Image Source: Let Me Tell You Something Son by Reddy Aprianto; CC 2.0
“Give me your heart, my son, and let your eyes delight in my ways. For a harlot is a deep pit and an adulterous woman is a narrow well. Surely she lurks as a robber, and increases the faithless among men” (Proverbs 23: 26-28; NASB).
Solomon opens with a plea to his son for the acquisition of his heart and attention. Notice, there is a direct correlation in whom the son gives his heart to: it is either to the father, or the harlot/adulterous woman. Now if the father has given his own heart to the harlot, he has no room to say, “Flee from her devious ways! Do not go down into her bed – for in her room is death!”
The only thing this father is capable to teach is a delight in sin and to go down to the way of death with him in opposition to the Lord. Fathers, you cannot give urgency to avoid pornography and promiscuity if your love and delight is in the harlot. Beyond this, we must take the words of Paul seriously when adultery is listed among other sins in saying, “for those who make a practice of such things cannot inherit the kingdom of God.”
Thus, repentance is not only necessary to demonstrate that your life is worthy of your son’s rapt attention, but that repentance directly correlates to one’s faith. As James would also put it, faith without works is a dead faith. How might one expect their son to see the truthfulness of a father’s claims when this one’s faith is dead? Nothing will exasperate a child more quickly than one who imposes a standard they are unwilling to commit to themselves.
Yet what I also see to be a prominent feature is the conceptual binding of the child’s heart to the father’s. In this, we see a child give wholly of himself to his father, not only entrusting his very heart to be molded, but delighting in his works and convictions as he heeds the father’s instruction. It is a matter of discipleship from the father, who is faithfully teaching and instructing his beloved son in the ways of the Lord.
The assumption here though precludes the idea of a father who is neglecting obedience in maintaining sexual purity and devotion to the Lord. Again, the idea of his heart binding to your own strongly emphasizes a union; one, which will last until/if the Lord, wills his heart cleaves to another, he goes out of the household as a man, or the Lord calls one home. We want to raise faithful men – not see them bound in faithlessness due to the allure of a harlot.
Will you join me, fathers, in seeking to cause our children to delight in our own ways so that they may honor the Lord? Will you help your son(s) avoid the folly of pornography and the promiscuous woman? Will you help your son(s) to see a picture of the gospel in your marriage as you lay your life down for your wife? Will you plead with him to entrust you with his heart? Can you do so?