathers, there is great joy in righteous and wise children. Hear Solomon’s wise observation. Why will you risk the pain and shame of foolish and wicked children by not training them as you should? This book of Proverbs is filled with warnings and rules about their training, and it is filled as well with precious content for thorough training.
Are you too busy, like David and Solomon? It is profane to be too busy for this great duty from God (Pr 22:6,15; Eph 6:4). Will you be lax and avoid tough love (Pr 19:18; 23:13-14; 29:15,17)? Look what it cost Eli (I Sam 2:27-36; 3:13). What kind of example are you? If they turn out just like you in public and private, will they be righteous and wise?
When will you start? Later? When your children are older? You are foolish and lazy. God commands you to do it when they are young (Pr 19:18; 22:6). Do it before it is too late, when they will have their character formed and it is difficult to alter it, and when you have lost some of your younger strength and zeal for effective training. Train them today!
Righteousness and wisdom are learned behaviors. You convey them by example, instruction, and punishment. While you should pray for God’s blessing and mercy in the lives of your children, He expects you to be showing them righteous wisdom, teaching them about it, and enforcing their performance, for that is the means He chose for them.
Child, the Bible commands you to obey and honor your parents (Ep 6:1-3). Obedience is a simple and small duty of a righteous and wise child – doing what you are told. To honor parents is higher and larger and lifelong – doing things to comfort, help, please, exalt, and reward them. If righteous wisdom brings great joy, you should seek such to honor them.
Being righteous and wise also pleases the God of heaven, your Creator, for that is His commandment for your life (Eccl 12:1,13-14). Thus it is a win-win situation. You must choose to be righteous and wise to please your father on earth and your God in heaven. Do not think you can neglect either, for He is just and righteous to punish all iniquity.