“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
– Proverbs 6:20
Few if any would be more knowledgeable about marital relationships than King Solomon, because he had 700 wives (See 1 Kings 11:3). He himself was born after his father, King David, earnestly repented receiving God’s forgiveness for destroying a marital relationship. Israel’s much loved leader had committed the tragic sins of both adultery and murder. Solomon’s father and his mother Bathsheba personally knew the heartbreak and shame of failing to live within God’s moral guidelines for purity and happiness. This explains why as an adult Solomon could write about parenthood with such deep conviction. He had wisely observed and learned from his own family’s tragedies.
In every century during mankind’s long history, good parents have sought to guide and protect their children. By instinct, they have typically attempted to help them learn how to avoid the failures of past generations. Kings, presidents, educators, and especially the Lord’s trusted under-shepherds have shared the broader privilege of providing a positive influence. In fact, the Bible says those serving in places of spiritual leadership bear a higher responsibility for setting an example of spiritual excellence. James explains,
“…we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1)
Setting the right example is one reason why the Apostle Paul says, “…discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7b) In every home, family leaders either succeed or fail in communicating authentic God given values. Their example literally means everything to the family’s children. Both fathers and mothers model their convictions by the choices they make in daily life. Regarding marriage, Solomon said, “… may you rejoice in the wife of your youth…may you ever be captivated by her love.” (Proverbs 5:18b-19) In contrast he warned, “…do not be captivated, my son by an adulteress?” “… her speech is smoother than oil but in the end she is as bitter as gall …Her feet go down to death …She gives no thought to the way of life…” (Proverbs 5:3-6a)
It is a parent’s supreme privilege to love their children by personally showing them how to choose the right paths in life. Parenting is to be carried out in humble dependence on God with an awareness of His guiding purpose. The Bible says, “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord and He examines all his paths.” (Proverbs 5:21) For the enrichment and protection of all our youth – past, present, and future, they need to know that lasting happiness and personal purity go hand-in-hand. As a stern warning to men, the Bible says, “… the corrections of discipline are the way to life, keeping you from the immoral woman.” (Proverbs 6:23b-24a)
Since immorality is typically shared equally by both parties, what the Bible teaches regarding purity is for both men and women. All sin normally begins in a person’s heart. This is why the Bible says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7a) An impure desire will usually affect a person’s mind long before it manifests itself in their outward behavior. This is why our personal Christian witness actually begins with what we choose to watch or hear long before it influences what we think and do! The daily challenge of Christian discipleship is keeping our minds on all that is noble so our walk and talk will be fully together. The Bible says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)
– By Billie Hanks Jr.