Sunday, June 18, 2017

Fathers, lead in right paths

straight path leading to the sun

Proverbs 4:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths." Proverbs 4:11

"I have led you in right paths" says the father to his son in our reading today. There is probably no more persuasive teaching than that done by example. What are the "right paths" on which a father could lead his children? Are they still there for us to find today?

Right paths:

1. The wise father seeks out the paths of God
- Psalm 23:3.

2. He goes to the "mountain of the Lord" to get instruction (Isaiah 2:3). For the Old Testament Hebrews this would have been the temple in Jerusalem. In our day instruction can come from many places—church, radio & TV, books and, of course, the greatest book for this is the Bible which we can access in our own homes (no traveling to mountains necessary, although spending time with God in His word is sometimes called a "mountaintop experience").

3. The paths of God are:
- life and joy and pleasure - Psalm 16:11.
- mercy and truth - Psalm 25:10.
- wisdom and justice - Proverbs 2:6-8.
- uprightness - Isaiah 26:7.
- righteousness - Proverbs 8:20; 12:28.
- shining - Proverbs 4:18.

4. He avoids the path to sin. The path specifically referred to here is the path to the  "seductress" i.e. an immoral, extramarital relationship - Proverbs 2:19.

5. If he goes astray he looks for the way back. Jeremiah tells us to find our way back to God via the "old path" (Jeremiah 6:16), and to look for the "signposts" and "landmarks" (Jeremiah 31:21). This picturesque instruction says to me, don't look for a new-fangled way back to God. Come by the way of the book. If you have backslidden, come remembering and revisiting your decisions and experiences from the past.

6. The writer to the Hebrews gives the last bit of path wisdom to fathers and all of us: "…make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed." We need such straight, honest living, not only for our own well-being but for the well-being of those who follow behind, calling us father (and mother).

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for fathers. Thank You for my father who loved Your word and taught it to us in our home. Please give wisdom, grace, and joy to all fathers who read here this Father's Day. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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