Some view God as the ultimate rule keeper- a cosmic cop- and live their life waiting on the big bully club to smack them like a giant 'whack- a-mole'.
Others tend to warp God into a giant, gentle Santa Clause- a round belly and jovial laugh- waiting to pour presents on ALL his children.
What is the central view of God? Holiness? Love? or is there an even higher approach that encompasses a balanced view of his mercy and justice?
I think there is no better view of God than 'Father'. It was how Jesus addressed Him- the Holy Spirit enables believers to cry out to Him, "DADDY!". We understand what a perfect Father would be like: strong, just, tender, and strict.... all at the same time. A perfect blend of pure love and firm discipline- all for the good of the child!
As I read Proverbs Ch 4 - the theme and information seems very repetitive- exactly the same message as Proverbs 2 and 3- the addition is that it is framed as a father teaching a beloved son.
I challenge all parents to review this love letter to children and ask yourself....am I delivering this information to my children? Am I loving them? Am I reminding them? Am I pointing out examples in life? Am I encouraging them to read and ponder these words?
The pinnacle of the passage is verse 23:
Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
We have one special Father......
Another thing I notice about this passage is the universality of the principles listed here. This is a father giving his son basic instructions- the fundamentals- and could be applied to any culture or people group. Could this be a key in establishing and abundant harvest for the gospel? The good soil prepared by a proper nurturing relationship between parent and child and learning to live in a community with character?
Finally, this seems to be a lifelong path- a well worn way- a Father who walks- demonstrates and explains- and then hands off along the way so that the well taught son might lead others along the path of righteousness.
And we have the old acronym- B.I.B.L.E.- Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth