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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 23:22-25 Let your father and mother be glad

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, March 2, 2019

22 Listen to your father who begot you,
  and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy truth, and do not sell it;
  buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous will rejoice greatly;
  he who has a wise son will be delighted in him.
25 Let your father and mother be glad;
  let her who gave birth to you rejoice.

This passage, which can be taken as a unit or as four separate maxims, expresses the general truth that Christian parents are especially blessed and delighted by Christian children. All parents are proud and delighted by their children’s accomplishments. We want them to have an education, a fulfilling job, and a loving marriage. But if our children have faith, then parents “rejoice greatly” and are delighted. The reason for this is because, whether we think about it consciously or not, we know that the only things we can take with us to heaven are our children.

Children show their faith in different ways. Some of them appear to drift away from their faith in their adult years, but parents pray that the faith is still there, tucked away in their hearts like dreams or memories, and that it will emerge once again, prompted by some test of faith provided by the Lord in his gracious plans for them. Some of our children struggle with their faith all their lives, challenging their beliefs and questioning everything. Parents pray that God will be patient with them and merciful, calling them gently back away from the outer boundaries of the fold, to be nourished and cherished by their loving God. Still other children have a faith that burns bright, long and clear like the candles burning in church that illuminate God’s altar; faithfully shining their light, week after week, year after year. When they put their faith to work in the Lord’s kingdom in some way, volunteering their time or even working full time, parents praise God. These are children that return God’s blessings back to their parents, with the comfort and joy of everlasting fellowship and certainty in the resurrection and the eternal service of our labor together in praise of God in Paradise.

The text of these four proverbs is fairly straightforward except in verse 24, where no less than four so-called “qere-ketiv” readings occur. These are places in the Hebrew text where what is written down in the consonants (the ketiv) has an alternate reading in the margin which is to be read aloud (the qere, which is pronounced as if it rhymes with “Cathay”). All four of the cases involve the letter waw, which can stand for our conjunction “and” or can be used as a vowel-letter, often standing for the letters ‘o’ or ‘u.’ Sometimes, as we twice have here, it was used by a poet for the letter ‘i,’ but scribes preferred the consonant yod for the i-sound instead of waw, and made the qere note in the margin so that the passage would be read and understood correctly.

This is one of many examples of the respect the copyists had for the text. It is the same kind of respect we all should have for the word of God, and which Christian parents pray their children will have. Treasure God’s holy word. Do not add or subtract anything from it, and you will be blessed both now in this life and forever in the life of the world to come. If God’s “saints and apostles and prophets” rejoice over the destruction of God’s enemies (Revelation 18:20), then they (who are we) will rejoice all the more over the glorification of all God’s children. Especially those who were also our own.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.



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