When we hear kids in public speaking out against their parents, what is our first reaction? For me it is grief for the parents, sickening feeling for what they are going through. But there is also sadness for the ignorance on display by the child.
It used to be a smart response would bring a smarting correction. But not anymore. Parents seem to be frozen, unable to cope, or just outright ignore this blatant disregard for respect. And it shows. The children run the house. The parents, they are simply there as a friend, or someone to give what is desired. There is a breakdown of God given order of authority and position in the home.
In our text today, Proverbs 1:8-9, we see the charge for children to obey their parents. First is the instruction to hear the instruction of the father. In our culture, there is a great disparaging against masculinity and manliness in general. It is called toxic, patriarchal, etc. Men are told to be more feminized, whereas women are told to be more masculine. This is evidenced by our commercials, advertisements, policies, and society.
Men are often ignored, or at best made to look like a bumbling buffoon. From that we now have women who act like men, men who are incapable of using their God given backbone, and children who ignore both. And society is deteriorating and the decay is no longer just under the surface. It is now being seen. God designed families for a husband and wife. A male and female. When one is missing or is not functioning in their God given roles, then the end result can only be what we see today. Fatherless homes have higher percentages of crime and violence.
But that is where Proverbs comes in. If a father is doing his job as God commands fathers to do, then we will find that the son is to hear the instruction that is given. Not because the father knows everything or does everything right. But because there is wisdom in obedience to the parents. In Exodus 20:12, there is the command to honor the father and mother. This is for the best interest of the child (of course if the parents are actually doing their God given roles). For the child, there is a blessing connected to this obedience.
In Ephesians 6:2-3, obedience will bring a good and long life. None of us can think of anyone who wishes to have a short, miserable life. Yet that is what is desired when obedience to parents is not practiced.
But Proverbs 1:8 is not finished. They are to not forsake the law of the mother. Mother's, your femininity is under attack in our day and age. This culture says that a woman must exert herself in society. If she does not then she is nothing. But when you see the actions and attitudes of these type of women, it is not becoming. It is not honorable. More often than not, it is annoying and distasteful.
The Bible, and the women who live in their God given roles, are elevated. Yes, the Bible does not put women down, but elevates them to a much higher level than what our modern humanism is doing today. True femininity is not found in the world's system. It is found in the Biblical mandates.
I know this is counter cultural, but when a husband and wife both fulfill 1 Peter 3:5, 7-9, then the husband and living and doing exactly what he is supposed to do, the wife is free to submit and honor her husband, she is then free to be much more than what the demands of society puts on the woman. Mother's you are FREE. The Bible gives a great deal of wealth to you in this role - Proverbs 31:10-31, and the value you bring to the table in this family unit is powerful.
So a child is to listen to the father, but in Proverbs 1:8, they are not to forsake, or ignore, walk away from, the law of the mother. This is a cohesive whole as parents where the child is surrounded and protected by a fence of instructions and law.
A child needs these things. Our culture says this stifles the personality. That is false. These provide protection and barriers for the child. It was described that a child without the boundaries is like a child who is allowed to play in a yard without a fence, which is surrounded by an interstate. That is not safe at all!
Children, your parents, if they are fulfilling their God given roles, love you. They want what is best for you. To ignore them or to forsake their law and instructions hurts them but will destroy you. What happens though when Proverbs 1:8 is followed?
The instructions and laws will be a graceful ornament on the head and chains on the neck. This is not saying it is some Burger King type goofy hat and gangster type chains. The picture here is something deeper, more profound. The ornament adds grace and beauty to the child. The fact that it is on the head signifies also the mind is something that is better, or greater. This is that child, when seen in the store answers, "Yes, Sir", "Yes, Ma'am", "No, sir", "No, Ma'am", "Please" and "Thank you". They are the ones who help and are helpful. Today, when I see that, I am caught off guard! There is something there that no amount of social re-engineering can change. It is a breath of fresh air, and that kind of spirit commands a higher respect.
But then we have the chains. These are the chains, which will help guide and direct. It is around the neck. While the head indeed controls the body, the neck has the ability to turn the head. And with these laws and instructions, the whole body is turned toward that which is good, right, and whole.
But this only works if all parts in the family are doing their God given role. When one fails, either the father, mother, or child, then the whole system breaks down.
So how should we start to affect change in our nation? First, it is time to elevate fatherhood specifically, and manhood generally. Biblical masculinity. Not the cheap knockoff that is often purported on the news or in media. Second, women should seek true femininity. Not cultural femininity which is not even being a lady, much less a woman, but Biblical femininity. Third, children are to be raised up in the home with a father and mother, living their God given roles, who are also raising their children in the right way to live the right way for the right purpose. Not perfectly, for none are perfect, but morally straight as God's Word demands and calls for. That will start to affect a change in families and culture which will start to affect our politics and policies that often do the opposite of what it should.