Proverbs 3:1

Proverbs 3:1 "My son, forget not my law; but LET thine heart keep my commandments."

In each of the first seven chapters of his book of proverbs, Solomon directly addressed his son and urged him specifically to value paternal counsel.

1:8 - “My son, hear the instruction of thy father.”
2:1 - “My son, if thou wilt receive my words.”
4:20 - “My son, attend to my words.”
5:1 - “My son, attend unto my wisdom.”
6:20 - “My son, keep thy father's commandment.”
7:1 - “My son, keep my words.”

Although repetitive, the words in chapter three slightly stand out from the previously referenced verses.  He used a word in 3:1 that he didn’t use in any of the other previously referenced verses and this word offers insight into Solomon’s understanding of children.  He wrote, “My son, forget not my law; but LET thine heart keep my commandments.”  The word, LET implies permission and allowance.  Parents use this word when intervening on behalf of their children who are in the strong grip of an older sibling – “LET go of your sister!”  Spouses use this word when confronting their partner’s impeccable memory – “You need to LET go of the past.”  We use this word when trying to get through a congested hallway or a congested highway – LET me by, please.”  The word can be used in a variety of contexts but it almost always implies some level of permission or allowance. 

For Solomon to use the word LET within the context of Rehoboam’s response to parental instruction, he was implying that his son needed to give his own heart permission to obey his father.  In other words, he said, “allow your heart to keep my commandments” or permit your heart to keep my commandments.”  Such an expression would indicate that a son’s heart is naturally inclined to keep his parent’s commandments.  By choosing the wording of 3:1, Solomon seemed to be suggesting that Rehoboam needed to grant his own heart permission to do what it wants to do – obey his father.  If this is the case, and I believe it is, then Scripture reveals an incredibly powerful truth for all parents. 

What is that truth? 
It is the truth that the heart of a child is naturally inclined to please his or her parent.

If you’re a parent, then you’re probably raising an eyebrow and silently objecting to that statement with conviction.  “If children are naturally inclined to please their parents, then why don’t my children listen to me?  Why does my son seem so uninterested in doing the chores I’ve given him?  Why does my daughter seem so callous, so disrespectful even when I tell her to do something?  Why does it seem so hard to get my children to do what I tell them to do?”  These are valid questions. These are valid objections.  Indeed, it is true that children are not great listeners.  It is true that children are not obedient by nature.  It is true that children are inherently selfish.  But that doesn’t mean that the heart of a child is not naturally inclined to please his or her parent.  In fact, these valid objections are precisely why Solomon said what he said to his son at the start of this chapter.  For a son or daughter, it takes work to “LET” the natural desire to please a parent prevail over the natural tendency to be selfish, lazy and disobedient.

God has designed human nature with a strong emotional connection to mothers and fathers.  Affection toward a parent, especially toward a mother is not a learned behavior – it is a natural instinct.  From infancy, children look instinctively for their mothers when her voice is spoken.  From infancy, children long to be held by mothers and hate to be put down by those same special individuals.  At a very early age, children look up to their fathers and mothers.  It’s perfectly natural for a young child to long to be held by his parent and love to hold that same parent.  This desire to have and to hold father and mother is not taught nor is it learned – it comes natural because God has designed mankind in this special way.  It is because of this natural desire that a child quickly grows to want to please father and mother.  Children are always working for their parent’s attention so they can receive their parent’s affirmation.  Children are constantly looking to make parents happy because children have a natural desire and affection for them.  This is why homes full of children ring with statements like, “Mom, look at me!” and “Dad, watch this!”  This is why homes with kids echo with questions such as, “Dad, how did I do?” and “Mom, did you like that?

The heart of a child is naturally inclined to please his or her parent.

Consider what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17:6, “the glory of children are their fathers.”  To children, fathers and mothers are special.  They are unlike all other adults in the world.  They are unlike all other adults in their lives.  Children naturally glory in their parents, especially in their fathers.  This natural desire to please parents and receive parental affirmation never goes away.  In Genesis 27, Esau is Biblical proof of this truth.  He waited for the day when his patriarch would pronounce his blessing on Esau.  Isaac told Esau that he would bless him after eating some of his fresh venison.  However, while Esau was hunting, his younger twin brother pretended to be Esau and stole his blessing.  When Esau found out about the stolen blessing, he wept and tearfully said, “bless me, even me also, O my father.”  A grown man weeping and begging for his father’s blessing proves that a child’s heart is permanently naturally inclined to please his parent and receive parental affirmation.

You may be asking yourself, “If this is true, then why does my child seem so cold towards me?  Why is my adult child so distant?  Why don’t my children seem to be that inclined to make me happy?”  While your specific situation may be full of complicated factors, the simple answer is that something has prevented them from “LETTING” their heart keep your commandment or keep your relationship.  Your child’s natural selfishness may be prevailing over your child’s natural desire to please you.  Your child’s natural rebellion or natural laziness may be prevailing over your child’s natural desire to please you.  

The lesson for children of all ages in Proverbs 3:1 is to protect that natural affection for parents and “LET” it lead to respect, obedience and love for mother and father. The heart is deceitful by nature – it is desperately wicked by nature (Jeremiah 17:9).  But just because the human heart is evil doesn’t mean it lacks a natural desire to please father and mother.  Children need to “LET” their heart keep their parent’s commandment when young and they need to “LET” their heart keep their parent’s relationship when old.  This requires character and inner discipline.  By Divine Design, God has embedded the hearts of children with a desire to please their parents so as to give them the greatest chances at spiritual success.  Because of the powerful biological bond between parent and child, a child is more likely to succeed when given godly parents because he is inclined to please them by following their wise counsel.

The lesson for parents of all ages in Proverbs 3:1 is to also protect this natural affection a child has for father and mother.  Why do children seem so cold towards parents if they’re given a natural desire to please their parents?  In many cases, it’s simply and tragically because a parent has given that child a reason not to please them.  Sadly, parents are the ones who put a wet blanket on a child’s burning desire to please them.  Parental hypocrisy, injustice, disinterest, cruelty, being too busy, being too harsh, a lack of care and love are all reasons children stop paying attention to the natural desire within their hearts to please parents.  Adult children who are distant and cold towards their parents are never content with the status of that relationship – they’re never happy with these broken relationships because children always have a desire to please their parents, no matter the age. 

Parents, we must capitalize on this God-given desire within our children for their well-being.  We must protect, cherish and feed this natural desire to please parents by not giving them a reason to feel otherwise.  LET us treat our children with equity and fairness.  LET us shower our children with love and understanding.  LET us give our children our ears and our time.  LET us be honest and humble with our children.  LET us be sensitive to the God-given natural desire our children have to make us happy.  LET us give our children many reasons to follow us as we follow God.  They will be much better for it and we will be much happier for it.    

Related Posts





Rehoboam Solomon fear of God health pride self-sufficiency wisdom 2020 5th Commandment Abigail Abraham Absalom Adam Adolescence Adulterer Adulteress Affair Ahijah Ahithophel Amnon Apple of Eye Arrogance Asaph Athletes Bathsheba Bedroom Beecher Benefit Benjamin Bezaleel Bible reading Bible Biblical instruction Bonar Bondage Boyfriend Building CA Rt 1 Calamity Calvin Canaan Careers Character Christian upbringing Christ Churches Clinton Clothes Clothing College Contrast Conversation Corinthians Cosigner Cosigning Courting Creation Creator Danger Daniel Dating Daughters David Death Delilah Deuteronomy Devil Discovery Dishonor Divorce Drink Early Adulthood Ecclesiastes Economic Stability Eden Elihu Elijah Engagement Enoch Ephraimites Esau Esther Evening Eve Fashion Fearing God Financial Security Fingers Food Freedom Friendships Friend Galatians Gender Differences Genesis Gideon Gileadites Girlfriend Godhead Goliath Gossip Gratitude Guns Haman Hannah Harlot Hate Evil Heaven Hebrews History Holy Spirit Homicide House Hypocrisy Immorality Inherit Insight Instructing Internet Interview Inventions Israel Jacob James Jealousy Jeremiah Jeroboam Jerusalem Jesus Christ Jesus Jewish Law Jewish Jobs Job Jonah Joseph Joshua Josiah Joy Judah Judaism Judas Iscariot Judges Judgmental King David Kings Language Learn Liar Life Lesson Lion Look Love Triangle Luther Lying Mark Marvel Mary Matthew Media Men Moody Morality Morning Moses Naughtiness Nehemiah New Tricks Noah Nobles Numbers Old Dogs Parenting Passion Pastors Paul the Apostle Paul Peter Pleasure Polygamy Popularity Potiphar's Wife Potiphar\'s Wife Princes Principal Thing Principal Prophecy Prophet Prostitute Proverbs Psalms Psalm Punishment Purity Purpose Rage Rehoboam Rehoboma Relationship Remember Reputation Resume Resurrection Revealing Rich Road Rulers Rules Samson Samuel Satan Saul Scam Scripture Sea of Galilee Selfishness Shame Shoe Laces Simon Peter Simon Solomon Song of Solomon Sons Speech Steal Strange Woman Strength Stress Surety Tamar Taylor Teachers Teaching Teenagers Teens Theft Timothy Tolerance Trickery Trinity True Love True Wisdom Turner Understanding Universities Vehicle Vengeance Virtuous Walk Watsom Way Wink Witnessing Women Work Ethic YouTube addiction adultery advertisements advertiser advertising advice advisor affection affirmation alcohol amos angels ant anxiety appetite assumption as attractions authority background backyard battle beginning birds bitterness brain bright broken nose buckler cardinal sins career carelessness car cause certainty charity chastening childhood childrearing children child choices church attendance church command confidence confident consequences considerate contention contentment conversaion correction counselor counsel covetousness criticism cruelty cynicism dads dad darkness dark daughter debt deception decisions defend defense demands destruction determination diamonds diligence direction disappointment discernment discipleship disciples disciple discipline discontentment discord discretion distractions distress doctrine dogs drinking drugs dying ear education effort emotions employment enemies enticement enticing envy equity evil communications evil men evil women evil example eyelids eyes ezekiel facts failure faith family fathers father favor fear of God fear feelings feminine fighting fight filthy finances flattery focus following foolishness foolishnes fools fool forgiveness fornication friends gambling gender gold good men good government grace greed guard guilt happiness happy harm hate headlights health heart hear holiness home honor hope hunger husbands husband ignorance illustration income inequality infidelity influence iniquity insomnia instincts instruction intimacy investigation isaiah issued issue jewelry judgment justice kidnapper kidney kids knowledge labor law of sowing and reaping laziness lazy leadership learning length of days lessons let life light lips listening listen little liver living loans loneliness long life love lucifer lust man marketing marriage math memorization memory mercy millions mind ministry mischief misery mistakes mom money mothers mother motive mouth movies nature necklace neck neighbor obscenity observant oppression oppressor organs ornaments parable paranoia parenthood parents parent pastoring path peace peer pressure peers peer permission personification pleasant ponder pornography pottymouth poverty power prayer preservation pride priests private procrastination prodigal profanity prosperity prostitution protection protect prudence public restroom purchases reading reaping reason rebellion rebuke regret rejection relate relationships relevant remedy remembrance remorse repetition replacement reproof respect responsibility responsible retain retention riches righteousness righteous risk robber romance rubies safety sailor salvation schools scorner secret security seduction seeing see self-sufficiency self-sufficient serpent seven deadly sins seven sexist sexual sin sex silver simple simplicity sinners sin skepticism sleeplessness sleep son soul sowing spleen stability stranger strange strife striving successful success suicide talk taxes teacher television temptation tendencies thief thieves thinking think thoughtfulness thoughts thought threats time tithe tree of life trust truth tv vehicles vice video games violence virtue virtuous woman visual voice of God voice vulgar walking war wealth well wickedness wicked wife will wine wisdom wise sayings wise wives woman word of God words work worry young man young people young youth