Read Proverbs 18 at Bible Gateway.
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem. Pro 18:10-11
To the righteous man, it is the name of the LORD that is his strong city. But to a rich man – a man who accumulates possessions to himself and does not allow them to flow out as fast as they flow in – it is his wealth that is his strong city.
Riches are not intrinsically righteous or wicked. But, Jesus said, it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Mat 19:24). It is because, most rich men allow their hearts to become enamoured and entangled in their riches. Wealth becomes an idol.
A rich man can be a righteous man also, but he has to remember that he is only a steward, and that he must keep his riches flowing out, and he has to remember who it is who is his strong tower. And riches aren’t it. 🙂
The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Pro 18:15
This is why I counsel homeschooling moms, and really, all moms, that the foundation of true education is wisdom and virtue. If parents can nurture in their children a wise heart, a virtuous heart that fears the LORD, then parents won’t have to fight their children to do their homework or study or learn. Their wise heart will goad them on to seek after knowledge until they have acquired it.
So, the number one academic subject children must learn, is English, so they can be proficient in reading and understanding logic as it is expressed in language, and the Word of God. The knowledge must be accompanied by a heart of virtue (because knowledge without virtue puffs up, even the knowledge of the Word of God will puff up if it is not accompanied by virtue, 1 Cor 8:1).
Parents will need to find a way to keep their children’s hearts soft and tender toward them and toward the LORD. Parents must not do those things that sever their children’s heartstrings that are tied to them. They must not do the things that King David did, which severed Absalom’s heartstrings toward his father.
Don’t criticize, be harsh, too busy, uninterested, not show love or patience, be impossible to please or set impossible standards, don’t be too distracted pursuing career or ministry to deal with their sin and heartaches. Provide justice for them. Discipline them fairly so that their hearts can be restored to the LORD when they sin. Do not withhold discipline because of a misguided sense of compassion (Pro 13:24). Teach them the Word of God – not the letter only (however Christians in America are not in danger of teaching too much of the letter of the Word), but also the Spirit that the letter is trying to convey. Obey the LORD for yourself, so that you may inherit the promise of a circumcised heart for your descendants (Deu 30:1-6). Forgive them and ask them to forgive you when you need to. Pray with them. If you are a father, be proactive about these things yourself, and do not shunt these responsibilities off onto your wife.
Bringing our children up in the nurture (love, care, and provision) and admonition (correction, discipline, and warning) of the LORD (Eph 6:4), will helo us avoid provoking our children’s hearts to wrath, and will help to keep our children’s hearts soft towards us and towards the LORD. 🙂
A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit. Pro 18:20-21
This passage is actually tied in to the previous section about the nurture and admonition of our children, because what we as parents say with our mouths has an effect; words are not meaningless. God used words to create the universe and everything in it. And then He made us in His image. That means, we create life for ourselves or death for ourselves by the words of our mouth.
With our mouth, we can express thankfulness to God every day, we can bless our family and edify our household, choosing by love to cover over, to overlook transgressions, and the fruit of that thanksgiving and that blessing and that edification will be life. Or, with our mouth, we can express complaints to God every day, we can criticize our family and tear down our household, choosing to dwell on transgressions and problems with bitterness and resentment, and the fruit of that complaining and that criticizing and that cursing will be death.
And if we are fathers, we can curse our households if we have a tendency to curse when things go wrong or when we become frustrated. Brothers, this ought not to be so (Jam 3:10), and it is not a minor thing or insignificant! If as men we have a problem with cursing in anger, we must not be like an alcoholic and deny we have a problem — we must let the authority of the Word of God instruct us, and confess it as sin and repent of it, and when we do, the LORD will be faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 Joh 1:9)!