I had the wonderful privilege of having a loving, godly, human father, Ewalt W. Bartel (and mother, Vera Constance Shirley Bartel). My father’s counsel and advice to me, although direct and strong at times, proved reliable – it was godly, wise counsel that kept me on the right track! I’m so glad I listened, honored, and heeded his words!
But I have another Father – my “Heavenly Father” – who is wise beyond measure! His words, found in the Bible, reiterated by His Son, Jesus, (and communicated intimately by the Holy Spirit) are infallible and loving! I’m always well served to listen and heed them!
I’ve been reading the early chapters of Proverbs during my time of “coffee with the Lord” the past few days. There is a repeated phrase there, that has captured my attention – in fact, it’s like I’m hearing an echo of my godly earthly father’s voice, and most certainly it has the sound and character of my Heavenly Father’s infallible voice!
Now listen carefully to the “Heavenly Father’s” voice…
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent… My son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths!” (Proverbs 1:8–10, 15 ESV)
“My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” (Proverbs 2:1–5 ESV)
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments.” (Proverbs 3:1 ESV)
“Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight!” (Proverbs 4:1 ESV)
“Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness.” (Proverbs 4:10–11 ESV)
“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20–22 ESV)
“My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge… And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 5:1–2, 7 ESV)
“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life” (Proverbs 6:20–23 ESV)
“My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you… And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth.” (Proverbs 7:1 24 ESV)
“And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32–36 ESV)
I realize this has been a rather long post, however I think it has been worth it to make the point! It really doesn’t matter whether you are a “son” or a daughter… Heeding the wise, godly instruction of godly parents will put you on the path of righteousness and blessing (and keep you off the path of the wicked – the path of moral and spiritual disaster)! But more than that, you have an infinitely wise and loving “Heavenly Father!” Heeding His word will result in incredible blessing – blessing here and now, and all the way through this life, and prepare you for the life to come – eternal life!