Day 9: Protection
Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget,
and do not turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will keep you;
love her, and she will guard you.
Our family recently welcomed a baby girl into the world. After three boys, God finally gave us a girl. And as her father, the experience is vastly different. Right now, my little girl may look the same as all the boys (apart from the fancy pink clothes). She poops and pees the same and squawks and waves her arms around. She sleeps the same as they did. Yet I personally experience a different feeling when I hold her. It finally struck me one day that the difference was not her, but me. I felt more tenderness for my baby girl and a greater desire to protect her. I worried about her more than I worried about my boys. Whether it’s because she was a helpless infant or my first little girl, I was more concerned for her protection.
Dads, you have a God-given desire to protect all your children from harmful people, foolish decisions, and various hardships. You cannot protect them from every danger, but you must provide the opportunity to flourish. Realize also that God has appointed you to protect them spiritually by teaching them God’s Word. Therefore, Solomon expresses to his son the importance of finding wisdom like he would find a good wife: “Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth” (Prov. 4:5; see v. 7). He exhorts his son to acquire wisdom, for wisdom is like a bride who requires a dowry for her hand in marriage: “Use up all your time, your energy, and resources to acquire this pearl of great price. Though she may cost you everything, do all it takes to make her your wife. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you” (see v. 6a). As written in many Bibles, “Your sin will keep you from this Book or this Book will keep you from your sin.” God’s wisdom protects you from playing the fool: “Love her, and she will guard you. . . . Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her” (vv. 6b, 8). A good woman upholds every good man. So lift up Lady Wisdom and she will lift you up as well. Esteem her as your wife and know her intimately. Do not simply purchase her for a price, but also cherish her with tender embrace. “She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown” (v. 9). She will bring you honor, for “an excellent wife is the crown of her husband” (12:4a).
Solomon instructs, “My son, do not lose sight of these—keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck” (3:21-22; see 1:9; 3:3). “Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (vv. 23-24; see Ps. 91:12). Every father wants his children to be safe: “Don’t run with scissors. Don’t eat the glue. Not too close to the edge. Beware of stranger danger. Look both ways before you cross the street.” Yet how many fathers instruct their children: “Know God’s Word down to your inmost parts. Keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.” Wisdom shows what path to take, where to place each step, and how to sleep without anxiety.
I learned this personally while spending a few days in the hospital as my son recovered from a dangerously high fever. We did get to ride in an ambulance (sirens blaring), but it was heartrending as a father to watch my son get poked and prodded and hooked up to all kinds of tubes and machines. As I waited by his crib, I meditated on Daniel 2 where Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, has just threatened to execute Daniel and his three friends and all the other wise men unless they could interpret the dream he had the night before: “Read my mind and tell me God’s message or I will kill you!” Such a demand would stress out anyone, but not Daniel who remained supernaturally composed as he cast his cares upon the faithful, sovereign God. In that hospital room, I read, “Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery” (Dan. 2:17). Although Daniel was about to get all his body parts chopped into pieces, he called a prayer meeting. Then he told his friends, “Do not pray for mercy from the king of Babylon. Instead, pray for mercy from the King of Heaven.” Thus God reminded me through his Word: “I am the God in heaven who loves your child even more than you. I am the God in heaven who has a better plan for your life than you.” Dads, you must protect your children, but also trust that God in heaven is protecting you.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I worry knowing that I cannot protect my children from everything. Teach me to guard them from danger, but to ultimately entrust them to you. Empower me to guide them in your wisdom so that they are blessed as they seek your will. Grant them mercy and grace by your sovereign hand. In your Son’s name, Amen.
LifeWork: Write down one way you will apply today’s Proverb.
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