The Word of Grace Devotion for August 27, 2018
Proverbs 22:6, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Beloved, today we focus on a great promise to parents to guide them and to for them to lean upon. But what does it mean to train up a child? First, note that the Hebrew verb translated “train” occurs three other times in the Bible. In each of these, it refers to “dedicating” houses, whether of a man (Deuteronomy 20:5) or of God (1 Kings 8:63; 2 Chronicles 7:5).
This suggests that the initial imperative calls for parents to actively devote or commit their youth to a certain course of action — continually pleading in the presence of God and others. “Train up” may, therefore, be too weak of a translation and miss the potential element of consecration to religious and moral direction. Beloved, every youth’s future is filled with possibility. Parents have an opportunity to direct a child’s path toward God.
Thus, maybe the word “dedicate” would be more appropriate. Certainly “dedicating” a child would include the common ceremony of commitment that many parents engage in at the birth of their children. However, the overall context of Proverbs suggests the act of dedicating in Proverbs 22:6 is focused more on an intentional, sustained, God-dependent shepherding of our children’s hearts as they grow into adulthood — one in which the children themselves are aware of the parents’ trajectory-setting intentions. This is not a passive calling for dads and moms.
Second, the ESV’s “in the way he should go” is a very idiomatic way of capturing the Hebrew “according to the dictates of his way.” His way should be God’s way!
The consequence statement (even when he is old he will not depart from it) in Proverbs 22:6 implies that the parents’ intentional moral and religious shaping early on will have a permanent effect on their child for good. This statement is not a hard-and-fast promise to parents; however, for the rest of the book makes clear that the power of the youth’s future depends not only on the parents’ guidance but also on the choices he or she makes.
Ultimately parent- you do all you can do to train and dedicate your children for and to God! They will mess up and make dubious decisions but trust that they will return to the Lord!
I pray that you will have a blessed week! I love you and I will be praying for you!
In Jesus’ Name-