“The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.” Proverbs 10:1
This verse begins a transition in the book of Proverbs. For nine chapters, we find oft-repeated general statements regarding wisdom. Beginning with chapter 10 and continuing through chapter 30, each verse becomes sort of a mini-sermon, a stand-alone wisdom statement. The subject rapidly changes from one important nugget of life wisdom to the next.
As an introduction, Solomon makes one last general plea to his son to seek after wisdom. He reminds us that the choice to follow or forsake wisdom does not simply affect me. Wisdom makes a glad father. Foolishness brings grief to the heart of a mother. Love for God is the only righteous motivator, but love for God leads us to love and honor our parents. As an adult, my greatest pain has been the pain of regret – the regret of having brought heaviness to my parents through my own foolish and arrogant ways as a youth. As a pastor, the most painful moments have come ministering to parents whose children had brought heartache and shame. This is an incredibly tough ministry, as we try to assure the grieving parent that they themselves have not failed as parents even though their child has chosen foolishness over wisdom. I remember one mother who confessed to a strange sense of relief at her own son’s funeral – relief that at least she would not have to worry over his behavior any longer. So, as we encounter God’s wisdom over every detail of living in the next 20 chapters, let us readily embrace and accept it as truth and as the desired guide to life. It is wisdom for your life; but it is joy to the heart of your mother and father.