A Wise and a Foolish Son
1a A wise son makes a glad father
1. This is a principle often repeated in the book of Proverbs.
a. 15:20 – same thing
b. 23:15 – if your son’s heart is wise, you can rejoice!
c. 23:16 – when your son speaks right things, your reins (inner most being) shall rejoice.
d. 23:24 – the father of the righteous shall GREATLY rejoice. (if your son is righteous… before God!)
e. 23:25 – both parents will rejoice… this isn’t just a fatherly thing.
f. 27:11 – Here Solomon challenges his son to be wise, so that his heart (the father’s heart) can be glad.
g. 29:17 – a child who is well disciplined will bring rest and delight to the parents… later. (Not during the years of discipline!)
h. Thus, Solomon mentions this at least 8 times!
2. Parents are so attached to their kids, that later on in life (to a certain degree) the parents’ happiness is linked to the spiritual well being of the child.
a. This is true even when the child is a grown man or woman. They will always be your children.
b. For the rest of your life, your happiness (to a certain degree) will be linked to the spiritual well being of your kids.
c. What a joy for parents to see their children grow up and be saved… and to walk with the Lord… and to bring their children up in the things of the Lord. No greater joy!
3. Parents have no guarantee that that will happen… but as parents we have a responsibility to do ALL WE CAN to see that it does.
a. Prov. 22:6 – this verse means what it says…
• But it is a proverb, not a promise.
• This is the norm, but it certainly does not cover all bases.
• But since it is the norm… we should be FAITHFUL in training them in the things of the Lord… early!
b. Prov.19:18 – chasten them while there is hope!
• If we want joy from our kids, then we need to start training them from the cradle…
• If you let them run on auto-pilot until they are teens, they are pretty well already formed.
• If you want a tree to grow up straight and tall, you have to support it when it is young and tender. If you wait until it is grown, it’s too late. You’re never going to straighten out the trunk of a full grown tree. Only God can do that.
• Thus, Solomon sends a message to us as parents and even grandparents: get them while they are young! While there is hope.
• Prov. 29:17 – discipline them when they are young and they will give you rest for the remainder of your life.
1b But a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother…
1. This principle (the opposite of the first phrase) is also found often in Proverbs. Foolish children (even if they are 40!) are a grief to godly parents.
a. 17:25 – grief to the father; bitterness to the mother. (That’s a warning to parents too—deal with those feelings in a godly manner!)
b. 17:21 – the one who begets a fool will have sorrow… no joy…
c. 19:13 – a foolish son is the calamity of his father…
d. Gen. 26:34-35; 27:46 – Esau was a grief to both of his parents.
• He was selfish and worldly and cared not for the things of the Lord.
• The choices he made in choosing a spouse was a continual grief to Rebekah.
• But he was reared in the same house as Jacob was! Who can figure?
2. Again, this is a warning to young parents… do what you can NOW to train them in the things of the Lord… they are only young and pliable for a short time…
• Parents whose grown children are not saved will always grieve and pray for their salvation.
• Parents whose grown children are saved but are not walking in the truth will always grieve over their spiritual condition too.
3. I fear for the young parents today who are so busy they don’t have time to spend with their kids…
a. We have a whole generation of kids being brought up in daycare centers—where they are not getting parental training…
b. Many of those parents are going to wish they never did… they will wish that mom had stayed at home… they will wish that they had spent themselves more on their kids than on their careers…
c. Putting the time and effort and sacrifice into your kids today will pay off later.
d. Failing to do so today could result in a lot of sorrow and regret later.
1. This principle is true of spiritual “parents” and their children too!
a. I Thess. 3:8 – we live IF ye stand fast! (I feel that here as pastor!)
b. III John 2-4 – no greater joy… you wish the best for them… John agrees with Paul!
c. Unfortunately, not all of those assemblies Paul established DID stand fast. Some fell into immorality… some into doctrinal error… some into petty divisions…
d. That must have broken Paul’s heart… or John’s…
2. In fact, it did… especially Corinth.
a. He was jealous over them! He wanted the best for them (II Cor. 11:2)
• He feared the worst for his spiritual children (v. 3)
• He grieved over those who hurt his children (v. 4)
• He was hurt when his spiritual children misunderstood his concern for them (v. 7)
• He knew how dangerous it was out there for them. (v. 13)
b. Paul felt the joys, fears, and grief over his spiritual children that we feel for our natural children…
c. Even though these churches were established and on their own, Paul never stopped feeling this “parental” concern for them. They will always be his “kids.”
d. So it is with our kids… they can bring us the greatest joy or the greatest heartbreak.
e. With Paul’s spiritual children in Corinth, he:
• Prayed for them (13:7a)
• He kept in touch (13:10)
• He encouraged them to do that which is right (13:11)
• He committed them to the grace of God and left them in God’s hands. (13:14)
f. That’s good advice for us with our children too once they are off on their own.
g. The good news here is that Paul’s spiritual children in Corinth DID turn around… (II Cor. 7:13) The good report from Titus about the Corinthians comforted Paul and brought exceeding joy to him!
• Isn’t that true of our own children? Aren’t they often like the Corinthians?
• Sometimes they stumble about for a while… skating on thin ice… making foolish decisions… stumbling and falling on their faces… breaking their parent’s heart…
• God intervened in Corinth and got a hold of their hearts… and the church got back up on their feet…
• This brought great joy to the heart of their spiritual father.
• If our children are bringing great grief to us…remember that the Lord is able to turn them around and nobody but the Lord can!
• Once you commit them to the Lord, the peace that passes understanding can return to your heart…
• Remember—God loves them more than you do. He is grieved more than we are when our children turn away from Him. He rejoices more than we do when they walk in the truth.
• We can trust a God like that. Entrust your kids to Him.