|Volume 23 Number 10 October 2021
Train Up a Child
Kevin L. Moore
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6, NKJV). The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings intended to convey general truths, and heeding these words of wisdom will surely help guide one’s life in a positive direction. However, the overabundant variables and uncertainties of this world preclude taking each proverb in an absolute sense as though the wise sayings were meant as inflexible rules with definitive outcomes and no possible exceptions.
Note, for example, Proverbs 10:4, which states, “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, But the hand of the diligent makes rich.” While this principle is generally true, mitigating circumstances could result in a lazy person being rich (e.g., by way of inheritance) and a diligent person being poor (e.g., via drought or stock market crash). Nevertheless, potential exemptions do not discount the wisdom of the stated proverb.
Proverbs 22:6 affirms a general truth that ought to be heeded, although the freewill choices of each individual child means there will almost certainly be exceptions (cf., Genesis 4:1-7; Isaiah 1:2). Remember that the Bible is comprised of a variety of literary categories (historical, instructional, legislative, poetic, etc.), and not all are meant to be read and applied the same way. The books of Proverbs and Leviticus, for instance, represent very different types of literature and, therefore, should be interpreted accordingly.
Parents, let us ensure that the Lord’s ways are always upheld and observed in our homes and that our children are brought up in His training and admonition (Ephesians 6:4), by which we encourage other parents to do the same. May the seeds of truth planted with discipline and love in impressionable hearts conquer stubborn, rebellious spirits. Let us be grateful when our children cooperate and the words of Proverbs 22:6 play out in our families. Yet, may we be sympathetic and supportive of mothers and fathers and grandparents and guardians whose hearts are otherwise broken, praying that implanted seeds take root and guide straying loved ones back to the faith (Luke 15:11-32).
I Once Was Lost
but Now I’m Found
We have sung those lines so many times, and yes at times, we may find ourselves lost and wandering aimlessly to find our way through times of toil and trouble. We, though, have lost our way, and we must find our way again. My question is this: “Does God, or His Son Jesus, have to seek us when we are lost?" I guess my point is that God and Christ both know exactly where we are. The omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient God made us all and knows all things about us. “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether” (Psalm 139:1-4 NKJV). God has no need to “find” us because He knows who we are and where we are.
[In one sense, Jesus Christ did come “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The word “seek” here can include the meaning of desiring, reasoning or requiring; clearly, the Godhead desires those lost in sin to be saved (2 Peter 3:9) and reasons with mankind regarding his salvation (Isaiah 1:18). Subsequently, God requires mankind to obey Him (Hebrews 5:9). Hence, lost humanity must “seek” to “find” redemption (Matthew 7:7). “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27). God has not misplaced His awareness of any of us and has made Himself discoverable through the created universe (Romans 1:20) and through the revealed, written Word (John 20:30-31; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
For centuries, man has had the need to find God and His way. In Genesis 12:1, God told Abram (Abraham) to leave his homeland and go to a land that God would show him. Abraham did not know where that land would be, only that God would show him. He had to have the faith to go find that land with the help of God.
Moses, when God told him to tell Pharaoh to “Let my people go,” did not know where the Israelites were to go, except that they would be traveling to a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses and the people had to go searching to find that land. God knows and has known where everyone of us is and has throughout our entire lives. Psalm 139:1-4 tells us this is true.
Now the question is, “Did Jesus come seeking the lost” – in the sense of not knowing who are the lost or where to find them? No. He and God knew exactly where we were. It was us who needed to find Him.
John 1:35-51 is a great account of men who found Jesus. From the time that John said, “behold the lamb of God,” two of John’s disciples (of which Andrew was one) left John the Baptist and followed Jesus. When Jesus saw that they followed him, He asked “What do you seek?” He knew they were looking to find something or someone, so Jesus said, “come and see.” Andrew, then, went and found his brother Peter saying, “We have found the Messiah.” The next day, while traveling, Jesus came into the presence of or found Phillip. Then, Phillip in turn found Nathaniel and brought him to Jesus. Even though Nathaniel doubted that any good thing could come out of Nazareth, he came to find and to admit that Jesus was the Son of God.
The crux of this whole thing is that God and Jesus have both always been there. We are the ones who, in our wandering ways, have lost ourselves in the evil ways of the world. It is therefore up to us to seek diligently for Christ who is the Son of God so that He will lead us home to God, our Creator and Master. We must act or work out our own salvation (Philippians 2:12), since God “has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3).