There are many things that you give to your children. Birthday parties, holiday gifts and remembrances, special vacations, and appreciation for accomplishments are some of them. Other things not so noticeable are clothing, a house that is comfortable and dry, and providing for education. You do these things because you want your children to do well. Planning for these things can occupy much of your time as you live with your children. These are all good things, but what is most important is missing.
I have just one question for your consideration. Where does helping your children acquire biblical wisdom fit in with your plans for them?
Proverbs four records David’s plea to his son, Solomon, about what he thinks is the most significant thing that his son can acquire. I recommend reading this chapter many times over the course of a year just to help keep your focus sharp about what is really important. David says the most vital thing Solomon can possess is wisdom. He even says that everything else should be secondary to acquiring wisdom. Here is what he says in Proverbs 4:7:
The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
The whole of chapter four is a plea to see the beauty and necessity of attaining wisdom. Wisdom must be acquired at all costs. No one is born with wisdom. To obtain wisdom you must be willing to sacrifice for it. Parents, if obtaining wisdom is not your passion, you will not be able to help your children see the importance of acquiring wisdom. If obtaining wisdom is not our highest priority, we are all playing the role of the fool.
Consider the historical context of this chapter. Solomon is the second son David had with Bathsheba. Their first son was taken from them because of David’s profound lack of wisdom. Instead of being wise he was sinfully stupid in spectacular fashion. Solomon was raised in the relational wreckage of David’s sin with Bathsheba which was compounded by his failings with Absalom, Ammon, and Tamar. David’s words to his son were not platitudes but an urgent plea not to do what he had done – turn his back on wisdom. David thought he had it all. The world around him thought he had it all. But it mattered little because he didn’t value wisdom as supreme. His words to his son were not said in a vacuum. Solomon had seen first-hand the truth of his dad’s words. As we learn from Psalm 51, David had once again turned to wisdom.
In God’s mercy and grace, Solomon took his father’s words to heart. He saw the acquisition of wisdom as the most precious of all possessions. How do we know this? Years later, God came to Solomon and told him that he would give him whatever he wanted.
Solomon asked for wisdom.