Lesson #1
Proverbs 4:1-4

Listening to Dad

'Listening to Dad' describes the first lesson I took my son on in learning how to disciple my son. Below is the basic Bible Study time I had with my son as I remember it. This is only a suggestion. I am sure God will lead you differently at points. But for those who have weak knees, I have been very explicit. Write to me if you have questions.

1) The first thing we did was pray. I have discussed this elsewhere.

2) Then I had him read the text out loud. I would read parts of it later too as we studied together.

Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction. When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; (Proverbs 4:1-4, NASB).

3) We then looked at verses 1-2. I would have him read it again and then I would read it.

1) Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding,
2) For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction. (Proverbs 4:1,
2, NASB).

I asked him what did the passage tell the sons to do in these two verses. As he listed them, I wrote them down and made some comments. Let me share some with you .

  • Verse 1. Why is it that the father is suppose to tell the son what to do rather than the son what the father should do?
    ( I was trying to have him understand why God gave the authority to the Dads rather than to the sons. We need to explain the why and not just the what.) In his response as to why God did it this way, he said that dads know a lot more than sons. I continued on by sharing how much trouble I got into because my Dad didn't spend time talking to me. I didn't blame my Dad but spoke in the sense that his instruction would really have helped me. My own Dad didn't tell me the problems of lying, stealing or looking at girly magazines. I knew it was wrong but just did it. I could see my son warming up to me and God as he better understood this.
  • So on my notes I wrote the first thing the son is to do.

"Hear, listen to Dad's instructions."

  • The second command was in the second line. I asked him, "What was that?" As he answered, I wrote it down.

"Give attention that you may gain understanding."

He shared with me a recent event on how his Dad had more experience. He remembered the time I went out to ask a neighbor to turn down the radio. He shared how I (Dad) had experienced many more things. I affirmed that was true and that was a good illustration. I then filled him on some other experiences.

4) Verse 2. I wasn't' getting out my grammar book, but I did notice that in verse two the "for" indicates an explanation. So I asked him "Why?" Why does a son listen to a Dad? What does he say about it in verse 2?

He said that there was sound teaching. I knew he didn't know what that was. Part of a good Bible study is defining terms. I explained that sound wasn't something one heard but like a foundation one builds upon. It was solid like a rock. I used the illustration of jumping around in a yard. When one came to jump on a rock, he knew it was firm, hard and trustworthy. That was sound. So I summarized what we have been saying with a simple diagram on my notes.

    Father => Son


    Wise Son


    Foolish son

    My diagram of an ear hardly looked like an ear at all. I mentioned this and he immediately tried drawing a better one. And then we put an X through it to show that the foolish son didn't listen.

5) Verses 3-4. This was the best part.

I could see from our above discussion that he really caught on to why he should obey. My commands are not just the 10 commandments but whatever I say. This is the way you can take a 46 year old man's experiences and bring that wisdom to a small boy. I used this to introduce what these next verses were saying. I was going to teach him about wisdom and how Solomon got it.

When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother,
Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; (Proverbs 4:3,4,).

Earlier on in verse 1, I asked him who was this father that was speaking. He told me Solomon, which was right. But then I asked him how could he be sure? I turned to Proverbs 1:1 and showed him. That paid off. When I asked him who Solomon's father was mentioned in this verse, he at first didn't know. But then he remembered from 1:1 that it said that Solomon's father was David.

We just went on speaking about some of David's great experiences that he probably shared with Solomon. This happened when he was still small. We also talked about being the only son of his mom. I shared with him about the Bathsheba incident and why Solomon was the only son. His older son was taken by the Lord because of David's sin. Solomon meant a lot to him. I didn't plan this ahead so I quickly checked on my free computer Bible program and affirmed this. We found a powerful verse.

Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her; and she gave birth to a son, and he named him Solomon. Now the LORD loved him. (2Sa 12:24 )

We see that Solomon was also tenderly loved by the Lord. This was God's amazing grace. It was a perfect time to describe how God is so gracious and good. And that at times wrong is done, God does forgive, and we need to go on.

This of course also affirmed that our time together is good and right. But I took one more big step. I wanted to plant before him the vision of gaining wisdom before the Lord.

We could have focused on the wisdom that the Lord gave to Solomon (1 Kings 4:29-34),

Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. And Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. And he spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom. (1 Kings 4:29-34, NASB).

But instead we focused on how he got that wisdom (1 Kings 3:4-13).

And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the great high place; Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, "Ask what you wish me to give you." Then Solomon said, "Thou hast shown great lovingkindness to Thy servant David my father, according as he walked before Thee in truth and righteousness and uprightness of heart toward Thee; and Thou hast reserved for him this great lovingkindness, that Thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. "And now, O LORD my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king in place of my father David, yet I am but a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. "And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people who cannot be numbered or counted for multitude. "So give Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Thine?" And it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said to him, "Because you have asked this thing and have not asked for yourself long life, nor have asked riches for yourself, nor have you asked for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself discernment to understand justice, behold, I have done according to your words. Behold, I have given you a wise and discerning heart, so that there has been no one like you before you, nor shall one like you arise after you. "And I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that there will not be any among the kings like you all your days. (1 Kings 3:4-13, NASB).

We talked back and forth a bit. He brought up what he knew of this incident where he asked God for wisdom. We both sensed God speaking to us. Wisdom is what we need.

5) Conclusion
I closed with writing verse 4 on my notes.

Then he taught me and said to me, "Let your heart hold fast my words; Keep my commandments and live; (Proverbs 4:4).

I shared how important it was that his heart is changed. That he holds onto my words as Solomon did to David's.

6) We closed in special prayer.

7) Dad's perspective
He just soaked up the conclusion in his soul. He knew he wanted to be wise. He knew it came from listening to dad and asking for more wisdom from God.

I instantly noticed a deeper intimacy with my son from that day on. I saw the strings of loyalty made stronger. This was a great time the Lord gave to us. In one sense it was just a Bible study, but it was God, my son, and me together. We saw what more God wanted to do in our lives. I closed wondering why we didn't start earlier.

Discipling Sons
Discipling Sons
Proverbs 4:1-4
Proverbs 4:5-9
Proverbs 4:10-13
Proverbs 4:14-19
Proverbs 4:20-23
Proverbs 4:24-27

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom