Parents, take this to heart. Proverbs 4:20, “My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.” This means obey me. Do what I’m telling you. “Let them not escape from your sight. Keep them within your heart, for they are life to those who find them.” He’s not talking to dead children here.
What does he mean by life? He’s not talking physical life. He’s talking spiritual life. Eternal life. He’s saying, son, if you will heed what I tell you; if you will obey what I tell you; if you will take these things and apply them and keep them within your heart, they will be life to you.
God designed it this way, parents. Parents, your child’s good is and must be your controlling motive. Do we not live in the belief that whatever might become of our children, that if they gain the whole world and they lose their souls, they’ve lost everything! And yet, Scripture comes along and says the path to everything has a lot to do with parents.
Listen to this: Proverbs 6:20, “My son, keep your father’s commandment.” Now we might come along and say, well, shouldn’t he be keeping the Lord’s commandment? Yeah, but you see, folks, God is telling you to keep your children obedient to you. And what I’m showing you is if your heart is after God’s; if your heart is after His truth and His ways and His righteousness, and you seek through your commandments, and through your rules, and through your discipline, and through your instruction, to impart to that child that.
Then what happens is, this can be said: “My son, keep your father’s commandment, forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always. Tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you. When you lie down, they will watch over you. When you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment…” What commandment? The commandment of the parents. “…is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.” When you instruct and discipline that child you are setting them on the way of life. That’s what Scripture teaches.
Brethren, we are people who God has called to live by faith. And this is one of the things He’s called you to live by faith in. That you raise your children in this kind of discipline and instruction of the Lord. Proverbs 19:18 “Discipline your son while there’s hope. Do not set your heart on putting him to death.” You know what Scripture’s implying? Guess what? All these people, disobedient to parent – they’re people that don’t acknowledge God. That is the path of death. He’s saying if you don’t discipline; if you don’t raise your children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord – if there’s no discipline, if there’s no rod, if there’s no correction and instruction and rebuke, if there’s no bringing your children into submission, you’re killing your children. One of the proverbs says you hate them.
And you can say, well, no I don’t. I love them. That’s why I don’t spank them. Listen, God says you hate them. Because what you’re doing is you’re allowing that child to go his own way. Children that go their own way die. Children that a parent – a Christian parent – will seek to say, as for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord. God said when He was looking at going down and destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, He said this: “I have chosen Abraham that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord.” You have Joshua saying, “As for me and my house, we’re going to serve the Lord.” You have fathers who are saying my children are going this way. (incomplete thought) The world out there can say parents shouldn’t force their religion on their children.
That’s not what God says. God says you take those children under your arm, and you say, child, as for you and me, we’re going this way. And you take them with you.