“For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.” (Proverbs 4:2)
Before you head out anywhere, it’s best to have good directions. Personally, I had GPS before it was cool. I had a Global Positioning Spouse. Jane can read a map like nobody’s business and she’s very good at estimating arrival times. If we ever have an argument about directions, I usually (always) lose. For me, it’s best if I just listen to the directions and drive.
That’s not bad life advice either.
It was that kind of advice that Solomon was seeking to give his son. If you’ve raised children, you know how it is. When they’re little they’ll hang on your every word (for the most part). When they become teenagers, they “know everything.” So, as a parent that either means you hit it out of the park because your kids know everything before they’ve even become adults, or your kids think they know more than they do. Our kids, all grown now, are at that stage in life where they’re realizing that their parents are not quite as dumb as they look. (Well, at least they think Mom is smart.) Now that they are adults they are beginning to see the value of the things we tried to tell them as kids.
Listen to Solomon’s words to his kid: “For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.” Why would he have to tell his son those things? Why would he have to tell him his doctrine [teaching] was good and not to forsake it? Because we usually don’t recognize good doctrine on our own and we have a natural tendency to rebel against it when it is revealed to us. Solomon was warning his son about his sin nature and his natural bent to obey his nature instead of sound doctrine.
We all suffer from the same problem. We all need the same reminder. Throughout this chapter of Proverbs are admonitions to make a conscious effort to stay on the right path. I know from friends who are pilots that it is important to keep track of your bearings or you can end up way off course even if you’re only off by a degree or two. I know of times in my own life where I have ended up way off course because I allowed things to get off by a degree or two: “I can skip devotions today.” “I don’t have to go to all the church services today, do I?” “I can let this slide.” “I can let that slide.” Do you think Lot intended to end up living in a cave and fathering the Moabites and Ammonites, sworn enemies of Israel? No. That all happened by degrees. By the time he woke up and got his bearings, he was way off course.
I don’t think anyone intends to get hopelessly lost. I don’t think anyone intends to make a mess of their lives. But it happens every time we’re not careful about getting our bearings right.