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  • Jonathan Painter

Equipping Your Children



“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:” (Proverbs 31:3-4)


We find in Proverbs chapter thirty-one a mother who is giving advice to her son. She does so in such a skillful way in these two verses that we as parents should glean both from the content of what she is teaching him and the method she used. In these two verses, she is educating him about three things. She warns him about giving his strength to women. She warns him about ways that destroy. She reminds him of his royalty. This is a tremendous example of a mother who cares enough for her son to equip him for the future.


We need to be equipping our children for the future. We need to be diligent to teach our children in the stage they are in now so they can function, but it is equally essential that we teach our children with an eye to their future so that they will be ready when they get to that point in their life. There are three things that we need to teach our children that they should know well when they grow up.


THERE ARE BAD PEOPLE IN THIS WORLD.

Just as the mother in our passage warned her son about giving his strength to women, our children need to realize that there are bad people in this world, men and women, who will do them harm if given the chance. There are those who want you to give them your strength so that they can abuse it.


I particularly like how she educated him without overeducating him. She did not go into the details of what would happen if he gave strength to women. She did not ruin his innocence. We need to be able to warn our children to beware of bad people without destroying their innocence.


THERE IS A WAY THAT DESTROYS

She wanted her son to know that there is a way that could destroy him if he was not careful. Again she is educating him without destroying his innocence. She does however bring an example to her warning in the next verse. “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:” (Proverbs 30:4) She is showing him a safe example of what sin can do if he is not careful.


Even so, we need to safely educate our children that there is a way that will lead to heartache and destruction. Use the Word of God to teach them what will destroy their lives and use the work of God to show them the results of the destructive ways.


I know that alcohol destroys lives, and I have known it since I was a child. I was taught from the Word of God that alcohol would make a fool of you, but it was the work of God that truly helped me envision from a safe distance the effects this sin could have. I saw it by going with my dad to visit the homes where alcohol had robbed children of their father, and sometimes their mothers as well. I saw the condition of those homes and realized the wreckage that sin had caused. My parents wisely used the Word of God to teach me what the way of destruction was, and then used the work of God to show me the results of the way of destruction. It is a powerful combination when done appropriately.


THERE IS A DIFFERENCE IN US

This mother reminded her son that he was a prince and a king. She reminded him that his status brought with it a heightened expectation.


Even so, we need to teach our children that we have a royal heritage through Jesus Christ our Saviour and that we are a child of God. Therefore we live a lifestyle that is on a higher moral level than a society driven by power, greed, and pleasure. We are different because of the Family we were birthed into when we were born again.


These are important things that we must teach our children so that they will understand and be equipped to face the future.


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