Father, today with the help of the Holy Spirit, may I pray sincerely and praise You joyfully.
Read PROVERBS 23:15-35
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“When we are out of sympathy with the young, then I think our work in this world is over” (George McDonald, 1824-1905).
Two aspects of this passage strike me. The first is what the teacher wants for the young men whom he regards with such paternal affection. Does the material prosperity of the next generation preoccupy him? No. Is he primarily concerned that they should all have good jobs, a steady income and be respectable members of the community? No, though he’s not unconcerned about these things. He wants their hearts to be godly. That means that he wants them to be: wise (15); not secretly jealous of sinners, but jealous for the place that reverence will have in their hearts (17); faithfully keeping to the right path—sober (19-21); not led astray by their sexual appetites but loyal to the ways taught by wise and loving parents (26-28). It’s not just “character” that he’s most concerned about, its godly character, yielding godly conduct. That’s what he encourages and it’s what will make him glad. What will please me most when I think of our four children? I think it is these things more than the kind of shallow ambitions that the world teaches parents to have for their offspring.
The second aspect of the passage is simply that he thinks of the next generation and speaks to them in this way. No moans about why young people aren’t “committed” (i.e. turning up to support what the older folk have organized). No grumbling about why they don’t clean up properly after themselves. Godliness has prevented the teacher from being a crabby old complainer. It has given him a genuine concern that understands and loves the next generation.
Write the names of under-25s that you know: relatives, neighbors, in or away from the Church. Put their names where you will see them often. Pray for them every day.
Lord Jesus, my prayer for my children, and children I know, is that they may grow to love You, obey You, and develop into Christian maturity.