Devotional Word for Wednesday, August 12, 2020
When I was growing up, I was taught that children should be seen and not heard. Does that sound at all familiar? Therefore, as a child growing up, I was not to engage in “adult conversation”. My viewpoints and my feelings were not to be voiced among adults.
If I happened to become trapped in a room of adults having a conversation, my respectful position was to sit or stand quietly, preferably off to one side or in a corner of the room, so as not to draw attention to myself or disturb their “adult conversation”.
Unfortunately, the learning of communicative skills using logic and reason was deficiently missing in my young development. To have something to say and be prohibited from saying it was the rule when in the presence of adults. Now, I know that this training from my parents was not intended to have this sort of negative impact. Their intention was for me to learn my place as a child or youth; to honor my parents by respecting my elders. To not become a nuisance or one that interrupts what was then viewed as “adult conversation”.
Much of what was considered “adult conversation” turned out to be of little or no consequence to me. They would gossip about family members, jump to the latest news headline, guess the outcome of a political election or sport’s team competition, talk about the latest fashion or weather report, and then return to gossiping about family. I really did not have much to say on those topics anyway. I found it all quite trivial, stuffy and boring, and I hoped that my name never came up in their “adult conversation”.
It was different at home when talking with my dad. He was a hard-working man, providing for our family the best way he knew how. He was not a well-educated man, but he made up for it with trades he learned over the years. He was a quiet man by nature, a man of few words. However, when my dad had something to say, you knew it came from his heart not just his head. Those were the times when listening proved to be a worthwhile experience for me.
My dad told me about God. He taught me from the Bible, and my parents took me and my siblings to church.
When I got older and did not want to go to church, I went anyway, because my dad insisted, I go; for he wanted me to know God. Despite my parent’s best efforts to raise me to know God and respect others, I rebelled as a teenager and went far away from God and from them. The parental training based on God’s truth was rejected and I later found out about the hard ways of a transgressor. Would that I had heeded my dad’s instruction and advice.
In Proverbs 4:1-9 we have godly, fatherly advice we need to read, hear, and follow today! “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, and give attention that you gain understanding, for I give you sound teaching; do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son to my father, tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments and live; Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth.”
“Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her, and she will watch over you.” ‘the beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom; and with all your acquiring, get understanding. Prize her, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.” “She will place on your head a garland of grace; she will present you with a crown of beauty.”
There are a few things we can take away from this passage.
First, is that this fatherly advice is ultimately from our Father in heaven and therefore when we listen and give attention to gain understanding, we know that our heavenly Father is giving us sound teaching. We need not question whether it is true and right because God always teaches us the truth.
Second, is that this fatherly teaching has permanent value for our lives. Therefore, we are told to hold fast and keep God’s commandments and to never walk from them. For God’s wisdom will guard and watch over you; but also, it will exalt and honor those who love and embrace it.
Third, is the prized result to those who so live by godly wisdom. Proverbs 4:9 says, “She will place on your head a garland of grace; she will present you with a crown of beauty.” Well, let me finish my story. By God’s grace, I was saved by faith in Jesus Christ. I was not only reconciled to God but was eventually reconciled to my parents. Today, I seek to live by this godly, fatherly advice from God, which my parents instilled in me. May we, as believers, realize the extreme value of the wisdom that comes from God, and take time to be quiet, listen, mediate, with willing hearts our heavenly Father’s words to us, and live as His beloved children.