In Part 1 of this study, we discussed the parental duty of godly instruction. Parents have an obligation to train a child in the way he should go (Prov. 22:6). Parents should grow in grace and knowledge of the Living God and the Lord Jesus Christ (II Peter 3:18) and discuss God’s ways with their children (Deut. 6:6-9). If trained correctly, young people can grow into prudent and spiritually equipped adults. Despite all of the parents’ efforts, a child (or young adult) has to put in his own effort as well. Encourage young people you know to read this installment.
The Obligation of the Young
Every young person has an obligation to be responsive to godly instruction. There are key words in verse 8 we should investigate for more understanding. As mentioned in the previous installment, the word hear means to listen intelligently or attentively. Forsake in the Hebrew means to pound, smite, or thrust off. These words are verbs. They require young people to take action.
First, children must listen attentively to the instructions and training of their parents. This concept is so important that God dedicated one of the Ten Commandments to this idea (Ex. 20:12). Honoring your parents includes listening to the things your parents have to say. It is dishonoring and disrespectful to ignore your parents’ instructions. Of course, it is equally important to confirm what your parents are telling you in your Bible. Your obligation is to follow godly instruction. (This also applies to adults who have elderly parents who follow God.) Read Prov. 4:1-4. These verses amplify Prov. 1:8-9. Godly parents will teach children good doctrine from the word of God and wise children will abide in those words especially as an adult. It is a tremendous blessing to have godly parents. Show God and your parents due respect by absorbing every instruction given from God’s law (Deut. 6:6-7).
Furthermore, as you grow older, do not thrust off (forsake) the godly instruction you have been taught.
“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” (Prov. 8:32-33)
These verses apply to God and parents. If your parents are godly, it is critical that you keep their ways. It is more important to be like our Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:48). Living this kind of life is easier when you have the support of godly parents; however, you should be willing to follow God even if your parents begin to turn away. Also notice the following verses:
“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.” (Prov. 23:22-23)
As the child of godly parents, you must give you heart to them and learn from their ways (Prov. 23:26). Remember, the fifth commandment comes with a promise of long life. Honoring your parents by continuing in their godly instruction will have a positive effect on your life. Disregard the encouragement of modern society to be a rebellious youth. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft in God’s eyes (I Sam. 15:23).
The life of a young person who follows the example of godly parents yields tremendous results. We find this exemplified in the life of Timothy. Read and reflect on the following:
“I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.” (II Tim. 1:3-5)
Following the faithful example of his mother and grandmother resulted in Timothy having unfeigned faith. You too can have unfeigned faith if you dutifully listen and obey godly parents. It is your responsibility to look in your Bible to confirm the teachings of your parents. All that is confirmed in the Bible should not be forsaken. Remember, the Lord God knows best. He has provided a plan for how we should live our lives. A major piece of that plan includes learning the way of God through your parents. Both parents and children must diligently study God’s word and learn to keep it.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14)