In our joint daily Bible reading, Barbara and I recently read again in Proverbs, Solomon’s personal instructions to his son, Rehoboam. Chapters 2,3,5,6 and 7 begin with “My Son.” He warned him about several things and repeatedly about going after strange women. Some think this was written before his own colossal downfall in taking to himself over one thousand women and going after their gods. Surely, it was BEFORE he messed up himself!
He says: “My son…” Did Solomon have only one son? God had carefully warned all the kings who would reign over Israel, to be careful how they lived. A lot depended on how the kings conducted themselves. In this 1897 picture of the worship of Molech, one of the foreign gods, they are offering children as part of their worship.
When Solomon began following his many wives into the worship of Baal, did he join in the sacrificing of his own children, even his sons? (Chemosh, Milcom and Moloch are more-or-less the same god. These are all Baalim, the plural form of Ba'al.) It would be reckless conjecture to say that Solomon offered his sons to Molech but perhaps the question is not out of line. God does not charge him with this sin and it seems that He would have publicly charged him with it and left it in the public record.
Solomon did not stumble blindly into his egregious violation of God’s Word. He went into it with his eyes wide open. The Bible does not say why Solomon had only one son. It’s one of the strangest things in the Bible. If Solomon had active relationships with all of his wives, he should have had more sons than Saul, David and all the other kings put together. The registry of Saul and David’s sons are preserved for history to see. The registries of other kings’ offspring are listed and preserved. Either the records were tampered with or else Solomon had only one son. Moses plainly commanded the nation of Israel:
When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.
Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. (Deuteronomy 12:29-31)
Our purpose in calling attention to “My Son” five times in Proverbs is not to deal with the fact that he only had one son. Our purpose is to carry forward the good advice he gave to his only son. It is good advice for today. It is easier to teach single rules to children than it is to teach them principles whereby they can judge all of life that confronts them. The teaching of single rules will have some good effect on some children and others it will be wasted breath.
But, doesn’t the Bible say: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Pro 22:6)? Indeed, the Bible says this and in a general way it works out that way. But there are many disappointments along the way where parents have invested heavily in their children only to be disappointed by the outcome of their children. But this is one of those places in the Bible where we “rightly divide the word of truth.” (2Tim. 2:15)
First, this is not part of the Law of Moses nor of the words of Jesus. We need to remember a far greater and much heavier precept of the Word of God is that God made man with free will that can be exercised against the will of God and can certainly be against the will of the parents. When Proverbs 22:6 was written, it did not do away with God’s endowment of children, men and women with a free will of their own. God will not go back on His gift to men and women of a free will.
So, what is being said in Proverbs 22:6 is that training is a strong positive influence in bending the choices boys and girls will make when they grow older, even to the point when they are old. It does not guarantee an outcome. God does not promise to give parents absolute control over the will of their children. Solomon implored and pleaded with his son to stay away from bad women and gave himself to a thousand bad women. To me, it is the most disappointing thing in the Bible. This is an illustration of the practice of some who take a verse of Scripture out of the context of the Bible and go away thinking they have found a whole truth. It doesn’t work that way.
To come to a solid conclusion, some things require that we know what the Bible teaches about a subject throughout its pages before we can come to a conclusion. There are some verses that contain a conclusion but Proverbs 22:6 is not one of them. Proverbs 22:6 is one spoke in the wheel of teaching that deals with this subject. We should be saying: “My son” and exhorting our children with much diligence. But we must remember that we cannot take their will from them or override their will that God gave them. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
SEPTEMBER 18, 2017 - MONDAY
A.M. Ecclesiastes 4-6
P.M. 2 Cor. 10
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
Song for Today:
Because He Lives (2:29) (Gaither Trio)
Begins with the 1970 history of the writing of: Because He Lives. This song continues to be one of the most loved Gospel songs. It undergirds the great mass of human tragedy Christians find themselves facing at the unexpected hour. There is a collection of songs like this, Amazing Grace and What a Friend We Have in Jesus, being two of them. There are Bible chapters like this: Psalm 23 and Psalm 91. Will your Bible and your song book strengthen you in your darkest hour, at the graveside? They must meet this test. The world does not have a song for the darkest hour.