Monday, February 27, 2023

The Disgraceful Son (Proverbs 17:2, 21, 25)

"A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him" (Prov. 17:25).

As Solomon instructed his children to be wise, he often reminded them that a foolish son brings grief to his parents. One example of the foolish son so aptly given by our Lord is that of the prodigal. This foolish son soon discovered that doing things his own way only brought shame upon himself and grief to those he loved. When he lost everything he was prepared to take his place among the hired servants of his father. Here we see the truth of the proverb “A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son” (17:2). But the son did not take his place among the servants. His father was merciful and restored him to his position of honor.

The prodigal found the road of folly to be a hard one. By God’s grace, his end was a happy one. This is not always the case. Absalom, who died amid his folly, had previously been “His father’s peace.” (The name Absalom literally means “a father’s peace.”) Yet he was the source of much bitter grief for his father, David. If you want to avoid the fate of Absalom, if you want to live a life of honor, if you want to bring joy to your parents, abide by their ways and obey their commands.

A lesson can also be learned by parents. Folly does not develop overnight. Bridges accurately maintains that the primary root of folly is too much indulgence given to the child. “The vast power of parental influence must be used wisely, at once, at any cost. We must not instruct, or entreat only, but command. We must allow no appeal from our authority, no reversal of our decision. This discipline in the spirit of love, and enforced by example, is God’s honored ordinance.” Parents who want a child to live wisely, must train him according to the wisdom of God. Put him under the church’s teaching. Pray for him. Do not indulge him by allowing him to rule the family; instead, rule him with firm and consistent love.

Lastly, if your child has chosen folly’s path, do not despair. Now are the times to bow reverentially to God’s sovereignty and submit to His plan. God is in control of all things. Trust in Him, and pray confidently that your child might come home again as the prodigal did. Bridges reminds us that the “law of the kingdom is ‘that men should pray always, and not faint’ ” (Luke 18:1).

If you have a child who has taken a foolish path, spend time today praying earnestly that God will bring him or her back. Ask God to replace your despair with trust in Him. If you have grieved your own parents in any way, confess your folly to God and ask your parents for forgiveness. Do it soon or you won’t do it.